GMG Classical Music Forum

The Back Room => The Diner => Topic started by: JBS on March 20, 2019, 08:38:59 AM

Title: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: JBS on March 20, 2019, 08:38:59 AM
Or at least from Scandinavia in general. The Netherlands is not shabby, either...
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2019-03-20/these-are-the-worlds-happiest-countries
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: vandermolen on March 20, 2019, 08:59:04 AM
Doesn't surprise me at all. My Finnish childhood friend is a remarkably happy and level-headed individual. They have the most honest citizens as well, as evidenced in the experiment where ten wallets were deliberately left in the streets of various European capitals. Finland (Helsinki) had 9/10 handed in to the authorities, which was the highest number in Europe. When I drew my friend's attention to this experiment his response was: 'What happened to the tenth one?!'
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on March 20, 2019, 09:01:30 AM
I dropped my wallet in the main atrium of Grand Central Station, in New York City. It was turned in, so there! :)
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: Jaakko Keskinen on March 20, 2019, 09:09:09 AM
It depends on the circumstances. It can be challenging to be happy when two close family members are dead by their own hand and having a life starting from the early childhood marked by horrible things. On the other hand it would suck even more if I would live on the streets so I guess that's a plus.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: vandermolen on March 20, 2019, 09:49:24 AM
I dropped my wallet in the main atrium of Grand Central Station, in New York City. It was turned in, so there! :)
Excellent and glad to hear it! I don't think that the experiment included the USA.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: vandermolen on March 20, 2019, 09:51:06 AM
It depends on the circumstances. It can be challenging to be happy when two close family members are dead by their own hand and having a life starting from the early childhood marked by horrible things. On the other hand it would suck even more if I would live on the streets so I guess that's a plus.

Of course you are right about individual life circumstances.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 20, 2019, 10:48:18 AM
Or at least from Scandinavia in general. The Netherlands is not shabby, either...
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2019-03-20/these-are-the-worlds-happiest-countries

Do do do do do do doo....
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: JBS on March 20, 2019, 11:13:27 AM
It depends on the circumstances. It can be challenging to be happy when two close family members are dead by their own hand and having a life starting from the early childhood marked by horrible things. On the other hand it would suck even more if I would live on the streets so I guess that's a plus.

About ten years ago, I was at a particularly low point, emotionally and physically. One of the things that brought me through was noticing that there were plenty of people far worse off than me. Not meaning people in war zones or anything like that, but people I was seeing and never quite noticing until I looked.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: (: premont :) on March 20, 2019, 11:16:22 AM
I feel happy, Denmark is no. 2 after all.  :)
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: 71 dB on March 20, 2019, 12:12:13 PM
Just two days ago I though "Hey the new happiness ranking by UN is coming out and Finland will propably lose it's ranking as the happiest country in the world", but Finland kept the first place.

I have been the happiest in the 80's before adulthood. During the 90's I started to feel anxiety realizing that adult life if difficult and hard. I realized I am not good for anything and that life is a struggle in which I rarely do well no matter how hard I try. Life has become fighting depression, but things like music help a lot. So even in Finland people can be unhappy. Keith Flint's suicide was yet another negative uncalled thing that keep happening. Edgar Froese's death made me not want to listen to Tangerine Dream for a year, but surpringly listening to The Prodigy helps dealing with this. That kind of super-energetic music helps dealing with all the dark thoughs I have. I feel all I am good for is having meltdowns online...
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: Rinaldo on March 20, 2019, 01:10:52 PM
Life has become fighting depression, but things like music help a lot.

You don't have to fight it alone. Music is your ally, so can be other people. Professionals, even. I consider myself lucky – even though I had to deal with a tragedy in my life, depression was never an issue. But I know people around me who are fighting that bitch day and night. There's help, if you seek it.

Quote
I feel all I am good for is having meltdowns online..

Feel is the key word here. I don't know you obviously, but you do come across as a passionate person who cares about the well-being of others. That definitely amounts to something in my book. Also, high five for The Prodigy! Their first two records are essential and the rest is not too shabby either.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: drogulus on March 21, 2019, 08:50:08 AM

    Sweden seems like a good country for someone like me. You can drink lots of coffee and take your shoes off in people's houses.

