Thursday, September 16, 2010

Full or partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline  + Forum Home + Open Forum – The-Not-Voter. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author , , or  

I suggest you look at the links imbedded in these blogs or at the end of the blog as an integral part of my argument.

31 Brain-lock (1)

Any numbers of Latvians have commented on the lock-the-brain mechanisms that appear to affect the thought processes of Latvians, those living in Latvia and those living abroad as well.

The latest comment comes from Džemma Skulme.  The artist comments that Latvian politicians appear to live in the world of “folk poetry” and that on the whole “A Latvian does not seek, does not analyze who he is. Instead, he assumes a pose.” (Latvietis nemeklē, neanalizē, kas viņš ir. Viņš ieņem pozu.)

A near similar comment comes from the renowned Latvian theatre director Alvis Hermanis. Hermanis—who has studied the Latvian mindset in a cycle of plays that lasted five years—claims the Latvian mindset to be: “naïve as that of the American Indians”. See the magazine "Ir". Of course, Hermanis is speaking of the naiveté of “Indians” in the sense that it permitted them to trust the whites who invaded and then destroyed their native cultures. Hermanis suggests that Latvians who live in the countryside do not yet understand the language of the elites (? liars) of Europe.

My own experience with the Latvian mindset is similar. My forty-six years in the U.S. (I was born in Latvia and lived there until eleven) were made memorable, for no small part, by my need to “flee” the society of Latvian exiles (trimdinieki) in order to be able to think—at least what I believe it means to think freely—and not live according to a set of unwritten rules transmitted in one way or another by then editors of the exile newspaper “Laiks”, the ex-legionnaire organization known as “Daugavas Vanagi”, the Latvian exile church, and a relentless drill in Latvian “folk symbols” at almost any Latvian gathering. In short, the intra-exile rules of Latvians abroad during the last half of the 20th century demanded a) an attitude of extreme Latvian nationalism; b) fear God as if he were Satan; c) the drumbeat that the bond that bound Latvians into a community was the church; d) the insistence that such a fear of God was necessary to maintain an eternal hate of communism; e) that to remain loyal to Latvia meant to remain in a state of mind imagined other than “normal”, i.e., the state of the mind of the West was believed to “abnormal” (dissolute and Godless); f) that the Latvian media was not to communicate any ideas contrary to a-f, and g) etc.

The above list (and it could be longer) comes to mind when listening to the pre-election vapid and “nothin’special” arguments of the political parties presuming themselves to be able to form the next government of Latvia. This lock-brain approach has been described by the Latvian politologue Ivars Ījabs as a process which “step by step leads Latvia to abandon the civilized orbit of Western Europe for a trip that may not have a return ticket”.

Though Alvis Hermanis and Ivars Ījabs statements appear to contradict each other, they are nevertheless part of the critical mind, which for a century and a half (I begin the count at about 1860) has been forced to suffer repression. In other words, the threat to Latvians as a free people does not come from Russia (though I lost eight family members to Soviet deportation), but as Ījabs says: “Indeed, the feared Russia exists rather in the heads of the political elite, where (every head) contains a small kreml [?grinch] and lubyanka [rather than fact]”. See link to Ījabs.

Somewhere in my various blogs, I have mentioned that many Latvians suffer from the Turret’s Syndrome. The most obvious manifestation of this syndrome appears in internet posts, where ad hominem arguments, various forms of insults, open anti-semitism, and other forms of slurs are a common occurrence. While Turret’s Syndrome is a universal marvel in our time, it is a particularly strong involuntary tick-of-speech among Latvians. My own theory is that this is the result of the above mentioned brain-lock, which the unconscious mind, unaware of the causes of the brain-lock, attempts to correct by screaming insults to gain attention. What is gained in reality is, unfortunately, a substitution of insults for a critical mind.

How to be cured of the Turret’s Syndrome?

One answer is to NOT-VOTE in the coming elections. I see a large turnout of a NOT-VOTE as Turret’s Syndrome in reverse. If the NOT-VOTE were to become reality, it would clearly defrock politicians of authority.

However, the closest Latvian variant to NOT-VOTING that is gaining popularity among Latvians (in e-postings) is to suggest participation in the elections, but to drop in the voting box an empty ballot. Herewith, this site accepts the EMPTY BALLOT as a worthy successor to the not-vote. For a full if prejudiced discussion of the pros and cons, click here. Note that the chairman of election reform Valdis Liepins presumes to call an empty ballot (tukša aploksne): "... an evil invitation, one that can be called for only by one who wishes to sabotage the elections". Actually, an EMPTY BALLOT is to express distrust in the Saeima as it is currently constituted, force a rewrite of an outdated Constitution, and, yes, it means to force a corrupt government to face up to the crisis it has created.

See nullification for relevant arguments from the U.S. that may find application in Latvia.

Asterisks & Links of Interest
Compulsory voting in the EU Parliamentary elections
The abstentionist elephant
Electronic polls
On the Meaning of Voting
British Government Attempts to Bracket the Constitution
Ground Zero for Thought
Why Forced Positive Thinking Is A Lot Of Crock?
The Trap

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