Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Saddest Thing - For Non-Philosophy Majors

The saddest thing I have ever realized (over and over and over) is that kindness will never be hip.

It will never be mainstream, it will never be free of charge. Even the word itself has a pompous connotation. Most importantly, the sheer act of making someone else happy, will never be enjoyed by more than a handful of people at the same time in one particular hemisphere. Not in the true sense anyway.
Ghandi stand-up comedy, movies and quotes may be enjoyed. Quotes mostly. I love the average university student quoting “be the change you want to see in the world” in every major presentation, paper and motivation letter. I love all the teachers and businessmen giving away just a few hours or just a few cents to “help the world become better”. I love all the vaguely comprehensive and powerfully positive words such as “better”. I mostly love all the people kidding themselves they are a friend.

Few care. And why would we. Really now, we’ve got all the skills to perfectly demonstrate that we do. Minimize effort, maximize outcome, right? We’ve got this awesome command of the international language of human rights, free speech, free economy, free thought, free enterprise and general ‘betterness’. And we’ve got the university degree to prove it.

It’s not even about us on our small campus in a small city of a small country of a small continent. It’s actually irrelevant where you look - national, international, small, huge, middle-sized communities – culture is mostly pointless in this matter. It’s not about whether you value symmetric suburbs or lose morals, it’s not about sanctifying naked actresses over devout conservatives, blatant corruption over covered corruption or rakia over wine. It’s that the vast majority of people value many wonderfully diverse feelings that never have anything to do with kindness. And how strongly people stand by those values.

You may call them sacred, you may call them normal. If you’re very bored, you may call them “cool”. And you simulate kindness and no one could ever possibly suspect you of even for a single second having a clear thought or even the slightest glimpse of an intention of doing harm. Not for one second, never. Few things could make a person sadder than seeing it in a friend.

Fewer things could make anyone happier than having been the cause of an honest smile.

But then, the less the former hurts, the less one enjoys the latter and the more cynically greedy and jealous you become.

I suppose the greatest thing I keep realizing in my life is that I’m enough of a social idiot to spend time thinking and talking and writing about this.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

90 posts! - Romanian Chronicles

So here I am. Fresh into my first month in the Romanian wilderness. Rather Southern and Transylvanian wildernesses. In any case, quite the trip.
However, I find myself completely unable to write about it. It's the kind of "too much has happened"-situation, where the effect in itself is enough to fill up any man's attention span for a week. Ok, a day. But it's still not bad.

Things I don't like about Romanians and have had a hard time adapting to in the first 2 weeks:
1. They don't look you straight in the eye when they speak to you. It makes you feel like you're part of the scenery and they're actually speaking to themselves. Seriously, not cool.

2. They get intimidated and will tell you so if you continuously look them in eye when in a conversation.

3. Will all invariably ask the same questions. Regardless of the accent, I will find myself having to say "No, I did not bring any pot back home. Because I want to go back there in two months. Yes, I've smoked it. Yes, you do feel different. Yes, I like it there. No, I don't have the time to fully explain what it is that I'm studying. Also won't explain what meeting I just had. Because it takes too fucking long."

4. Will again invariably end up asking "Si altfel ce mai faci?" or something of the sort, unless you are actual friends prior to the conversation. ("So how else are you?")

5. Again, unless friends prior to the conversation, will have one of the two reactions when hearing you study in Holland: "you - God. me - not worthy" or "I am completely ignoring the fact that we have nothing to talk about because we have nothing in common so I am going to ask 'Si altfel ce mai faci?' or something of the sort".

6. Too many girls wear excessive make-up, dress as if sex toys on heals and expect to be taken seriously.

7. Guys are completely comfortable staring at your breasts for a good couple of minutes. No, you may not ask them not to. Because it would in no way have a positive effect. Because it's like asking Dutch guys not to wear hair gel. Social faux-pas.

8. Many conversations end up in discussing attributes of cars owned by neighbours.

9. Meeting someone new in Transylvanian cities generally implies being ignored at least for the first 10 minutes. If you prove yourself worthy, you may perhaps be allowed to enter a terribly interesting conversation regarding the above-mentioned cars owned by neighbours.

10. Why do people refuse to look you in the eye for a full damn sentence?

Things I've missed about Romania:

1. Family.

2. Friends.

3. Being able to understand all the subtleties of the language spoken around you.

4. Some kinds of cheese.

... Yup, that's about it.

Hooray, I'm home!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Stop staring at me!

Cred ca inteleg de ce nimeni nu a scris pana acum o carte majora despre diferentele dintre Romania si tarile vestice, o carte care sa surprinda aspecte din diferite domenii, de la psihologie la lingvistica si economie. Nu au facut-o fiindca e inutil.

Majoritatea studentilor romani plecati in afara isi pun intrebarile astea. Spun majoritatea fiindca nu toti au interese inter-culturale si nu toti sunt meditativi din fire. De fapt mai degraba spun "majoritatea" pentru a lasa o portita de scapare. Inca nu am intalnit nici un student roman plecat care sa nu fi ajuns la concluzii pe aceasta tema.

De ce ar fi inutila o asemenea carte deci?
Pai dupa o saptamana esti socat. Dupa o luna esti ceva mai putin socat. Dupa cateva luni incepi sa compari mai lucid. Dupa un semestru crezi ca reusesti sa compari chiar lucid. In curand incepi sa formulezi concluzii. Ajungi la anumite raspunsuri, dar apar noi intrebari. Raspunsurile se schimba in timp. Dar tot e bine ca ti-ai pus intrebarile in loc sa te intorci cu doar "bambina" si "ragazza" inserate in vocabular.
Dupa un semestru jumate intelegi "lumea vestica" foarte bine. O intelegi atat de bine incat realizezi ca nu poti generaliza in predictabilitate nici macar de la om la om, cu atat mai putin de la tara la tara invecinata, aproape deloc intre Italia si Anglia, chiar deloc intre Olanda si SUA. Si ce e cel mai tragic e ca totul se schimba.

Acum daca tot ai ajuns pana aici - ai gandit si rasgandit probleme, ai comparat, ai transat si-ai aplicat diferite perspective culturale - ar fi cea mai mare prostie sa scrii o carte pe care-o termini in "Nu exista nici o concluzie pe care o pot admite drept nici macar propria-mi sincera opinie."

Pe cuvant, uneori ma simt exact ca o maimuta in gradina zoologica. Stii ca existi, stii ca trebuie sa mananci, stii ca trebuie sa fii social pentru a te putea intr-un final reproduce, dar de ce se chiombesc astia la tine zilnic n-ai nici cea mai vaga idee.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A vinde pui sau a nu te vinde pe tine?

