Leaving Denmark part 1, what is “hygge”

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Our adventure in Denmark is coming to an end. We lived here for four years, so I had time to experience many sides of this culture and society. Denmark is a very peculiar place. Perhaps these remarks will be useful for somebody thinking of coming here to study or work. And just for the record, I did not have any really negative experiences while living here; we are not leaving for any such reason. My experiences here were positive.

I will start with the most important Danish notion, the mysterious “hygge”. This blog will be about that.

This concept is indeed part of the Danish way of life. If you come here, this is something you will have to deal with. But what is it?

At first, if you try to study the concept from books and blog posts, it makes very little sense to a foreigner. It is described as “coziness” or “being together with friends” or “enjoying life,” for example, but everybody can do that. So, what is it? What makes Denmark special? Couldn’t also Italians or Germans enjoy life?

The concept is simple, however, once you understand that we foreigners have a different word for the same thing. It is called “being lazy.”

That is, hygge is synonymous with “to do something pleasurable with minimal effort.” You are at home, drink beer, watch television, chat with friends, in general do anything that feels good and is nice but does not involve any effort. But because it would be embarrassing to admit that the national sport of Denmark is lazy hedonism–enjoying life–an obscure philosophical notion had to be invented. But that’s what it is. I don’t mean this in any negative way. The whole thing is just very funny.

Once you understand this, many other things here start to make sense. I mention a few. Another important concept in Denmark is “work-life balance.” It is repeated continuously. It does not mean “work-life balance,” however. It means “to use as little effort and time to work as possible.” People invent countless reasons to avoid working, such as holidays, activities at school that require parents to be presents, leaving early from work at every Friday, and so on. Free time is valued over anything else.

The work culture is structured similarly. There is no competition, and very little attempt to achieve anything of any significance. Everything is pursued with the single goal of being able to enjoy life with minimal effort. Many foreigners who come here find this surprising and astonishing. In many other cultures, work life is permeated with a certain implicit or explicit culture of competitiveness or achievements that is just completely absent here, it is in fact perceived negatively. That’s why in the academia, for example, “nonacademic personal qualifications” are measured instead of merits, people are just not suppose to work hard. They are supposed to enjoy. Again, it’s not a bad thing . There are exceptions, but this is the general pattern.

Danish laziness has, I suspect, historical origins. Most cultures in Europe are shaped by what happened to them during the World War II. Denmark avoided the type of disasters that hit almost everybody else. Thus, having enjoyed an exceptionally long period of relative prosperity and peace, these people have adopted a fundamentally serene and inactive philosophy of life—the hygge.


The battle between truth and power

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julian-assange-arrest-london-ecuador-embassyThere is no better picture than this to illustrate the titanic battle between truth and power that we are experiencing.

It perfectly captures both sides: truth, on the side of one fragile and sick man, and power, on the side of the countless and faceless minions and bureaucrats, who are only there because they have the power to suck your wealth and resources by force, and because they would like to keep doing so.

The picture reminds me of Galileo. He was imprisoned in the 17th century by the Church, whose power and authority Galileo questioned. He spend the rest of his life as a prisoner, in very poor health and completely disillusioned. The same fate awaits Julian.

The picture also perfectly captures how utterly helpless power is against truth. No matter how many faceless minions and nobodies you send after this small man, even an army, he will triumph.

Adult fairy tales and the Mueller investigation

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The Mueller investigation is over and, as everybody knew, the Trump-Russia “collusion” turned out to be a lie. The whole narrative was so absurd from day one that nobody with any adult cognitive facilities could have believed it.

The tax-funded Finnish broadcasting company YLE here in the idiot belt was one of those who did not and still cannot exhibit signs of any adult cognition on this matter. In another journalistic masterpiece, this institution continues to peddle the childish collusion narrative and claims that the “real findings”, showing that there was collusion between Trump and Putin, have been kept secret and are still to come. They keep putting out stories after stories still trying to convince people that the story is true. What an embarrassment and disgrace.

This tragicomic episode has taught me several things.

The first lesson I learned is that journalism in the West no longer exists. The said Finnish national broadcasting corporation (and its Danish equivalents) kept informing the public, day after day, that it has been “proven” that the “Russian state” and Trump have conspired to hack the US elections. These are direct quotes from an article published by YLE. Sometimes a “Russian invasion” was imminent, other times Putin was waging “hybrid war” against Finland and other great nations here in the idiot belt that are so epic in their character and so rich in their natural resources that everybody in the world must be looking to invade them.

How ironic is it that the YLE and its reporters therefore “colluded” with the hoaxers to try to reset the voting results in the US, exactly as the alleged “Russian troll factories” allegedly did.

YLE, you are the troll factory here.

Accusing of “Russians” and “Russia” of all evil is called racism. There was no Aryan race; there is no Finnish race that is superior to anybody else. There is no Danish race that is better than anybody else. Suck it and move on.