    Oh, and also you can wear blue jeans and a sweater or long sleeved shirt almost everywhere.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: 71 dB on March 21, 2019, 08:58:15 AM
    Sweden seems like a good country for someone like me. You can drink lots of coffee and take your shoes off in people's houses.

    Oh, and also you can wear blue jeans and a sweater or long sleeved shirt almost everywhere.

We Finns drink coffee even more than Swedes, in fact more than anybody and we also take shoes off in people's houses just as Swedes.  ;)
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: 71 dB on March 21, 2019, 09:12:38 AM
You don't have to fight it alone. Music is your ally, so can be other people. Professionals, even. I consider myself lucky – even though I had to deal with a tragedy in my life, depression was never an issue. But I know people around me who are fighting that bitch day and night. There's help, if you seek it.

Feel is the key word here. I don't know you obviously, but you do come across as a passionate person who cares about the well-being of others. That definitely amounts to something in my book. Also, high five for The Prodigy! Their first two records are essential and the rest is not too shabby either.

I worry too much about things. I worry about things like Trump starting a war in Venezuela in order to boost his approval rating for 2020 election and to serve the fossile fuel industry. That's so 19th century to me. Mankind should be past such evil greed in the 21st century... 

All The Prodigy albums are essential, but I agree with the first two being the best, Music for the Jilted Generation being the best.  ;)
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: vandermolen on March 21, 2019, 09:28:51 AM
This is turning into an interesting thread. I have often consoled myself, during particularly difficult times, with Alan Watts's reference to Dante's Divine Comedy:

...'the way out of Hell is through the centre'.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on March 21, 2019, 09:42:06 AM

My personal philosophy can be expressed as a sort of vague, westernized abstract of Buddhism. Dissatisfaction is the result of desire or attachment to impermanent feelings and things. The path to satisfaction to to disengage from the habit of clinging to impermanent things. This involves grounding yourself, embracing the here and now, embracing self-awareness, self-restraint, kindness and compassion.

Traditionally there is a wealth of supernatural context to Buddhism, reincarnation, escaping the cycle of death and rebirth, nirvana, etc. I find Buddhist ideas valuable because (as I read somewhere) the human mind evolved to enable humans to survive, not to make humans happy. Buddhism is the best "hack" for programming the human mind to be satisfied.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: North Star on March 21, 2019, 09:58:14 AM
I feel happy, Denmark is no. 2 after all.  :)
Congratulations! ;)
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 21, 2019, 10:20:24 AM
We Finns drink coffee even more than Swedes, in fact more than anybody and we also take shoes off in people's houses just as Swedes.  ;)

Finland was a Swedish duchy back in the day, wasn't it?
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: vandermolen on March 21, 2019, 10:27:47 AM
My personal philosophy can be expressed as a sort of vague, westernized abstract of Buddhism. Dissatisfaction is the result of desire or attachment to impermanent feelings and things. The path to satisfaction to to disengage from the habit of clinging to impermanent things. This involves grounding yourself, embracing the here and now, embracing self-awareness, self-restraint, kindness and compassion.

Traditionally there is a wealth of supernatural context to Buddhism, reincarnation, escaping the cycle of death and rebirth, nirvana, etc. I find Buddhist ideas valuable because (as I read somewhere) the human mind evolved to enable humans to survive, not to make humans happy. Buddhism is the best "hack" for programming the human mind to be satisfied.

I very much like the Buddhist quote:

'There is praise and blame, loss and gain, pleasure and pain, fame and disrepute

- did you think this would not happen to you?'
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on March 21, 2019, 10:29:30 AM
I very much like the Buddhist quote:

'There is praise and blame, loss and gain, pleasure and pain, fame and disrepute

- did you think this would not happen to you?'

Sounds like my experience on this web site. :)
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: XB-70 Valkyrie on March 21, 2019, 10:49:32 AM
As I grow older, I grow more cynical in some ways; in so many respects, it seems that life (Business, politics, academia, every organization) is NOTHING but corruption, cronyism, and dick waving. Sometimes, it seems that all of our institutions exist to facilitate rape--literal rape in the case of fraternities, the Hollywood-industrial complex, the Boy Scouts, the Catholic church, etc; and figurative rape in any mega corporation you could care to name: banks, insurance industry, big pharma, big oil, etc.