Un articol pe prezinta povestea lui Adrian Buzatu, un student roman de 25 de ani. Pana acum a vazut o buna particica din lume. A studiat si lucrat in Franta, Canada si Japonia cel putin. Mai era un loc, dar articolul a fost prea haotic in relatare. In orice caz, visul liceanului roman. In mod evident, a plecat sa studieze fizica, in urma participarii la (nu stim daca si a castigarii) olimpiadele nationale de fizica. Natural. Fiindca pentru liceenii romani doar fizica, matematica si cu indulgenta chimia au vreo relevanta adevarata. Doar ele pot masura picurii de scanteie de inteligenta pe care un student roman obisnuit o poate avea.
Nota - ironizez o mentalitate, nu o persoana. Ar fi trebuit sa fie evident, dar de dragul sus-numitei sclipiri am ajuns la un compromis.

Articolul perpetueaza o imagine a studentului roman plecat in afara pe cat de idolatrizata, pe atat de lipsita de relevanta pentru 90% din cititori.

Simt ca ar trebui sa insist asupra unor aspecte:
1. Olimpicii la sus-numitele fatidice trei materii de stiinta nu sunt singurii care au vreo sansa reala de a pleca din tara pentru studiu. Ei reprezinta o categorie admirabila, insa foarte restransa din totalul celor plecati.
2. De ce? Fiindca spre deosebire de Romania, alte tari prezinta sisteme educationala trecute de faza anilor '70. Inteligenta sociala conteaza. Ea pune totul in miscare. Sigur ca e important sa stii cum se creaza un cip de calculator sau cum se calculeaza integrala necesara determinarii unei traiectorii (Sofia, opreste-ma) a unei masini in testare. Insa e la fel de important sa iei sau sa influentezi decizia construirii masini in primul rand. Sau de angajare a cercetatorilor. Sau de punere pe piata a produsului. Sau de convingere a oricui in legatura cu orice decizie. De a gandi critic (dincolo de manualele incomprehensibile de a 11a pentru comunicare) si in ansamblu. Mereu vor exista oameni care lucreaza in detaliu si oameni care lucreaza pentru cei care aleg sa vada doar detaliile.

Bottom line: poti pleca si ai sanse mari sa o faci aplicand pentru programe variate, de la drept international la actorie.

3. Bursele nu se "ofera". Nimeni nu-ti va bate la usa cu un cec la Stanford fiindca "esti bun". N-o sa petreaca nici un profesor de la Haga nopti albe cautand prin foile tale matricole performante sclipitoare. Inteleg de ce romanul are mentalitatea pasiva. Decenii nu a fost legal sa o aiba activa. Insa haideti fratilor, a trecut ceva vreme. Daca iti doresti ceva, te ridici din scaunul comfortabil al ironiei si satirei la adresa nenorocirii de sistem romanesc si deschizi o pagina web (whoa!) cu adevarat utila. Cauta topul universitatilor din lume. Ia-le la rand si vezi ce-ti face cu ochiul. Apoi vezi care ofera bursa, daca ai nevoie. Apoi inchide pagina de web. Nu, nu, serios, inchide-o. Si deschide Word. Scrie un CV, o scrisoare de motivare si cere altora sa scrie una de recomandare. Pune in plic sau apasa "send" (mai nou se face se aplica online direct) si acum poti deschide Yahoo Messenger. In nici un caz nu sustin plecarea tuturor celor care pot, insa nici misticismul "stiudiului in afara" nu e tocmai benefic. Se poate. Si o decizie cu care poti trai e una luata in cunostinta de cauza.

4. In sfarsit, titlul postului. Adrian Buzatu a vandut pui dupa ore pentru a se intretine in timpul facultatii. A vandut pui, dom'le. Mai ca n-a lmaturat strazi. " Ce face nevoie din tine, vezi? D-aia nu plec io de unde mi-i bine. ".
As vrea sa condamn pe aceasta cale atitudinea sugerata mai sus. As dori de asemenea sa trag romanul mandru cu 3 euro in cont de pe tronul imaginar al "demnitatii" inspre realitatea capitalismului. Munca nu e o corvoada inutila sub demnitatea lui Nea Gica. Desi poate parea asa.

O amica plecata si ea la universitate in vestul Europei mi-a marturisit de curand blocajul mental pe care l-a intampinat atunci cand un prieten (fara nevoi financiare neintampinate) a invitat-o sa stranga pahare de plastic impreuna la un festival pentru cei cativa euro primiti in schimbul lor, banii revenindu-i ei. Blocaj mental major in care imaginile parintilor si prietenilor dezamagiti au aparut instantaneu.

Sa nu fiu acuzata de ipocrizie: Vineri l-am cunoscut pe CFO-ul Unilever. Sambata mi-am pus boneta de brood meisje pe cap si am taiat paine intr-o brutarie. Duminica am discutat din punct de vedere sociologic problema coruptiei si a pesimismului in Romania cu o profesoara din Amsterdam. Ieri am primit din nou felicitari pentru pozitia de presedinta a unei fundatii.

Lasati balta preconceptiile "demnitatii" voastre intre a manca seminte la televizor si a bea bere la pet intr-un apartament care sta sa cada prin Dristor si a munci temporar pentru bani putini, dar cu adevarat respectabili.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Romanian Culture

As more and more fellow Romanians from our glorious capital have begun shouting, please allow me an attempt to answer the mind-boggling question "Why are Romanians unable to be Western?"

I do believe the question has an answer as simple as it is mostly foregone by the mathematical brains of my generation: culture. You see, whenever reaching this peak of wisdom, ordinary Ioan proceeds to either give up on the discussion in favor of Palinca (or Jack in some urban establishments) or commit the ultimate fallacy and bravely pointing a finger while screaming at the top of his lungs "You damn Pussy!".

Such an answer as 'culture' is for the weak, you see, for the unable. It is no match for the Romanian's brave spirit, capable of change, so vividly portrayed in expensive cars and crowded malls in overcrowded Bucharest. What a wearer of the typical D&G king-sized silver belt is not aware of however, is culture's tricky part. You may be fooled into believing that culture is that which we can observe, i.e. crappy communist apartments blessed with huge screen TV's and a Porche and a life-time of mortgage payments. But oh, perhaps you might think culture is that which can be seen as an honest farmer's (well rather a peasant's) torn conscience between the drinking spot and the church, as a basic order of life. But maybe also culture is in fact our Moldavian easter eggs, our Transylvanian spring ritual, our Southern... apparent economic prosperity. You may honestly agree that these are all cultural elements of Romanians.

If you do, then you will agree that culture in itself is nothing more than a collection of fun objects, delightful stories and non-western mind frames. Is this what is to keep Romanians from being Normal? From being Civilized? From being The Way That People Should Be? (well except for the very poor countries that we fiddle with on a regular basis. we still need to exploit them to keep capitalism going. shhh. shhh.)

My dear friends, as my experience and study has brought me here, this is my honest answer:

Culture may be seen as a collection of elements which may blend so nicely together, but one must not mistake the visible effects of a cultural mind frame with the essence. Yes, culture is fluid. Anyone past 30 can tell you that nowadays. But culture is not the expensive and traditional easter eggs on a table in a luxurious suite. In this case, culture was that mind frame which was reflected centuries ago in the patterns and shapes of the geometry on that egg. Culture is one's longing to be traditional in this superficial way.
As a conclusion to all of this, culture is more logically and productively seen as that what is beneath the effects.