I was once in a job interview, in which I was asked what I think were the main differences between children and adults. Is it that childern’s imagination is more lively, more creative? But consider the following. I have read fairy tales to my kids with some success. They listen attentively and, if the story gets too scary, react with what I can report is real fear . Sometimes they didn’t want me to continue, even if the story was nothing out of ordinary. How could it be that children are so totally immersed with such ridiculous stories? Is it their imagination?

Here is your answer. The Russia-Putin collusion was an adult fairy tale. It has a good guy (we) and a bad guy (Vladimir), and a totally absurd narrative between the absolutely good and absolute evil that has no connection with any reality. If you ever wonder how children can believe such fairy tales, just look at YLE and its reporters. They are adults, yet they are like children.

And it is not only an adult fairy tale, it constitutes literal unreality. It has been us, the West, that has destroyed and pillaged the world (thus, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Venezuela). We are still trying. Who saved Syria from total collapse? This is a question that the Finnish people, being lied to so long by YLE and others, simply cannot answer.  The answer has become un-cognizable.

“Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent,” wrote the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. We cannot cognize what exists outside of our own cognitive bubble.

French people are revolting every week, while Macron is deploying the military to create a new “EU renaissance”. But no reporting on the issue. Fictions and falsehoods prevail, adult fairy tales.

How ironic is it that these champions of democracy, say Finland and Denmark, decided to declare some random dude who nobody knows in Venezuela as the President of that country, while accusing Russia of alleged collusion against the US democracy? Who is colluding against which democracy? I’m confused. Is it accepted or not? The level of hypocrisy is so blatant that there is simply nothing else here except a tragicomic death spiral into complete absurdity.

The hypocrisy is astonishing. Danish people here are all for everything green and environment, everything is “ecological” and clean. Yet they continuously flight to exotic locations, produce more garbage per person per year than anybody else, live in luxury, bump and sell oil like there was no tomorrow, and drive bicycles most of which are motorized. An adult fairy tale.

I revolutionized logic with the new doctrine of cynical logic. It is very simple logic. Cynical logic asserts that if huge resources are poured into producing some belief, thus to “manufacture consent” to use Noam Chomsky’s term, you must immediately assume that the exact opposite is the truth. Only falsehoods must be advertised and continuously supported, truths support themselves. The Mueller investigation is an example of how you apply cynical logic. If YLE says, over and over, that the Russians are coming, or that the Trump colluded with Russians, you assume the exact opposite must be true – and in this case, it is. The same with the Danish greenness, or our love for dear democracy, or the claim that Finnish is a monkey language.

Let me conclude by reporting what we all knew and know is the reality here. Because journalists don’t do their job, this work has falled upon ordinarly people like me and millions of others. The Mueller investigation was an attempt to cancel the voting result in the US by the opposite campaign. The hoax story was generated form an earlier movie script, and presented to the intelligence agencies as evidence, which then used it to spy on Trump’s campaign and its staff. The idea was to find something, no matter how little, to ensure that Hillary would win the election. The problem for the plotters was that Hillary lost.

YLE, please get off the air.

Who did you vote? Guaido?

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The EU Parliament urges EU member states to recognize Guaido as Venezuela’s president.

The same people who for the last two years have bombarded us every day with the horrors of purely imaginary “Russian meddling of the US democracy”, with sanctions imposed every month against Russia for this horrible crime, now grace themselves with the task of selecting the Venezuelan president.

The sense of hypocrisy at display here is rather total.

There’s simply nothing left beyond this point. We are looking into emptiness, total emptiness. Lack of any principle, any value, any humanity. What’s left is the inhuman bureaucracy, which amounts to nothingness.

No doubt we will turn Venezuela into another Libya. 

On medieval linguistics and medieval buildings

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(A street in Siena, Italy)

A good thing about working in Italy is that you can just take a train and see some of the most extraordinary places on Earth. These pictures, taken with my phone, are from Siena and Firenze. They have a distinct  “medieval” feel in them, and in this connection the term has positive meaning. It was a rich experience. But sometimes the implication of “medieval” is negative.

Last year, I submitted for publication two works that were concerned with my hopeless battle against what I perceive as harmful medieval tendencies in human thinking, one article (in Finnish) and one book (in English). As you know, the whole field of Finnish linguistics still lives in the medieval world.



When a scientific work is submitted for publication, it is first evaluated anonymously by the peers, meaning researchers who are experts on the topic the article addresses. The existence of this procedure made it possible for me to see what linguists working within the medieval context would really say when confronted with my argument. This is because I submitted the article for the leading linguistics journal in Finnish. Here is what they said.


(Duomo, in Siena, at the top of the hill)

The first and foremost principle of medieval thinking, as I have documented here numerous times, is that substance (truth or falsity) has no relevance. What matters is who the writer is and which school of thought s/he champions, Protestant or Catholic, Freudian or Chomskian.

