Real Art

I hear someone pointing at a bronze statue saying, “That’s what I call real art!”

It indeed is art, but we probably don’t share the same definition of “real” art. In my mind, all beautiful products are to be considered art. However, we may not share thoughts on what constitutes good or bad art.

Just because I don’t understand the artist’s idea on a subjective level does not mean the artform itself is ugly on an objective standard. I think it’s as simple as if someone calls it art it’s art. If you can exhibit it at a museum, it’s also considered commercially viable art.

Note that these definitions say nothing about quality because I consider the assessment of contemporary art impossible because art gets its value recognized by future generations. Besides, the value of art varies depending on the cultural sphere and epoch that produced the art.

One difference, of course, is that most of my examples are not publicly funded art. The question still lingers, though: who decides what constitutes good and poor art? I also think that decisions about public art have been decided more from political than aesthetic visions, especially in our times of political correctness. Public art has always been political, although today we are eager to portray ourselves as tolerant and open.

It is rare to see new bronze statues of national heroes adorn our parks. That if anything says a lot about what we protect. A statue of a football player is celebrated while statues of explorers or kings are untimely. This approach, unfortunately, leads to an infantilization of the entire social climate, where kicking a ball equals scientific discoveries that fundamentally changed our view of the world. Of course, one does not need to rule out one from the other, but our contemporary view at looking at things feel flawed at best.

Globalization

The business of electing political leaders is becoming a global business. A lot of people, apart from the French themselves, have thoughts and endorsements to express concerning the presidential elections in France. I’m no different, and I think this global movement is only the beginning of something new and refreshing. We see the first steps of a truly global world, a world where boundaries no longer play the same crucial role as they used to. We are all interacting digitally, and we all consume, eat and wear pretty much the same things. I can’t say it’s all for the better, but I can tell it’s getting people together in a way we’ve never seen in human history. I’m aware of the fact that I’m speaking in general terms. This globalization mainly occurs in the Western world, even though the spread of western economic and political ideals impacts the world. With a global economy comes global thinking.

A result of that globalization can also be seen in the micronational movement. People from all colors, creeds and socioeconomic backgrounds are tired of their national borders, but at the same time proud of their ideas, values, and traditions on a very local level. In short: Think Globally, Act Locally!  My micronation is a result of that notion; to some degree an extension of the traditions and values of my local “tribe” in a global context. Living in a multicultural community is not a threat to your own culture. I think it can add value and strengthen all cultures if we nurture and honor our origins as a nation and as a family.

I also witness the emerging global village in my daily life. I live close to a small town in Sweden with a large international community. People from all over the world move here to work and live. When I attend my kids’ floorball (a genuinely Nordic sport!) practice, I can hear at least three different languages being spoken. If we don’t share a common native language, we use English, the lingua franca of our time. Political and cultural matters from across the globe are discussed because we all share the same global news, and we’re all affected by what happens on this planet, no matter where it happens.

May Day

We celebrated May Day (funny name for a holiday) by working in the garden. For some May 1 is a political statement, where speeches and marches under red flags are customary. I’ve always thought that actions speak louder than words, so what better way to support the working man than by actually working!

Armchair Explorer

don’t like change, at least not if it’s out of my control. Intellectually speaking, I like changes in moderation. I can’t narrow down my interests, and I want new things to discover. I’m not much of a traveler, though; more of an armchair explorer, unless the exploring takes place locally.

If I could choose, I would live life like Linnaeus. He had a large mansion where he conducted research, classified his collections and wrote new books, while he sent his students around the world looking for new things to bring home to him. It’s not that I don’t like to travel (I love vacations abroad), but there’s no place on earth like home. I’m a bit of a recluse, I guess. I have nothing against strangers, but I enjoy being by myself or with my closest family in an environment I feel attached to. Besides, I have everything I need right here — no need to search for utopia if you’ve already found it.

Religious Symbols

Is it OK to wear a religious symbol (e.g., a cross necklace or Thor’s hammer) in a secular, western society? I guess most people, including myself) would answer yes to that question.

The reason I ask is that I’m curious to know why the same people are having vague feelings regarding Muslims wearing veils? One answer would be because a veil is not a religious symbol per se, but rather a cultural one. Then again, we allow a lot of weird stuff in public based on cultural identity, i.e., Mohawk haircuts, army clothes, and saggy pants.

A follow-up question to the one above would be: Do you consider our inclusive, secular (and to a considerable extent culturally Christian) countries to be better than the theocratic ones? My answer comes without a doubt: Yes! Some cultures are better than others. Our societies allow us to debate these cultural and religious questions without threats of oppression. Let’s keep it that way. I guess my question delves deep into the core of our freedom. Do I want to know how much we can tolerate until we threaten the foundations for our democracy? Is it OK to condone homophobia, racism, jihadism or other fundamentalists who want less open, less inclusive and less free nations? Some may claim that if you don’t threaten other people’s lives and liberties, you’re allowed to believe and do whatever you’d like. That is a reasonable assumption, even though it leaves a lot of ethical dilemmas unanswered, for how can you tolerate intolerance?

I think we can live peacefully together in secular nations. However, secularism is to a considerable extent a result of Christianity, and some even argue that Christianity was – and still is – a prerequisite for the separation of the two entities religion and state.

