Stephen Kahn

Posts Tagged ‘Norway’

Anarchy hive

In Good news, Humor on November 5, 2011 at 3:30 am

Just when I thought I had nothing that would interest anyone on the topic of science fiction, I read a couple of interesting comments, such as the one about Robert Heinlein and Philip K. Dick. So I decided to continue. My thought now is to bounce back and forth between science fiction from literature and film and science fiction as it is coming true in our present time.

For example, I read about “hive minds”; now I wonder if the Internet is now turning human beings into a kind of giant hive mind creature communicating through email, blogs, Facebook. On the other hand, a couple of nights ago I attended a Transition Whidbey “potluck with a purpose,” to listen to Jonathan Moses, a political scientist/economist (who lives on Whidbey, farmed in Norway, and now teaches at a Norweigian College) talk about economic challenges of the present and future. He was a good presenter and had interesting presentation, but had difficulty keeping the program and the discussion going. As he said in a good-natured fashion, this is like “herding cats.” Everyone at Transition Whidbey seems to be in agreement about organic gardening, farming, and living, and about a thousand other values and ideas (hence we are forming something of a hive mind like creature), but everyone has a different idea about how it will come about and how it should proceed, so we seem to be a “hive mind” that is a total ADD/HD anarchy mind.

Trouble in peaceful Norway

In Bad news on August 15, 2011 at 3:40 am

OK, now I am on a roll. Unlike my bright and talented relatives, who speak (or spoke) languages such as Mandarin Chinese and Wolof, I have little talent for languages. Thus, I do not speak any Norwegian.

However, I have over the years met a few people from Norway, and they seemed like quite nice and peaceful people. I have known some Americans who have lived in Norway, notably two of my college professors (a married couple) who had taught in Oslo for a few years. They spoke with great fondness of their time in Norway. So it seems like a nice place for the most part.

However, the Vikings’ historical reputation is a little shadier. The Norsemen of ancient times have a bad reputation, perhaps regarded by many as the “gang bangers” of around 800 A.D. As with history in general, digging out the truth is difficult. The following Wikipedia article may tell you more than you want to know about the puzzle .

During World War II, an event still regarded perhaps as the pinnacle of evil enterprise in modern times, Norway fell under the control of Hitler and Germany. After Hitler installed Vidkun Quisling as a puppet ruler, Qiusling’s name became a modern catch word for a certain type of evil behavior. As Wikipedia describes the reputation projected by his name:

“During World War II, the word quisling became synonymous with traitor. The term was coined by the British newspaper The Times in its leader of 15 April 1940, entitled ‘Quislings Everywhere.’ The editorial asserted,

‘To writers, the word Quisling is a gift from the gods. If they had been ordered to invent a new word for traitor… they could hardly have hit upon a more brilliant combination of letters. Aurally it contrives to suggest something at once slippery and tortuous.’”

Quisling himself has been described as follows:

“Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung described Quisling as a mini-Hitler, with a CMT (chosenness-myth-trauma) complex, or alternatively megalo-paranoia, more often diagnosed in modern times as narcissistic personality disorder. He was ‘well installed in his personality’, but unable to gain a following among his own people as the population did not provide a mirror for Quisling’s ideology; in short, he was ‘a dictator and a clown on the wrong stage with the wrong script’ … psychiatrist Professor Gabriel Langfelt stated that Quisling’s ultimate goals ‘fitted the classic description of the paranoid megalomaniac more exactly than any other case [he had] ever encountered.’”

It’s probably unfair to describe Quisling as representing Norway in any general or useful way. After the end of after WW II Norway gradually achieved the mostly benevolent reputation that Scandinavians in general now enjoy. Thus when a gigantic and violent atrocity occurred not long ago in Norway, both the Norwegians and the world in general were shocked.