Alright, nothing new here you may assume. Romanians - lazy, shallow and inconsistent. And something else. ... not paying attention.

Westerners may be modest and civilized. But these in themselves are not essence, they are effects. Historically, they were just as barbaric in their habits as the rest of the world, even more so than the Chinese and the Indian people throughout centuries. Many scholars bluntly state that Western-Europeans' and consequently North-Americans' 'civilized' ways were nothing more than a catch-up with the Orient's ways at first and then a means of distancing themselves from the 'barbaric' ways of the conquered. Furthermore, westerners splurged. They indulged themselves in all luxuries possible, they were beyond immoral in their colonialism and, to this day, racist. But indeed, they were something Romanians never were: aggressive, as a natural consequence of greed.

We have heard so many times that "Romania is lagging behind. 50 years, 100 years, 200 cultural years". This only implies that there is one Right way for culture to evolve. But culture in itself is nothing more than an accumulation of events, over time, many of them caused by circumstances.

So then, why are Westerners different now? Considering the cause-effect mind frame that is innate to all of us, we can only answer that in historical terms for as far as we can trace it. Westerners had their day of aggressiveness, accompanied by extremely favorable circumstances (gun powder, disease, immorality); they had their chance to splurge away and create a deeply-rooted euro-centric view of the world and now, for varied reasons, only a small fraction of which are WW2 and the 'Protestant Ethic' (Weber so as not to plagiarize even here), they have resorted to accumulating money as a means of social validity. Just as the Italians and Romanians show their social standing by displaying expensive cars, the 'true' Westerners that Romanians unknowingly idolize (Dutch, Belgian, English, Scandinavian) display relative modesty. That again is a consequence of Calvinism being imprinted into culture.

If we were to truly answer why one culture is different than another, we would have to go back to Africa and the separation of the first tribe. Then see how the environment and the events influenced their way of thinking. How exactly it is that the first tribe led to the nations we now observe is by no means pointless, but intrinsically unattainable.

My answer: attempt to understand one's own culture to the furthest degree possible. Go beyond communism, go beyond just one science, go beyond Romania in comparisons and leave no preconception untouched. Even if it seems impossible or pointless, even if you are to arrive at roughly your starting point, it is a journey worthwhile. In its absence, the guilt and self-loathing of not being Western will do everything but help.

Si pana la urma noi suntem fraierii care isi autoimpun euro-centrismul.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Latin spirit

2 more days. Just 2 more. I can do it. I can make it. God damn, it feels like forever.
If you can't rant on your own blog, where can you?

In any case, lately I've been thinking quite a lot about the 'Eastern-European' label. It's not a fetish, rather I've been forced to. I don't know what it is about spring, but within a week I've been asked "how does it feel to be an Eastern-European?" three times.

And then it dawned on me! I've never in my entire life thought of myself or anyone that I knew as an Eastern-European. For some reason, that term was never employed when referring to Romanians inside Romania. Which is the most curious little thing. The Balkan countries are. Poland is. Even Hungary!
But no, Romanians are Latin. Yes, we are Latin people. We speak a Latin language expressed in a Slavic way and behave like Latin-Americans most of the time. Yes, we are Latin. Latinos even. Thus, of Western descent and innately superior to those crude and corrupt Slavs and plain strange Hungarians (huo, Mongolians!).

So then I turned to my few sources of Romanian happenings in Romania. Online newspapers, blogs and instant messaging with friends. And all I get back is this image of "man, this country SUCKS. I wish I could just magically leave it!". Everyone I know complains about it every time I speak to them. The traffic is horrendous, the police is retarded, the system is corrupt, education nothing more than a joke. I check back with memory - yup, quite consistent indeed.

So then.. how is it exactly that we are not Eastern Europeans? Why is it that we would rather identify ourselves as a nation referencing events that occurred over two millennia ago than with a culture that hits you in the face every single day?

Monday, April 14, 2008

I wanna

For a few days...

I wanna lose my head.

I wanna forget I'm me.

I wanna forget I have deadlines.

I wanna forget I'm responsible.

I wanna not be considerate.

I wanna not write emails.

I wanna not worry.

I wanna not remember.

I wanna chill.

I wanna drink wine and eat home-made cheesecake.

I wanna only smoke shag.

I wanna only think about him.

I wanna look at the sky for hours.

I wanna go riding in the woods.

I wanna go jogging at sunset every day.

I wanna enjoy the campus ducks in the morning with a cup of coffee.

I wanna sit in the sun.

I wanna discard everything.

I wanna be completely happy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Pun Intended

"The N Word" takes on a whole new meaning in Germany. Sec.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

O sa mor singura?

E o intrebare in mintea tuturor la un anumit moment, respectiv in anumite momente, depinzand de nesiguranta fiecaruia, dar totusi este de neignorat: Ce ne face atractivi?

Ce face o femeie frumoasa?
Ce face un barbat atragator?
Cum ies in evidenta?
Imi afisez bucle mari si rebele sau imi dovedesc rafinamentul prin par intins?
Arat incredere in mine prin tocuri inalte si elegante sau Converse si un tricou misto?
Ar trebui sa fac din prima contact vizual prelungit? O sa ma creada doritoare si disperata sau interesata si sigura pe mine?
Nu vreau sa par rigida, dar nici sa fac primul pas. Desi primul pas poate fi sexy. Si daca nu zambesc cand imi zambeste? Ar trebui sa zambesc mai mult. Oare zambesc prea mult?

Nu poti gasi nicaieri reteta pentru cel cu care te vei potrivi. O strategie este sa determini ceea ce iti doresti, sa anticipezi ce si-ar dori un asemenea om si sa te comporti ca atare.

Un exemplu: Imi doresc sa fie increzator in sine, ambitios, cu respect pentru femei, dar nu protector. Imi doresc sa ii pot cere ajutorul, dar nu vreau sa mi-l ofere fara sa i-l cer. Nu vreau sa considere femeile menite pentru a fi ingrijite si protejate si nu vreau sa se astepte sa nu mai ies in oras cu prietenii mei de sex masculin. Imi doresc sa se bucure cu toata inima de compromisurile pe care le fac pentru el, dar sa nu mi le ceara. Vreau sa ajunga sa ma cunoasca indeajuns de bine incat sa imi poata face o supriza de care sa ma bucur si vreau sa ajunga sa se deschida in fata mea.

