The DNA languages of cultures.

     After 266 days in Scotland, 5 days in Ireland, 1 in Denmark, 43 in Poland, 1 in Belgium, and finally 21 so far in the Netherlands, I could say the clouds in my mind have scattered, I am able to accommodate to the ‘DNA of the culture’ as I like to call it, which strikes me most when it comes to the language.

     There is some sort of specific ‘feel’ in each and every place. Once you start moving with your life and being open-minded, you can feel the place in much more profound way.

When I visited Dublin for 5 mentioned days, I immediately felt that different ‘feel’ rather than in Scotland, but still a familiar one. Even though Ireland has euros as their currency, Ireland is not part of the UK. Ireland is Europe, and bears a completely different feel than England. Slightly more similar to Scotland. Ireland has their own pride in Guinness and Jameson whisky, just like Scotland swims in their whisky. There are Irish pubs with irish fonts on their signboards and Gaelic language seen even on the street signs.


Still, Gaelic and Brittonic are languages of Celts, that first infiltrated Britain around 500 BC. In the Gaelic group we’ve got both Irish and Scottish, which might explain why Ireland felt just like good ol’ Scotland after all.

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And if you look at the geographic spread of Celtic language, you can see how England remains untouched. England, and the English language came from Germanic tribe of Anglo-Saxons, who arrived on the British Isles at least 600 years after Celts had been already there.
English did not even originate from the British Isles, since those who brought it, Anglo-Saxons, came from continental Europe, pushing Celts outwards North and West.
And yet so many people name the whole of British Isles as “England” just because they all speak English, which gets me on my nerves.

It was inevitable for me to be affected by Dutch language in the Netherlands as well. Suddenly it struck me how my thinking and writing would be faster and better, if it was only in Dutch. And I do not mean sole communication with other people, rather the cognition of all around you. Knowing Dutch, especially etymologically, would allow me to apprehend so many more things. Here is a place for operations in Dutch, not English. Smoking in here in not that smooth like the english word itself is, the smoke from my cigarette did not swirled gracefully from it as usual. “Roken” is Dutch for “smoking”. Beginning with that characteristic Dutch hoarse rattle, cracking and wheezing the sound of letter “r”. Roken in here is harsh. And yes, after trying cigarettes in here I was coughing indeed. Hoarse, rough, hard roken. Smooth, soothing, comfortable smoking.

A nightingale is mysterious and unknown, like the night it bears in its name. They also sing in the evening, hence the name. Ending with ‘gale‘ which means strong wind, suggesting that the bird can withstand it. Even more, word ‘gale’ comes from the Old Norse word ‘galinn’, which means “mad”, “frantic” or “bewitched”. Whereas Old Norse is the language of the Vikings. Earliest inscriptions from Scandinavia were written in runes on stones, swords and artefacts. A nightingale seems mighty, strong, a secret rune of the night. Semantically belonging more to Celts than to Anglo-Saxons, now that we speak about it.

“(…) the peculiarities of mind and temper which can be still observed in the Irish or the Welsh on the one hand and the English on the other: the wild incalculable poetic Celt, full of vague and misty imaginations, and the Saxon, solid and practical when not under the influence of beer.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien’s “English and Welsh”, the inauguration speech for the O’Donnel lectures.
Whereas in Polish a nightingale is “słowik“, close to “słowo” which means a “word“. Quite a talkative bird then it is, suggesting its singing is words. Morever, suffix “ik” in Polish is used to create a pet name of a rather patronizing connotation. English nightingale is mighty and mysterious singer of the night, whereas Polish słowik is a small, annoying jabbering gibberish blabber.


“When the surroundings speaks only in an unknown language, one begins to listen to it alongside with the whole environment. And if we linger long enough, the time existing in this environment will master the language for us. That was in my case, the mind did not know at all how did it happen. I think people don’t appreciate the listening and hearing words. And the listening prepares itself to speak up. One day my mouth started speaking. Romanian was then just like my mother tongue. Its Romanian words could not believe when I was involuntary comparing them with my German words.”

Integrity follow up.

Strangely liberating when you do not wish for anything, when you do not expect anything or hope for.

When you have nothing to wait for and the presence becomes your only reality, there’s that feeling of positive apathy, so to not to say ‘calmness’ – which would not exactly reflect what I finally, gladly, and surprisingly have started experiencing now.

Started with integrity. Cleared out everything with everyone. Let my life out in the open. Allowed all people around me to know everything about my life. Told them every bit of truth and alongside that mastered how to lie.