OTOH, I too have come to embrace buddhist and stoic principles, and have in fact been fascinated by these world-views ever since I was an adolescent, decades before meditation and yoga became fashionalbe. I  guess once you realize it's all bullshit, you can relax, smell the roses and enjoy life. I actually greatly enjoy my job (At times), writing, research, spending time with my wife, vacations, wine, music, etc. Clininging to circumstances, and possessions, and longing for permanance are the causes of suffering, not desire per se. Worrying about others' opinions (and really, what are they worth???) is another road to suffering.

My father in law (a tough old bastard in some ways) had a gem of wisdom: "Are you paying my salary? No? Can you kick my ass? No? Then I don't give a **** what you think!"

Here are a great set of principles from filmmaker Werner Herzog:

Always take the initiative.
There is nothing wrong with spending a night in jail if it means getting the shot you need.
Send out all your dogs and one might return with prey.
Never wallow in your troubles; despair must be kept private and brief.
Learn to live with your mistakes.
Expand your knowledge and understanding of music and literature, old and modern.
That roll of unexposed celluloid you have in your hand might be the last in existence, so do something impressive with it.
There is never an excuse not to finish a film.
Carry bolt cutters everywhere.
Thwart institutional cowardice.
Ask for forgiveness, not permission.
Take your fate into your own hands.
Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.
Ignite the fire within and explore unknown territory.
Walk straight ahead, never detour.
Manoeuvre and mislead, but always deliver.
Don't be fearful of rejection.
Develop your own voice.
Day one is the point of no return.
A badge of honor is to fail a film theory class.
Chance is the lifeblood of cinema.
Guerrilla tactics are best.
Take revenge if need be.
Get used to the bear behind you.


(https://nofilmschool.com/sites/default/files/styles/article_wide/public/werner_herzog_grizzly.jpg?itok=ieeWNYHl)


Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: drogulus on March 21, 2019, 11:20:01 AM

     Is there a country I can move to where it's against the law to conflate philosophy with therapy? It reminds me of "I love classical music, it's so sooooooothing".
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on March 21, 2019, 11:23:23 AM
And who, in your view, is conflating philosophy with therapy?
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: drogulus on March 21, 2019, 11:55:10 AM
And who, in your view, is conflating philosophy with therapy?

     When the term philosophy comes up in a discussion it's either preceded or followed by discussion about therapy or wisdom traditions. It sometimes seems this is the only aspect that interests people, as though the whole enterprise and not just a part of it was devoted to the Meaning Of Life. To be fair, one philosopher I respect wrote a book called The Meaning Of Life, but I think it was supposed to be a joke.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on March 21, 2019, 12:04:36 PM
When I mentioned my "personal philosophy" I did not mean Philosophy with a capital 'P.' It is neither philosophy proper, nor therapy, but my outlook on life. I'm one that thinks that most of what the traditional philosophers thought about has been made moot by the various fields of science.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 21, 2019, 12:20:28 PM
Did we suppose we are immune to
Life?
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: Ghost of Baron Scarpia on March 21, 2019, 12:21:26 PM
OTOH, I too have come to embrace buddhist and stoic principles, and have in fact been fascinated by these world-views ever since I was an adolescent, decades before meditation and yoga became fashionalbe. I  guess once you realize it's all bullshit, you can relax, smell the roses and enjoy life. I actually greatly enjoy my job (At times), writing, research, spending time with my wife, vacations, wine, music, etc. Clininging to circumstances, and possessions, and longing for permanance are the causes of suffering, not desire per se. Worrying about others' opinions (and really, what are they worth???) is another road to suffering.

Sounds like a lot of clinging to this notion that you're oh-so smarter than the rest of us. Doesn't sound so zen.  :laugh:

And what about the incessant complaining about where you live, one of the most beautiful places on earth. I guess all of the early texts in which the Buddha complained about having to live in east India were lost.  :laugh:
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: North Star on March 21, 2019, 12:31:59 PM
Finland was a Swedish duchy back in the day, wasn't it?
Yes, from 1300s or earlier until 1809, although the borders of what was under Swedish / Russian rule moved a few times in that period. I'm not sure how well Finland did in happiness studies at the time, though. ;)


Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: JBS on March 21, 2019, 01:06:27 PM
     When the term philosophy comes up in a discussion it's either preceded or followed by discussion about therapy or wisdom traditions. It sometimes seems this is the only aspect that interests people, as though the whole enterprise and not just a part of it was devoted to the Meaning Of Life. To be fair, one philosopher I respect wrote a book called The Meaning Of Life, but I think it was supposed to be a joke.