Pe o reteta de tipul asta, poti anticipa ce anume nu ti-ai dori: Sa nu ma strige 'pisi' sau 'papusa'. Sa nu ma alinte in public. Sa nu ma trateze ca pe un copil nestiutor si incapabil. Sa nu se comporte arogant cand suntem in masina lui noua. Sa nu se ofere sa ma duca la cina pentru ca apoi sa pretinda ca ii datorez ceva. Sa nu simta nevoia saruturilor sau atingerilor cand iesim cu prieteni pentru a-i face sa se simta prost. Sa nu aiba un zambet superior si tamp cand ii spun opinia mea despre evolutia euro-centrismului si sa nu rada cu pofta cand ii recunosc ambitiile mele. Sa nu cumva sa ma intrebe de ce lumea mai citeste inca.

In consecinta, pentru a-l atrage, nu ma voi imbraca la ceai ca si cum as merge la o petrecere trance. Nu voi purta fuste roz si stramte, nu ma voi machia excesiv, nu voi vorbi strident, nu ma voi pisici si nu imi voi limita discutiile la show-uri TV.

Toate bune si logice. Suna bine. E un plan rezonabil. S-ar zice. Dar e un mic semn de intrebare in legatura cu primul pas din ecuatie: poti baga mana in foc ca asta e ceea ce iti doresti?
Poti spune cu siguranta ca o atitudine protectoare, izvorata din sentimente puternice, nu ti se va parea dulce la un moment dat? De asemenea, daca ambitia si succesul lui, in timp, nu mai lasa loc apropierii dintre voi? Daca gasesti omul perfect, barbatul cu care te potrivesti, fara nici o indoiala, cel cu care te vezi atat pe munte la vara, cat si la nunta peste 5 ani... si apoi il cunosti pe El?

Sincer vorbind, cu riscul de a va strica urmatoarea intalnire si a va deprima, noi habar nu avem ce ne dorim 'cu adevarat'. Fiindca nu exista dorinte supreme, care sa ne exprime intreaga fire, intregul caracter. Chiar si acesta e in continua schimbare. Iar perceptia noastra nu e decat o imagine distorsionata, vazuta prin sticla colorata si neuniforma a variabilei .
A gasi persoana potrivita pentru tine, in haosul probabilitatilor dinamice, e nu doar greu de crezut, dar profund ingreunat si de importanta colosala pe care o dam detaliilor si impresiilor. As zice primei impresii, dar nu indraznesc.
In contextul asta, notiunea de 'suflet pereche' pare de-a dreptul ridicola. Si totusi, in cel mai determinist univers, o potrivire de tip barbat-femeie, sot-sotie, prieten-prietena, iubit-iubita -si toate in acelasi timp - ce altceva poate fi decat dovada existentei sacrului (Dumnezeu, Destin, Design Inteligent, dupa gust).
Reality check: asa ceva nu se intampla niciodata. Relatiile fericite sunt cele la care se lucreaza si la care se depune efort. Se limiteaza voluntar optiunile individuale si se accepta defectele. Asta le face mai valoroase in ochii mei.

Nu stiu daca o sa mor singura sau nu. Depinde. Cine stie daca imi voi dori sau nu.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Exercise for the mind

I think we all know that we're small. We all know we're petty and insignificant. We know that we know nothing, that we will never in our short, normal lives be able to grasp anything that holds true value. No matter how gullible we play, I believe that we all know our lives will not mean anything. Not truly. It is my strong conviction that we are perfectly aware from the day we are born that we will not change the course of the universe, but rather that we are meant to simply integrate into the course of it.

Of course, we've trained ourselves to ignore all of this.
The fact of the matter is, in order for us to do all the meaningless shit we do every single day, we have to be deeply self-deluded into thinking that it matters. This might just be the most emo-sounding, apparent Fight Club-plagiarism I have ever written. And indeed, it is beyond words to explain how deeply I understand the phrase "It does not matter".

Our delusion at time peaks. It peaks in attempting to 'leave something behind', something that inconceivably will last through time and will make a difference to the world. Such a narrow definition for such a powerful word.
Ahh, art. The fantasy. Art is to the world what to me is the exact particular shape of the leaf cut by the red ant on the shore of the Amazon at point 10,453 km, on a rainy autumn's day in May, at 3:45 and 52 seconds. I do not know and I do not care. I don't give a shit. And you don't either.

The importance of absolutely everything is equal to zero.



No-thing. Nothing. Take a note of that. NO - THING. Vain.

And yet. What can be more beautiful in the world for the human mind to grasp than... the futility of its efforts. As we've had the misfortune of wondering, tell me then. What can bring more peace to a soul than intuiting and accepting nothingness.

What can be more serene and valuable than a death with meaning?

A meaning that you yourself can grasp. A meaning that does not arise from thought-up make-belief premises that bare no proof, no test, no evidence and no honest or true conviction from anyone. But a meaning that is as evident as water is to fish; in need of no advocate or reason, aided by no priest or madman, forced upon no creature. It is the meaning which can bare no name. It is personal to the extent that expressing it is describing the color red.
It is despair beyond recovery and, at the same time, hope without a taint of blood.

It is in each of us, should we care to wipe the dust of social and moral righteousness off the humble chest of simple truths.

It is not an end, nor a beginning. It just is.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

De ce unii cred ca sunt masochista

... sau de ce eu ma bucur ca am trecut prin experienta nefericita a scolii romanesti si mi-au fost varate in cap atatea lucruri inutile.

Unde am crescut eu era expresia repetata obsesiv de profesori ca justificare era 'sa poti purta o conversatie inteligenta cand o sa ai ocazia'. Problema e ca discutiile pe teme de cultura generala, din experienta mea in Romania, fie se intampla la cateva beri pe o terasa si de obicei lipseste vreo structura sau vreun 'point' care sa fie urmarit pentru mai mult de cateva fraze, derivand eventual in filozofie, fie sunt cu un profesor foarte pasionat de materia lui care in mod ciudat ti-e si simpatic, dar fara sa aiba vreo finalitate practica.

Personal savurez la maxim o discutie si in special o gluma care se bazeaza pe cultura ta anterioara, de tipul "I'm trying to play a battle game online, but opponent isn't responding." - "Is he Swiss?"

Insa eu am avut dificultati in a le gasi in abundenta pe meleagurile noastre. Departe de mine ideea ca nu ar fi cu cine. Nu simt nevoia sa dezvolt aici. In schimb cred ca nu exista cultura acestora propriu-zisa. Sunt fie asociate cu scoala, si deci 'naspa', fie sunt intr-adevar legate de domenii specifice (glume intre doctori, intre manageri, intre advertisers etc.)