Started being accurate in wording and articulate in speech. Started to listen more, instead of speaking. Started asking, inquiring, remembering what people tell me.

Started doing only what feels right in the moment. I followed every impulse. Listened to intuition with my whole mind, heart, and the so called sixth sense. I made mistakes. I admitted them. Started saying sorry to people (more like ‘sorey’ as an effect of Aberdeen Scottishifying me though).

Then, “Hygge” came by itself.

They claim to walk unafraid, I’ll be clumsy instead.

– First Aid Kit, “Walk unafraid

I won’t take the easy road.

– First Aid Kit, “My Silver Lining

Every path is the right path. Everything could be everything else and would have just as much meaning.

Mr. Nobody [2009], Jaco van Dormael

How interest gives rise to trust, how authentic trust gives control

“The mistake ninety-nine percent of humanity made, as far as Fats could see, were being ashamed of what they were, lying about it, trying to be somebody else. Honesty was Fats’ currency, his weapon and defense. It frightened people when you were honest; it shocked them. Other people, Fats had discovered, were mired in embarrasment and pretense, terrified that their truths might leak out, but Fats was attracted by rawness, by everything that was ugly but honest, by the dirty things about which the likes of his father felt humiliated and disgusted. Fats thought a lot about messiahs and pariahs; about men labeled mad or criminal; noble misfits shunned by the sleepy masses.”  – J.K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy

“It is the nature, and the advantage, of strong people that they can bring out the crucial questions and form a clear opinion about them” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

           Ability to ‘extract’ the essence out of any statement, conversation or question. It requires you to see beyond the superficial level, so to dig into the core meaning, the exact place where your opinions should be formed. It all comes down to effectively paying attention and using what you’ve heard. It is the insider knowledge of the listener.
              Combined with observance, basic knowledge of body language, and some level of emotional maturity, you are armed with a perfect control tool. I may actually know exactly what you mean, but choose to pretend otherwise so to give you a free hand in deciding in which direction our conversation is going.
            This ‘control span’ ensures that you are rarely surprised in life, rather consciously exploring what constitutes the very first knot of trust and how distinctive threads are formed in the web of interpersonal relations.
                  And the first knot? You like any person who shows you some portion of attention; those who are not needy nor desperate, so when they pay attention to you, you actually know that this attention matters. It seems to be something special. They ask well-thought questions, often ask why, and often seek explanation of your choices. Seems like they have chosen you on the basis of who you are, not because they planned to become friends with just anyone.

 

Improvisation is the confidence now.

      Sincere, straightforward, cracking jokes about themselves, escaping social dilemmas with their disarming honesty. I like to believe it’s this kind of confidence that attracts people to each other. Because no matter how stupid things you say or do, doing it in a confident way ensures their interpretation as surprising, funny. Confidence strikes right through it.
     I definitely value confident people, in lieu of that unattractive neediness and overrated modesty. I like those self-investing in themselves, constantly changing. I like how diverse they are. It’s the chameleon nature, not only adaptability. The only people that interest me are the mad ones. The ones that are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles, exploding like spiders across the stars, by Jack Kerouac.
     The madness is the change, improvisation, and the courage itself to improvise.
     Exactly those people (despite being narcissistic assholes from time to time) are, in general, so much better than those boring us to death. It’s nothing worse than spending time with boredom. Some people can constantly challenge you, sometimes overwhelm- but if you fight back, you enter the most engaging field. The very best training for your self esteem you could find. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, as Jim Rohn said. So, when there’s not much to be found around those never crossing any line, it’s hard to develop. Especially when they fear other people’s judgement. Do not weigh your options for too long. Start with the first step, you may just get the rush so to improvise in the process. The more you do it, the better you get at it. The better you get, the more confident you become.
     Never chase people. Chase your dreams, and people will follow. Only then you are well aware of who you are, not afraid to leave whenever you want. Tell yourself “You can always go home” (thank you, Matthew Hussey) and leave any place that you do not wish to be in. Spending time by yourself, only with your thoughts can either crush you under a “loner” heading, or leverage your maturity and boost creativity.
     Perception of a loner is created entirely by yourself, relative. What others see is your Halo Effect. Your actions and (more importantly) the way you do it is the ‘halo’ around you (thank you, Edward Thorndike, for clarifying that, now I can come to my own point). It’s in the way you do it. The message you send by eating by yourself, sitting alone at a table, spending your time in solitude can be just anything, so make it good. Be confident about it.
 Also, in regard for fake it till you make it (thank you, Amy Cuddy), this is just where your confidence is born.

“Banal” is not that banal.

