I don't want to get into all my personal culture schocks that I have experienced since July (I might want to do it later) but there is one thing I was thinking about a lot lately. It's a bunch of rules (I would say 'unwritten' but they are very much 'written', indeed) that were put down by Danish-Norwegian author Aksel Sandelmose in a 1933 novel. The rules are the following:
- Don't think you're anything special.
- Don't think you're as much as us.
- Don't think you're wiser than us.
- Don't convince yourself that you're better than us.
- Don't think you know more than us.
- Don't think you are more than us.
- Don't think you are good at anything.
- Don't laugh at us.
- Don't think anyone cares about you.
- Don't think you can teach us anything.
|Don't think you are anything special. YOU. Capisci? - Thank-you for these rules, Aksel Sandemose|
In fact, the Jante Law is that important that in 1994 (which was the year of the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway), author Inge Eidsvåg introduced the three main Norwegian values that characterizes the life of Norwegians maybe the most and one of them (among equality and respect of nature) was moderation - a notion that includes Janteloven as well. The 'law' has the strongest position in Norway and Denmark (I don't know so much about other countries in Scandinavia, but for the Icelanders I was talking to about this, was the Jante Law completely unknown).
I think these rules are in many ways not very conform with what the 21st century craves from a person so I was not particularly surprised to hear that a so-called Anti-Janti (Anti-Janteloven) exists stating the exact opposite rules - it is hanging on the wall in many Scandinacian homes as a trial to break free, as a rebellion against this hommage to sweet mediocrity.
|I think it definitely pays up to think sometimes that you are something special. (Anne Geddes meets van Gogh)|