In primul rand, cultura generala e mereu asociata cu sentimente de genul celor descrise aici, de fortare la scoala si implicit de inutilitate. Daca e sa porti o discutie pe teme intelectuale de obicei te mandresti cu faptul ca nu le-ai invatat de la profi (ci pe Discovery sau in carti 'marfa rau, pe care evident ca nu le avem la scoala'), si o faci in modul cel mai informal posibil tocmai pentru a-ti sublinia opozitia fata de tot ce e academic si deci tocit.
Al doilea motiv e fiindca lipseste aproape cu desavarsire clasa sociala care isi permite la 20 de ani sa stea in puf material in timp ce vorbeste despre Locke si Machiavelli la un cocktail dupa o prelegere la facultate. Calitatii invatamantului i se adauga 'inutilitatea generala' din opinia studentului, astfel incat o discutie de 2 ore dupa un curs, pe tema respectivului cursului e rara. Mai mult, cu greu gasesti o persoana motivata si in acelasi timp instarita (si deci care nu are griji mai mari decat 'filozofeli') la 20 de ani, cu o mentalitate care sa-i permita bucuria unei astfel de discutii (vezi marea clasa a nouveau-riches de dupa revolutie, a caror ascensiune nu are nimic in comun cu educatia sau cultura). Si daca prin noroc gasesti un asemenea specimen, da-i o companie pe masura...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Random fact of the day

Suicide is a criminal offense in many legislative frameworks across the world. The reason behind this is often deemed to be paternalism, meaning that it's the state's way of protecting you from yourself. By discouraging you. From killing yourself.

You should be discouraged by a law stating that if you fail to kill yourself, you go to jail.

I don't know about you, but I would look for an extra-tall building just to extra-'stick it to the man'.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Ce te costa?

O educatie in Olanda - 1500 de euro in tuition fees + variabil in living expenses.
Admiterea la o universitate din Olanda - milioane de neuroni morti de stres.
Adaptarea la un nou mediu academic - nopti de munca asidua.
Adaptarea la un nou mediu social - nemaiintelegerea unor glume de acasa.
Abonament telefonic avantajos - 10 euro.
Bilet de autobuz - 1.70 euro.
Auzirea melodiei Parazitilor (zi pu-lala. zi pu-lalalalalalala) in mijlocul campusului intr-o vineri dupa-masa fara oripilare publica generala - priceless.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

1 Martie pe alte meleaguri

Nu cred ca mai e nevoie sa zic cat de importante devin dintr-o data toate chestiile pur romanesti care nu te interesau prea mult odata ce ajungi pe alte meleaguri. E un cliseu, e normalitate, e o palma subtila data de cunostinte care rad cand le spui.
Azi-noapte pe la 12 primesc un mesaj pe Facebook care ma invita la un brunch doar al romanilor Sambata dimineata la 11. Yay! Macar o sa simt un strop de 'romanism' de 1 Martie. Si inca dimineata! Ma culc fericita si asistata de cele doua pahare de vin rose de la bar.

Ma trezesc la 10 dimineata ca o curajoasa ce ma aflu si purced spre cantina. Ma lovesc de un vant demn de Marea Nordului. Imi zboara palaria, ma impiedic de o piatra si imi lacrimeaza ochii de parca as fi venit de la inmormantare. Ajung, imping usile grele si ma reped la baie sa imi revin.
La 11:05 nu era nimeni in fata cantinei. La 11:15 incepusem sa ma deprim uitandu-ma la cum zboara pungi si biciclete pe afara. Urasc sa astept. Nu, chiar urasc sa astept. Urasc sa astept dimineata. Urasc sa astept dimineata cand sunt invitata de altcineva. URASC sa astept de 1 Martie.
La 11:20 vad venind un roman din cei 11 asteptati.
"Neata, Ioana."
"Buna. Ce facem?"
"Ah, la multi ani."
"Astia nu au martisoare."
"Da. ... Stiu."

La 11:40 mai apare o romanca. Ne imparte cate un snur de martisor si bem o cafea fara cofeina. La 12 fara 5 vin bulgaroaicele. Ma imbratiseaza una dintre ele si imi leaga o sfoara de martisor (ca ale noastre, doar mai groase) de mana si imi spune ca acum imi leaga fericirea si norocul.

Fast forward 5 ore, ma aflu la o cafea adevarata cu o prietena olandeza foarte interesata de traditiile noastre 'pagane' si de asemenea incantata de minunatia de hornar de plastic bagat frumos intr-o casuta alba, cu sforicele albe si rosii plutind inauntru. Discutam despre sistemul de invatamant olandez, despre a vizita Bruxelles, despre cafea si despre ONG-uri.
Ce placut.

Povestea asta nu are nici o morala. There is no actual point that you missed. E doar o pagina de jurnal pentru prieteni si pentru cei interesati de cum arata o zi de Martisor departe de tara Martisorului.
Ma apuc sa recitesc Huliganii.

Edit: Feel free to leave an impression.

Friday, February 22, 2008

La ordinea zilei

Este un grup pe facebook cu o lista de cerinte pe care le indeplinesti cand studiezi la UCU. Una dintre ele suna asa: "You know you're studying at UC when... you never realized there are so many people smarter than you". Urmatoarea cerinta spune "You know you're studying at UC when... you never realized there are so many people dumber than you". Ultima mi s-a confirmat azi.

Eram la cursul de drept si discutam cazul The Crown vs. Dudley and Stevenson. In acest caz cei doi il mancasera pe un al treilea cetatean al Imperiului Britanic, in timp ce erau pe o pluta in mijlocul oceanului, fiind infometati. In mijlocul discutiei o domnisoara draguta, de felul ei, ridica mana in mijlocul sedintei si spune consternata "But who's to say that Dudley's and Stevenson's lives are more important than the Crown's?". Te provoc, raspunde intrebarii.

In alta ordine de idei, s-a intamplat incredibilul azi. La pranz, la masa internationala, doua romance converseaza cu lumea. La un moment dat incep sa vorbeasca una cu alta. Dupa cateva minute de discutie se intorc amandoua spre bulgaroaicele de la masa si realizeaza ca vorbisera una cu alta in engleza timp de cateva minute bune fara sa isi dea seama ca impart mai mult de o limba comuna.

Gotta love foreign schooling. If I won't be able to speak proper Romanian in the summer, I'm suing them.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Intr-un final glorios am dat de un articol in presa romaneasca care sa prezinte o bucatica de realitate. Realitate, acel concept greu de prins din blocurile galagioase si murdare din sud, in aceeasi masura ca din masini luxoase cu soferi badarani. In fine, o gura de aer curat. Nu mi se pare real, dupa cati bucuresteni au incercat sa ma convinga de cat de oprimata eram atunci cand locuiam in Ardeal. E greu de explicat cum aproape orice ardelean rade spontan la afirmatia "Te simti oprimat in comunitatea ta?". E o stare de fapt pe care o accepta oricine se naste intr-o societate cu mai mult de doua etnii.

Parerile tarancelor din articol sunt poate cea mai relevanta parte. E ca si cum mi-as fi auzit toate rudele vorbind, de la bunica din zona sasilor la matusi din zona ungurilor la fini din Cluj. Hai sa fim seriosi.