Thus, after the reviewer of my article complained that s/he was not “motivated” to engage with me on any of my arguments (truth or falsity of my claims), s/he proceeds to analyze me as a person. The reviewer speculates, for example, that I am “not a linguist” and not familiar “at all with the literature”. To remedy this, the reviewer suggests that I should read. That pretty much summarizes the whole evaluation. It reads like a personal insult.



But it is not an insult; it is the norm. As I have explained, in the medieval system the value of any scientific contribution depends solely on the amount of “illumination” radiating form the author; thus, evaluation of scientific work can be based solely on the personal qualifications of its author, not truth or falsity. Complete “lack of motivation” on the subject matter is thus not a problem for evaluating a scientific argument. It suffices to gossip about the author’s identity.

But you can see that this just proves my point, doesn’t it? My argument in the paper was precisely that (a) this is how medieval science works and (b) this is how linguists in Finnish conduct their research. And voila!

The second reviewer proposes that I should review my own manuscript. That is so far out there that I cannot and will not say anything.


(Duomo in Firenze, this is a gigantic structure that no picture can depict. You have to stand there yourself.)

If you are interested in reading about their comments in more detail, you can find the manuscript here. My discussion of the reviews is in the last chapter. Unfortunately, the text is in Finnish. The journal proposed that I make changes to the paper and then resubmit it, but I have no time to do it now — and there were no subject matter points in the reviews to begin with — so I will post it here instead. It will be published later in some way.

But, as I did not find any subject matter arguments against the points I presented, only personal insults, all this only reinforces my point. The emperor has no clothes.

cameringo_20190113_125658.jpg(Bridge in Firenze. I spend hours here.)

A side matter: I haven’t updated this blog for a while. This is because I am engaged with matters that are technical and complicated, to me at least. I will write updates if and when something gets published. I am working with a hypothesis that language comprehension uses the same Merge (recursive computation) as production. I believe that this is true. The complication comes from the fact that, to prove that this idea has any wings, I have to show that it actually works, by writing a computer program that instantiates the model. And it’s not very easy thing to do. But in the 17th century science, contrary to the medieval science based on personal insults, I have to have a rigorous empirical proof.

My long visit to Pavia

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I am working in a research project here at IUSS, Pavia, Italy. Here are some pics from this place. Nice, isn’t it? This is certainly something else than Denmark or Finland. If you happen to visit (this is close to Milano), come to say hello and discuss Finnish with me.


The project I am working on has to do with parsing. I’m using Python (which is a programming language) to see if certain cognitive science/linguistic ideas work or doesn’t work. What I think I am doing is imitating certain aspects of what the brain does when we read/listen to language.

Testing a hypothesis empirically is one thing, but implementing it in a Python code is something different. If you know what programming is like, you already know what I mean. The problem is that the computer understands nothing, so everything has to be formalized to the smallest detail. Every logical step has to be there. On the positive side, programming is very relaxing, because you can always see, with complete rigor, if your ideas work. Here’s an example. Few days ago, I asked the parser to parse the following sentence:

“The claim that the elections were rigged was rejected.”

Simple? You already know what this sentence means? There was a claim that was rejected, and the claim was about elections. But my parser gave the following ‘logical’ solution:

(1) [The claim that the elections] were rigged.

The sentence means some ‘claim was rigged’, and it is not clear what the claim is. The claim that the elections?? The correct parse is this:

The claim that [the elections were rigged]

where it is the elections that were rigged, not the claim. My point is that without this program, it would have never crossed my mind to think that my assumptions would entail (1) as a plausible meaning/parsing of this sentence. Yet it did, because this alternative followed logically from my assumptions. Humans do not think logically. But I like this, because when the computer does something like this, it is always it and not me who is correct. So it’s all like mathematics–unambiguous, logical, clear.

It took me one day and several discussions to fix the issue. It is not trivial, because sometimes you have to do as my parser did in (1), as here:

(2) [The claim from the administration] was rejected.

See? Now it is the ‘claim’, and not the ‘administration’, that is rejected. Why is that? I leave this for you as a home work assignment.

At any rate, I will be posting something about parsing here. The project is not just about writing a parsing application, which would be an applied project, but our main goal is to see if the parsing perspective could help us solving certain open issues in the overall linguistic theory. I have assumed for some time now that this must be the case, and will explain my reasons in a later post.


Incident manufacturing in real time

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If you read history, you have certainly noticed a pattern. Whoever hopes to start an unjustified military campaign against somebody else must first create an “incident”.

For example, when the Soviets wanted to attack Finland, they first created an incident in Manila in Novermber 26, 1939, where, it was alleged, the Finns started the war by shooting at the Russians. The event was staged. Four days later, the Soviets attacked Finland in “defence”. Read More