When the Greeks started philosophy, they had two goals: to find out what the world around them was like, and to find out how to live satisfactorily.  The first became natural science (in 18th century terminology, science was "natural philosophy").  The second became philosophy as we know it. The Greeks wanted to know how to live a good life. Of course that requires deciding what exactly the good life is before anything else.

So, yes, wisdom traditions come up naturally when discussing philosophy because that's what philosophy originally was: the wisdom tradition of GrecoRoman culture.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: vandermolen on March 21, 2019, 02:50:31 PM
Sounds like my experience on this web site. :)
  8)
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: vandermolen on March 21, 2019, 03:02:12 PM
     Is there a country I can move to where it's against the law to conflate philosophy with therapy? It reminds me of "I love classical music, it's so sooooooothing".

I know little of academic philosophy but weren't the stoics like Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius trying to help people to live better lives? Even Spinoza, one of the most 'mathematical' of all philosophers, seems to have had a similar motive. Isn't it in more recent times (last 300 years?) that Philosophy became increasing divorced from practical applications to people's lives? I'm happy to be shot down here but at least this thread is providing a welcome distraction from Brexit.

PS JBS, I've just noticed, has expressed this more eloquently that I have.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: drogulus on March 21, 2019, 03:16:06 PM
When the Greeks started philosophy, they had two goals: to find out what the world around them was like, and to find out how to live satisfactorily.  The first became natural science (in 18th century terminology, science was "natural philosophy").  The second became philosophy as we know it. The Greeks wanted to know how to live a good life. Of course that requires deciding what exactly the good life is before anything else.

So, yes, wisdom traditions come up naturally when discussing philosophy because that's what philosophy originally was: the wisdom tradition of GrecoRoman culture.

     I don't think philosophy is ever a wisdom tradition. It's a critical tradition. The Greeks were among the first people to question the certitudes of their own culture and habits of thought. From then until now it has been closely allied to mathematics, science, language and logic. It's more concerned with investigating the means by which knowledge is derived, for example what it means to have a good life, than it is the answer to what a good life is. Philosophy as I describe it is essential to my good life. That's what I use to attack wisdom. (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/Smileys/classic/cheesy.gif)
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: XB-70 Valkyrie on March 21, 2019, 04:14:13 PM
Don't know who it was, Seneca or Marcus Aurelius I think, but one or more of the great philosophers opined that philosophy is ultimately worthless if it does not lead men to lead better lives and to happiness.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: drogulus on March 21, 2019, 04:38:26 PM
Don't know who it was, Seneca or Marcus Aurelius I think, but one or more of the great philosophers opined that philosophy is ultimately worthless if it does not lead men to lead better lives and to happiness.

     Very few people are capable of better lives and happiness through philosophy. It's a skill and aptitude, most people can be happy without it, and that's a good thing.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: Marc on March 21, 2019, 11:32:02 PM
The Dutch are VERY happy. Top 10 happy people since decades, AFAIK.

That's probably why. since the days of Pim Fortuyn, they are voting so furiously for ANGRY political parties, who insist that things in the Netherlands have grown extremely bad and keep getting worse.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: Florestan on March 22, 2019, 01:11:34 AM
If I lived in Finland I'd either be on pills or preparing to move elsewhere. Prolonged bleak weather makes me depressive.  :)

As for philosophy, the word literally means "love for wisdom". Using it to attack wisdom is self-defeating.  ;D

Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: Jo498 on March 22, 2019, 01:25:47 AM
In the ancient world philosophy as critical striving for knowledge and as a kind of behavioral therapy for attaining wisdom were usually seen as two sides of a coin. Martha Nussbaum wrote a book (mainly on the Stoics, I think), titled "The therapy of desire". For the Platonic Socrates, leading a good life is inseparable from attaining real knowledge (getting out of the cave). And this is similar for the whole Platonic tradition, neo-Platonism, including the later Christian variants. (Boethius' book is called Consolatio Philosophiae, after all...)
Depending on the school the connection will not be as tight. The good life and happiness in the somewhat detached way we nowadays mainly associate with the stoics and buddhism tended to become more important in Hellenism. For the skeptics and Epicureans these practical aspects clearly take precedence over knowledge and also for the later stoics (like Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius who after all are our main sources on stoicism, there are but fragments of the "older Stoics" like Chrysippos) they dominate. But the connection is nevertheless there. Lucretius' materialism is supposed to take away fear of death (or possibly hell/underworld) by the insight that the soul is just made of finer atoms and will perish.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: 71 dB on March 22, 2019, 05:39:08 AM
If I lived in Finland I'd either be on pills or preparing to move elsewhere. Prolonged bleak weather makes me depressive.  :)

The weather can get damn bleak at times in Finland (e.g. November/Decemcer when there's no snow yet, but the days are getting very short), but sometimes it can be very beautiful (according to tourists who visit Finland): The "endless" days of midsummer in Finland are the opposite of bleak and in the winter it can be very beautiful, like Narnia, when there's lots of snow everywhere to give more light.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: 71 dB on March 22, 2019, 05:47:21 AM
Finland was a Swedish duchy back in the day, wasn't it?

Kind of how Brits in America...
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: drogulus on March 22, 2019, 06:04:19 AM
If I lived in Finland I'd either be on pills or preparing to move elsewhere. Prolonged bleak weather makes me depressive.  :)

As for philosophy, the word literally means "love for wisdom". Using it to attack wisdom is self-defeating.  ;D



     Philosophy is self critical. In order to know what to think you have to know how to think. Attacking received wisdom was the job of philosophy from the beginning.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: drogulus on March 22, 2019, 06:29:09 AM
In the ancient world philosophy as critical striving for knowledge and as a kind of behavioral therapy for attaining wisdom were usually seen as two sides of a coin. Martha Nussbaum wrote a book (mainly on the Stoics, I think), titled "The therapy of desire". For the Platonic Socrates, leading a good life is inseparable from attaining real knowledge (getting out of the cave). And this is similar for the whole Platonic tradition, neo-Platonism, including the later Christian variants. (Boethius' book is called Consolatio Philosophiae, after all...)
Depending on the school the connection will not be as tight. The good life and happiness in the somewhat detached way we nowadays mainly associate with the stoics and buddhism tended to become more important in Hellenism. For the skeptics and Epicureans these practical aspects clearly take precedence over knowledge and also for the later stoics (like Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius who after all are our main sources on stoicism, there are but fragments of the "older Stoics" like Chrysippos) they dominate. But the connection is nevertheless there. Lucretius' materialism is supposed to take away fear of death (or possibly hell/underworld) by the insight that the soul is just made of finer atoms and will perish.

    You identify philosophy with its products, I identify it with the means philosophers used to decide.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: Iota on March 22, 2019, 08:29:28 AM
...'the way out of Hell is through the centre'.

A great quote!
I find it to be generally true that freedom often lies in walking open-eyed into the heart of whatever psychological/emotional fire that troubles you. Like John Berryman said “We must travel in the direction of our fear.”
Fears seem to thrive on one not being able to face them fully, and when one does it seems completely logical that their power is reduced, or perhaps banished altogether.

I find Buddhist ideas valuable because (as I read somewhere) the human mind evolved to enable humans to survive, not to make humans happy.

Perhaps you read it in Robin Wright's Why Buddhism is True, where that notion is argued very persuasively.
Title: Re: Don't worry, be Finnish!
Post by: vandermolen on March 23, 2019, 09:02:40 AM
A great quote!
I find it to be generally true that freedom often lies in walking open-eyed into the heart of whatever psychological/emotional fire that troubles you. Like John Berryman said “We must travel in the direction of our fear.”
Fears seem to thrive on one not being able to face them fully, and when one does it seems completely logical that their power is reduced, or perhaps banished altogether.

Perhaps you read it in Robin Wright's Why Buddhism is True, where that notion is argued very persuasively.

Glad you liked the quote. Mentioned, in reference to Dante, in that excellent book 'The Wisdom of Insecurity' by Alan Watts. A book that I have found very helpful. He argues that emotional pain is intensified by trying to get away from it ('this shouldn't be happening to me'). Paradoxically by going towards the pain we can, to some extent, alleviate the pain ('the way out of Hell...)