“Dar cine sint eu?”, se intreaba Zsoldos Gyorgy, ”parintii mei or fost unul german, unul maghiar si bunica romanca. Eu ce-s? Al cui sint? Ca daca vor sa se separe unii de altii, eu unde ma duc? In sat sint patru biserici: romana, catolica, reformata si capela pentru martori. Ce facem? Daca vreau sa aprind lumanari pentru stramosi trebuie sa trec pe la toate bisericile! "

Nu exista romani, unguri sau sasi in Ardeal decat dupa limba si uneori(!) cultura. O voi cita pe matusa mea de la Dej cu ceea ce mi-a spus dupa un ras copios la intrebarea mea "Noi suntem romani de-a binelea?". Mi-a raspuns "Ioana, nu sint romani pe-aici. Tata lumea-i corcita. "

Cum as putea sa-i urasc pe unguri?
Sa fim seriosi, neintelegeri intre oameni vor exista intotdeauna indiferent de etnia lor. In cel mai rau caz poate fi folosita drept scuza, dar niciodata drept motiv. In plus, pretextele politice nu merg la tara.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Insight into a Friday night

Aseara, la o petrecere pe jumatate goala, in campus, ma intalnesc cu un tip pe care n-as fi crezut sa-l vad band vodca vreodata. Am avut doua cursuri cu el pana acum si intotdeauna, fara exceptie, vine la ora pregatit, cu mapa si cu notitele la zi, cu articolele citite, chit ca e 8 dimineata (ora considerata devreme pentru rasfatatii de noi de la UC). Oricum, il vad venind spre mine zambitor si imi cere un foc. Se cuvine sa schimbam cateva vorbe, mai ales la cat de bine se simtea. Daca e un sacrilegiu in campus, e acela de a strica buna dispozitie cuiva intr-o vineri seara. Asadar, purced spre a-l intreba zambind:
- You smoke?!
- No, just pot and at parties.
- What?
- Pot!
- Oh, ok.
- And at parties!
- You know, I don't see you at parties that much.
- Nah, I enjoy chilling with friends more. (in traducere directa, prefera sa fumeze iarba cu prietenii pe canapele in sufragerie decat sa mearga la petreceri)
- Yeah, I know what you mean.
- Do you wanna smoke up? (pentru neinitiati, to smoke up = a fuma iarba)
- Thanks, I don't smoke pot.
- Oh, okay.
- I need another drink, spun eu cu intentia de a explica motivul pentru care ma indepartez.
- Me too actually, spune venind si el spre bar. (Vorba vine - bar - e masa cu multa multa bautura si in jurul careia se formeaza o balta de alcool in jurul orei 2 a.m. Dar noua ne place sa dam denumiri pompoase - e o chestie UC. Spre exemplu, pentru petrecerea de vinerea viitoare, intitulata Eeastern European Party, ne-am adunat organizatorii sa discutam situatia alcoolului, asa ca intalnirea a fost marcata printr-un sms prin care se anunta Eastern European Party Alcohol Committee Meeting Friday at 7 p.m. Mai ca oricine s-ar prezenta, nu? Revenind...)
- I wouldn't have thought you smoked anything, to be honest.
- Really? Why's that?
- I don't know, you seem so organized, I presumed you don't like losing control.
- Well, if something makes you feel good, just do it. Don't think about it too much. If you like it, it's good for you. (Eu fac ochii cat cepele. E ca si cum as fi auzit ca nimeni n-a gandit de fapt nici un program de sofware, ci totul s-a intamplat cand un cimpanzeu a fost lasat intr-o camera cu o tastatura. )
- But, you know, smoking does kill you. Zambeste, se uita la mine fix si fara a lua vreo pauza de gandire zice :
- Life kills you.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Politically Correct O laie

Revin la pasiunea mea pentru vocabular si legatura cu valorile culturale.
Sa mai zici ca romanii nu sunt "rasisti".

Jidan - termen peiorativ pentru 'evreu'.
Jidanie - termen peiorativ pentru 'animal'. Daca ar fi sa incep sa explic problema acestei similitudini probabil as purcede spre a spune ca, in ciuda posibilitatii existentei unei coincidente, inclin spre neincredere in afirmatia anterioara si concluzionez prin afirmatia : sa fim seriosi. Cuvantul implica scarba.

Halal - termen ce desemneaza ceea ce e permis in Islam. Foarte des e folosit pentru a identifica mancarurile acceptabile.
Halal (in romana) - pentru a cita inca un clasic - "Tu-ti dai seama ca inseamna rahat?"
Exemplificare: Halal cina, a fost naspa.

Dar ce bine stam noi la nivel european :)).

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Good perfume comes in small bottles

Why is it that every time I try to write about a certain place, I end up focusing on why Romania is, well, nothing like that certain place?
I recently saw Sex, Drugs and Democracy. Just like good perfumes, Dutch values are as subtle as they are pleasant. Not violent. Not loud. They don't shout to be heard.
I've been meaning to write about my admiration for this country for quite some time, but I was waiting for the right time and the right pretext. I have yet to find the right words.

It's really quite difficult to explain how living in such a liberal, yet extremely organized environment changes your perception. I have never been a homophobe, I've always stood against discrimination and all of it mainly in theory. See, in Romania it's easy to say you abide by all those politically correct statements like "We should all have the same opportunities". But you are not really doing that. This is not to say you are doing the opposite, but the specific culture and the standard of fixed normality forces unconscious acceptance of double standards, hypocrisy, discrimination, evading the truth and postponing action. It might sound a bit harsh, but I reserve the right to criticize the country dearest to me.

When I went back on winter break I found myself in a bit of a puzzle. Should I laugh at jokes about women? They've never offended me before. I knew I could learn how to change a tire and drive a car sensibly. Should I go on saying "it's their own damn fault" about gypsies? After all, it is the way in which everyone around me thought. What about prostitutes and women in short skirts relying on sugar daddies? What the fuck about blatant corruption?
All of a sudden, free from exams and intense "I miss my home!!" feelings, question started coming at me out of nowhere. I'd never asked them before. I couldn't believe that either.

Aah, but the beginning. I can still remember it crystal clear. January, Bucharest, snowy, warm and scented rooms. Soft music in the background, lounging on sofas, drinking cocktails and talking to newly introduced people. Very relaxing. Ultimately comfortable. And then he says "It's okay that you don't know much about cell phones. You're a girl."

Why was I shocked by something like that? It's a pretty acceptable remark for a chilled party in Bucharest, especially as it was meant as a joke.
A year ago that would have been borderline between normal and a challenge. You know, it's quite easy to be extraordinary in Romania, don't you think? You've so many stereotypes to defy. An intelligent and witty young woman in Bucharest finds a strong contrast pretty much everywhere, from bimbo secretaries in her office to gypsy flower girls to idle housewives. So why shouldn't there be a stereotype? It's that much more fun to break it.

But in that moment, holding a glass of Bailey's and hearing something of the likes of which I had not heard in months, it wasn't fun anymore. At all. It was actually very dry.