     I tend to use this word quite a lot, and here is why I love it so much.
     First of all, and paradoxically, the word itself is not so obvious as its meaning:
banal calls a synonym “obvious” first for Polish, but “common” first for Romanians. At least the one that I got to chat about it with. And on the other hand, “trivial” calls for word “ordinary” first for Polish, and “ordinary” for Romanian as well.
     So Romanian people get it, saying “banal“. Italian people say “banale“, Polish people saying “banalny“, Dutch say “banaal“, Germans say “banal” as well.
All of those people, speaking Latin-founded languages get the exact meaning of this word, given that they got to know it by experience. Even the way this word sounds when you say it. Requires minimum movement of the mouth, as if even saying it would bore you just as much as whatever you are describing with it.
     Semantic meaning of this word, i.e. the array of a word’s synonyms and meanings, which I like to extend to metaphors, would be utterly flat. Plain, predictable, obvious, not surprising by any fluctuation or change of pace.
     The letters used in that word seem round and mild, sort of melting in your mouth when you say it. This word crawls lazily out of your mouth. It is nothing like any sharp, specific word, let’s say, ‘knife‘. Saying knife is fast, dynamic, ending with that characteristic whiz on letter ‘f’ which reminds you of the sound that an actual knife makes when swung fast in air.
     Even the way we write ‘knife‘, or ‘knives‘ looks much more edged than ‘banal‘. Letters kiv are outright and critical. If you write them vigorously, they might even tear paper underneath. With banal, you are able to effortlessly swirl your pen alongside the letters, not even elevating your hand.
     It’s interesting to think how differently must those words sound in Arabic, or Chinese. Do they intonate their words in a similar way as well? Is word ‘boring’ boring as well, in a way you can prolong syllable ‘o’ or say the entire word with not even separating your teeth?
That is why I like ‘banal ‘ as an example, to wonder whether ‘latin-dynamic’ words are dynamic in other languages as well.

Life is a joke

Life has a pretty much ironic way of resolving the issues we have. Fritz Haber aimed to create a gas able of killing thousands, invented the Haber Process, gas obtained ended up saving millions of lives. By producing ammonia at most efficient rates, intensive farming has been enabled and fed whole countries- not much as for the nickname of father of chemical warfare, Fritz.

     Let’s meet the most amazing person to us. Let’s both become sure each is just the type of person we could spend our lives with. And then, come back to our lives cause you two live thousands of miles away. Probably married. With kids.
     Let’s go on meticulously planned trip to a seaside, just to be welcomed by heavy clouds ready to take a rain piss on you.
     Let’s make A to really like B, and guess what, B likes C. Sometimes even C is into A, which would be a threshold of irony, borderline with just plain evil.
    I know how some people say life is the best screenplay. But if God exists, sometimes I wonder whether he is a sadistic maniac watching us run in circles over and over again, making us think “Dammit I’m mad” – which is even more funny considering that this phrase is a palindrome.
     Moreover, life has geared us (or at least some of us) with an amazing skill, just fit to fuck with our minds even more. Intuition. How many times have you said “I knew it would happen”? Too many, I guess. And even worse case is saying it and actually not falling for the hindsight bias- this is what is called Murphy’s Law. Sometimes, you might even end up having a true epiphany, a moment of revelation, but in the end all your dreams, and your deja-vu feelings combined with conspiracy theories that humans create leave us further than any closer to making sense.
     All ambigrams that you tattoo on your forearms are just a perfect metaphor of what I’m saying. That is just a tribute for all the twisted life scenarios and us, running in circles, thinking we’re getting closer to something. I like how Mick Jagger phrases that. What’s confusing you is just the nature of my game, just as every cop is a criminal, and all the sinners saints, as heads as tails, just call me, Lucifer (and how exactly do you call it when it just so happens that as I write it, it’s Friday the 13th?)
     Hookup? Why are we able to give all of us to a stranger, but cannot be sincere with closest friends?
    Or even the fact that internationals often speak English to the poshest level possible, moulding the language, creating neologisms and portmanteau words accordingly to their needs and yet Americans still can’t tell the difference between your and you’re.
    I tend to say that nothing ever surprises me. I think of a person I haven’t spoken to for years; actually, not even think, they just come across my mind for a brief minute and- baam!, next day they write to me. I try not to be surprised when that happnes. It holds true as long as you accept that in some ways (many ways, to be honest) life is, actually, a joke. As long as you do not try to control it, nothing can surprise you. The moment you let go is the moment you take the steer.
(Oh, the irony of that conclusion.)