The Age of Enlightenment has not yet occurred in Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism, but I think they too will follow the same path. (Judaism has a long history of internal criticism when it comes to matters of faith. Being a Jew is, in fact, more about cultural identity than religious belief, even though Judaism also has a small minority of ultra-orthodox followers.)

Making Islam more secular will take time, but it’s already happening to some degree to Muslims living in Western nations. They too evolve and adjust their faith.

To give you an example: Muslim Feminist movements have started to pop up in several countries, fighting for gender equality and women’s rights. They’re far behind us, but my point (if there even is one) is that it’s impossible to live in a different majority culture without being influenced by it.

Some try hard to avoid being integrated, but sooner or later things will change for all living in the diaspora. If not now, then their children or grandchildren will live different lives (culturally and religiously) compared to their parents and grandparents.

Whether we like it or not, we live in global communities with multiculturalism and diverse religious practices. We must be decisive about how we approach our cultural differences when it comes to legislation etc. We legislate by the rule of the majority, but does that also include the right to criminalize certain minority customs? We raise taxes on tobacco and alcohol, and no one finds that discriminatory. Would banning certain religious traditions be any different?

Violence and Religion

Historically speaking religion has always (wrongly) been used to supporting the war. I can’t for the life of me understand how giving blessings to soldiers on their way to war can ever be Christ’s wish. The primary objective of war is to kill your fellow man.

As a Christian, I believe in the New Covenant, but the Old Covenant was more ambiguous concerning war. They condemned murder but not killing for a just cause.

Jesus Christ never used violence, and I think we should follow in his footsteps. However, ethical dilemmas can – and do – arise. The use of force is never condemned entirely, even though I think that the term “war” in the Scriptures often alludes to a Spiritual War. In such a war, all the guns in the world would be of no help.

Skin Color Is Not A Merit

Individual men and women in politics scare me. Haven’t we learned anything from decades of fascism, national socialism, terrorism, and communism? Haven’t we learned anything from the millions sent to death camps and gulags? We want our countries to prosper, yes, but electing monsters for office is not the way to go.

A wise French initiative once stated that “Men are born and remain free and equal in rights.” Let’s continue that proud tradition instead of elected officials who only consider the color of a man’s skin merit.

Ecological Awareness

The state of the world is not as sad as you might expect. Sure, we have a long way before we can live a sustainable and peaceful life on this planet, but the fact is we live in the best of times despite the terror, wars and climate change. That being said, I’m acutely aware of all the challenges ahead. We live on a precious planet, surrounded by an infinite universe. As far as we know, we’re still alone in this vastness. We live here on planet Earth by God’s grace alone, and we better start taking better care of our home.

We need to put our petty differences aside and deal with the pressing issues at hand. We need a tolerant, united world to deal with the challenges ahead.

Is national or religious pride worth more than the planet we all come home? I’m not saying cultural pride is wrong; I’m just saying that we need to put the welfare of humanity and our precious planet first.

It makes no difference whether you’re an Atheist, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu or Muslim. It makes no difference whether the color of your skin is black, red, white or yellow. We have one planet. It’s time to grow up and start acting as we care. If not for ourselves, then in honor of our ancestor’s history on this planet, and for the future of our children and grandchildren.

By these ideas, I will now promote a new vision for the Kingdom of Unixploria. It will be based on ecological awareness and the common good of planet Earth. My vision entails small (micro) and large (macro) nations all working together to solve our problems in a mutual understanding of prioritizing global challenges instead of just looking within our boarders for answers.

The Kingdom of Unixploria is up for the challenge. Are you?

The World Can’t Handle Absolutes

Why do some people insist on using harsh, hateful comments, thus attacking the Christian faith? The bottom line is they hate because the world can’t handle absolutes. There are such things as right and wrong, but it takes too much effort to do the right thing for people. It is far easier to do things you feel like doing, regardless of whether they’re right or not in the eyes of God. Also, to all the atheists: if there is no purpose, not ethical guidelines to live by, then why even strive to better this world?

Thankful For Being A Christian

Today we celebrate the joyous event that took place after Christ’s resurrection. The disciples met Christ and gained renewed strength through that meeting, as well as through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Looking back historically, I find myself being part of a long line of Christians. I cannot tell for sure when the first of my ancestors left the pagan Norse faith of Ásatrú for a life in Christ.

I do know that some of them must have clung to the old ways well into the Middle Ages, perhaps even longer. I also know that they too celebrated on this very day, but for varied reasons. Our Easter Monday was Spring Blút in the times of my Viking ancestors. They made offerings on this day, giving food, mead and material objects to oblige their pagan gods. I don’t have to offer my God anything but my sincere will to believe in my Savior’s unconditional love. That love changes me. One small step at a time I’m becoming a new man, a born-again Christian.

I’m thankful for being a Christian, but I also feel thankfulness to that very first ancestor of mine who (hopefully out of own free will) got baptized and followed the Christian faith. It’s because of him or her I wear a cross around my neck instead of Mjölnir (Thor’s hammer).

May God bless you, dear ancestor, for taking the path of light in which I now humbly try to follow.