Funnily, I did not have such a culture shock coming here as I did going back. Holland just kind of sneaks up on you. You don't notice it because it's not brutal. You're not forced to do anything and nothing is forced on you. The actual freedom is what I found to be confusing. You are in most ways free to do whatever you want about your present and your future. If you want them, you can find opportunities. Black men, white men, colored, chinese, mexican, indian, moroccan. It's all good. Pot is not a tabu. As bullshit as that sounds, it actually, for the life of me, isn't. I could go on for a while. But the paradise isn't for free.
More is expected of you, very true. Much more. No more hiding behind stereotypes, no more falling back on general intellectual idleness, no more shrugging off a disagreement, no more lack of responsibility for opinions. It's the real deal. I do agree with those who say that an overly authoritarian state turns responsible citizens into children. A whole lot of Romanians are kids at heart. Sure, it's sounds cool and makes for good poetry and a spicy, absurd, sarcastic and absolutely delicious sense of humor, but... no. Just no.

Romania, I love you, baby, but this isn't working out. You need to stop being so needy. Get off your ass and stop being such a baby about it.

(For me all of this coincided with the end of my adolescence and starting school at a pretty awesome university. Interferences with that may be observed.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

66th post!

Some celebrate their first, some the 100th, some the end. I celebrate an interesting number :)
Si din seria "sunt intr-o dispozitie prea buna pentru lumea in care traiesc" vine urmatorul link si cititul pentru drept maine. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Perle de UC

In acest rai al vorbirii in romana fara ca cei din jur sa ne inteleaga, ne petreceam noi doua o dupa-masa studiind la olandeza cu un american. Din motive bine intemeiate, o intreb despre acest domn in timp ce el s-a ridicat sa-si ia apa:
- Auzi, tipul e gay?
- Poate. E posibil.
- Dar a sunat asa de homofob.
- Da, stiu.
- Poate e genul care.. uh. nu a iesit inca din closet.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ghost of feelings past

I'm leaving tomorrow. Again. Few things remind me of my last departure. No deja-vu. So, earlier today I was looking at old posts and came across this draft that never got published, marked September 11th 2007. My early impressions. Many things have changed since then, too.

"That's strange. It seems like the logical outcome, yet it's still amazing. I just didn't see it coming. What do you think it's like when cultural differences come down to very hidden personal things or, at best (or worst), stereotypes come true. When you meet someone from Uganda and swear they're American. And someone from Santa Monica and swear they're from the deepest jungles of Africa? And when you ultimately realise that your own nationality, culture and habits don't matter that much. That even your life goals are mostly common to everyone around you? When skin colour is no longer a matter of 'wow, this conversation should be interesting'. The differences aren't actually emphasized here. They're diminished. We now share a common language. We obey the same rules. We look up to the same people and party in the same place and eventually the same way. Our lives are almost identical regarding events, life conditions, schedules and activities. What do you call it when you find yourself holding the door for a guy? Stunned. What do you call it when you don't find it normal for a guy to hold the door for you? A new beginning."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Too sad

I really feel like crying. Is this really all it adds up to in the end?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Ce capsuna mea!

Azi mi-am indreptat atentia involuntar spre un videoclip difuzat la TV. E vorba de Loredana-Made in Romanie.

Am avut un mini-soc din care mi-am revenit in 5 secunde. Dupa ce-am asimilat, am trecut la incercare de intelegere, dar m-am lovit de-o perdeluta viu colorata. Inca incerc sa imi dau seama care e intentia si scopul melodiei.

Sa fie un efort de a da sens cuvantului "roman", incluzand, pe buna dreptate, in intelesul cuvantului diversitatea caracteristica tarii, dar punand totusi accent pe valori caracteristice doar acelor membri mai putin demni de admiratie? Deci sa fi fost 'pe bune'? Scop onorabil? Nu-l gasesc.
Sa fie o intentie de satirizare a acestor valori printr-o generalizare? Cu ce intentie? Difuzat la ProTv, ziua in amiaza mare, cu siguranta va pricepe Badea Vasile subtilitatea intentiei. Mai degraba i-a vini sa ias-ashe pan-afar', sa-i futa una tiganului de nu s-a videa.
A treia si ultima ipoteza, cea a unei incercari disperate de a-si largi publicul? (Incercare disperata sau nu, a functionat pentru alde Adria si Unirea in reclamele lor.) Ce s-o fi gandit? Suntem romani, nu putem canta manele. Am cantat populare in trecut, ce dracu. Si totusi, atata potential! In consecinta, observam un comportament de tipul -Hai sa ne imbracam noi, albi ca varu', in haine de tigani si sa dam putin din piept, zambim larg si tamp, miscam funduletul, ne poleim dintii cu aur pentru cateva ore si pretindem ca reprezentam autenticitatea rroma.

Care sa fie raspunsul?

Sa analizam versurile; muzica nu e de ajutor fiind un hibrid nereusit.
Melodia incepe relativ onorabil cu urmatoarele:
"ce misto ar fi pe bune
sa fim respectati in lume
esti roman in romania
dar tigan in italia
nu'i chiar asa"
O dorinta de inteles. Probabil daca as pleca in Italia si m-as lovi de prejudecati nerezonabile mi-as dori acelasi lucru.
Dar apoi vine explicatia, cantata intr-o veselie:
"ali-iali breee am plecat sa fac un ban,ban
dar mau expulzat inapoi la saraiman-man
capsunele,capsunele am cules un an-an
si-am cules si protofele
sa mai fac un ban-ban"
Si totusi, arzatoarea oftica persista:
"cand se aduna tot romanu'
nu-l imprasti nici cu tunu'
si mai vine si tiganu'
se oftica europeanu'"

Mi-as dori sa pot cita un clasic (daca tot o dam pe clisee): Acu' si cu p***-n c**, si cu sufletu-n rai?!

Sigur ca nu am o perspectiva nepartinitoare. Sigur ca n-am habar despre ce se cere si ce se plateste in muzica si televiziunea romaneasca in ultimul timp. Cu siguranta sunt mai putin informata despre potentialul financiar stors de la capsunari (Impotriva carora chiar nu am sentimente negative. E onorabil sa muncesti orice, cat timp o faci corect). E o certitudine - eu nu va trebui sa ascult melodia asta prin taxiuri si in pauzele publicitare. Nici nu vreau sa stric bucuria altora de a asculta o melodie, nici nu ma revolt fiindca sunt romanca si impartasesc o nationalitate cu "tiganu' care fura buzunaru' la italianu' ". Pur si simplu mi-as dori sa ne dam noi insine alta definitie decat ne dau italienii si spaniolii din clasa de jos. Pur si simplu m-a intristat.

N.B. Cand am spus autenticitatea rroma nu incercam sa fiu ironica. Cultura nu inseamna numai literatura, muzica si dans clasic. Totodata, nu e nevoie ca un popor sa fie de tip aboriginal sau trib african pentru a i se scuza lipsa acestora. Copilaria mea e presarata cu imaginea barbatilor inalti, robusti, cu palarii mari si negre, mergand pe drum de tara in carute cu fete si femei in haine viu colorate. Stiti voi, acele lucruri transformate in cliseu desavarsit de emisiuni precum Inima de tigan.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pleasant conversation

Cu o cafea si un Business Weekly in fata, in Galleron ieri, imi conving un prieten bun sa faca o pauza de la invatat. In 10 minute ajunge gafaind, avand in mana o punguta de Fornetti cu mure (?!) - ce s-au mai schimbat aromele de cand am plecat. Trec cateva zeci de minute fericite. El fiind in pre-sesiune, eu in stare intelectual-letagica de cateva saptamani, subiectul cel mai potrivit ni s-a parut sistemul care a facut toate acestea posibile - facultatea. Sub influenta stresului si a perspectivei de a invata cateva sute de pagini intr-un numar mult mai modest de zile, imi explica lipsa de similitudine dintre cursurile sale:

- La unele am proiecte, la altele de citit o groaza, dezbateri, prezentari...
- Aha... spun sorbind cafea.
- Si ca sa mai vezi diferenta dintre prosti.. aa, profi ! Profi !

Most people would call that a Freudian slip. Of course we do not. It was just pleasant conversation. And while he pleaded with me not to write a post about this, I typed it in my phone as a reminder and consented not to.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Putin mai intepator

Raspuns acestui post, din 6 Ianuarie 2007, pe tema "ce anume nu merge in sistemul roman de invatamant?":

Cred ca primul si cel mai important pas este ca profesorii, dar in special studentii sa se ia mult mai in serios. Stiu ca e destula aroganta in mediul academic, de ambele parti, dar e aroganta gratuita. Ceea ce am observat ca lipseste cu desavarsire in sistemul de invatamant romanesc e lipsa constiintei ca ceea ce faci chiar conteaza. Profesorii incep acest cerc vicios, de acord. Totusi, vorbind din experienta, un profesor caruia ii pasa de fiecare ora/curs/seminar in parte e desconsiderat pe ideea "cu o floare nu se face primvara" si "ce conteaza? diploma tot n-o sa valoreze nimic".

Ceea ce vreau sa spun e ca daca studentii s-ar lua pe sine mai in serios si nu si-ar permite sa isi piarda sute de ore din viata intr-un mod complet inutil, atunci profesorii ar lua o alta atitudinea. In afara Romaniei, la universitati bune, profesorii au emotii cand se afla in fata clasei. Dupa o vreme ajung sa-ti marturiseasca faptul ca le e teama sa nu spuna ceva stupid sau evident, aflandu-se in fata unor minti care ii judeca si ii vor admira sau respinge. Cert e ca nu vor ramane indiferenti. E vorba de timpul si viitorul lor, ce mama dracu. Mai mult, daca nu se ridica la nivelul asteptarilor , este dat afara. De ce? Fiindca studentilor chiar LE PASA. Cei aflati in asociatiile care mediaza cu profesorii isi iau treaba in serios si beneficiaza de sprijinul celorlalti. Daca ar fi sa despicam firul in patru, multi ridica problema "exista oricum un numar foarte limitat de profesori decenti in Romania, si aceia deja ocupa functii in universitati". Fals. Perspectiva mobilitatii in domeniul acesta si al lucrului cu studenti interesati ar atrage multi alti studenti care peste cativa ani ar vrea sa devina profesori excelenti, in loc de a deveni contabili, notari sau ingineri mediocri. Nu e destul de rapid? Aduceti romani plecati! Exista un puhoi care ar sari la sansa de a schimba ceva in viitorul tarii lor intr-un mod eficient. Solutii se pot gasi. Sa fie cine sa le gaseasca. Sa fie cine sa roteasca acea prima rotita.

Pana la urma, studentul roman sta pe spate, intrebandu-se indignat de ce nu se schimba generatia veche pentru ca poate, si doar in conditii favorabile, sa isi revizuiasca si el atitudinea putin. Generatiei vechi nu-i convine schimbarea si e invinuita sus si tare de catre studenti? Eh, majoritatii triste din generatia noua le convine mult mai mult sa nu se schimbe nimic. Chiar sa fie putin mai mult miserupism. Pe cat posibil. Cat sa nu deranjam pe nimeni, sa nu incomodam. Sa fim invizibili.
Care e problema in invatamantul romanesc? Nu se scutura mai nimeni de trista "capul plecat sabia nu taie" si eterna "Las-o ba' ca merge-asa". Inca.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Cu luare aminte

E una dintre expresiile care imi amintesc de copilarie. Niciodata nu am inteles-o cu adevarat.
In ciuda sensului propriu-zis de "tine minte ce se intampla aici", mereu am fost de parere ca inseamna mai mult. Nu e posibil sa se doreasca doar activarea instantanee a memoriei folosind o expresie atat de voit demna, mereu era vorba despre o reamintire a statutului tau inferior - cel de copil. Ma enerva la culme.

O intalneam in circumstante marcate de ambiguitate oricum, de exemplu sfaturile unor matusi indepartate si usor iritante.
Imi amintesc ca o auzeam si la scoala. Invatatoarea sau profesoara de religie, probabil ambele. Cert e totusi faptul ca insotea in general invataturi care aveau un substrat insinuant. Intai iti insinua mister apoi te plesnea peste fata in dulcele stil comunist cu un "Fii cuminte, taci, nu raspunde inapoi si, pentru Dumnezeu, ia aminte. "

Cand mi se spunea sa stau cuminte in banca sau pe scaun se adauga "cu luare-aminte!". Asa, de efect. Nu inteleg, cum nu intelegeam nici atunci. Trebuia sa patrund misterul conversatiei de masa? Exista ceva ascuns, mistic cu lectia de mate?

In acelasi fel erau descrise faptele unor oameni buni si smeriti, care faceau totul "cu luare-aminte". De la figurile biblice pasive, anumite sfinte care indurau greutati tacit si cuminte, la copiii pe cat de perfecti, pe atat de imaginari, care sufereau aparent de hipo-activitate cronica si deci erau pe gustul parintilor - toti cei supposedly superiori tie "luau aminte".
Mie ambiguitatea acestor cuvinte mi se pare direct legata de presupunerea ca nu exista nici cea mai mica sansa sa intelegi ceea ce se petrece.

Am dat si io, ca tot omu', search pe Google dupa "luare aminte" si mi s-a afisat o pagina de rezultate cu continut religios. O fi fost poate fiindca sugerau de asemenea vechea "crede si nu cerceta"?

Later edit: De ce ma intreb si dezvolt pe tema unor asemenea chestiuni aparent irelevante pentru marile probleme ale societatii? Fiindca mi se pare fascinant felul in care limbajul reflecta valori inradacinate atat de adanc incat probabil nu le-ai constientiza vreodata. Un alt exemplu este cel al sintaxei des utilizate in romana pentru a pune o intrebare - inceperea cu o negatie ("Nu vrei sa iesi in oras?" sau "Nu-i asa ca ma iubesti?"). Dar pe acesta urmeaza sa-l dezolt in alt post.