This quote...

...from Bryan Magee's marvelous book The Philosophy of Shopenhauer I now publish once again: all walks of life there are a few people who are compassionate, or generous, or honest, or intelligent, or wise, or gifted with some special talent. But there are more, far more, that are not. So the world is governed by false values: lip-service is paid to virtue and ability, but self-interest and cynicism rule. Human society is like a stage show in which most people are playing a part, a role, pretending to be someone they are not. But the show is an empty one, because life is fleeting, and for everyone in it the whole thing is soon swept into oblivion by death. The wise man sees all this for what it is, and is not taken in by it, and keeps himself uncontaminated by it.

My friend Niklas made the following comment: "This is a fantastic quote, it says in a few sentences what I feel is true about people. I like people who try to see through the stage show. I try my best to do it myself but sometimes you just get swept away by the shallowness of society. Lip-service is paid constantly. People look at the strongest individual in a group and then they try to emulate and copy that person's winning ways. Often with ridiculous results."

My favourite word

Today, sitting at a café, reading about moral developement while thinking about other things, I found out that my favourite word is "but". I once heard a person saying my memory is good but short. I have used this expression myself a couple of times and have now invented a few other useful "but"-excuses:

My perception is good but selective. (When I do not observe something.)
I understand well but slowly. (When I do not understand something.)
I am determined but flexible. (When I, for some reason, change my mind.)

Anyone who has more examples?

A different time, a different Sweden

My great grandmother, my grandmother and grandfather in a photo from around 1940.
I believe it was taken in the cottage by Vidöstern.

A photo that I just love

Me between the Ring sisters Kerstin and Jennifer in the home of Barbara Young
in Toronto, summer of 2009. Amelie took it.

Many things in life... have to learn twice.
But the second time you learn it faster.
That's the point of all education.

Mikael's half sister Maja...

...with children Jakob (born 2007) and Elin (born 2009).
I recall her being a wonderful person but, sadly, it was 13 years since I met her.

May I present...

...Mikael Larsson, who is
- my first cousin, since his mother is my father's sister;
- my second cousin, since his father is my mother's first cousin;
- my fourth cousin, since our great grandparents Anna and Helge were first cousins.

Anyway, I call him my cousin.

Another one... the genius Gary Larson.

How a family proliferates

Three similarities...

...between family history and philosophy which make me fascinated by both.

1. They are both ways to understand yourself  - by trying to understand others and analyzing your views respectively;

2. They both have room for speculation - when filling in the gaps between family facts and finding the best idea about the not-yet-explanned respectively;

3. Neither of them are bound to the here and now, because they investigate something never changing - the past and the truth respectively.

(I guess there are more similarities but those are the first ones that come to my mind.)

This photo...

...from the 80's features Gösta and AnnStin Wennberg, their daughter Ingrid - who was called Ecke when she was a child, still by my parents - and her daughter Kerstin. (It's my family historical guess, and hope, that she was named after Kerstin Lindman.)

This is Lydia's parents...

...with little Ellen on Olof's lap. (Well, to be honest: The little girl being Ellen is a typical, qualified family-historical guess. Apart from Ellen and Lydia, they had another child in the US who died in an early age, but I recall him/her being born after Ellen. As I will stress in my book, if I write it, family history is  - and perhaps must be - based upon many such guesses.)

An important birthday for all of us

150 years ago, August 2 in 1860, the third child Lydia Wilhelmina was born of Olof and Mathilda Andrén in Moline, Illinois, USA. Only a month old she came to Sweden, where she was to live in 76 years, raise five daughters and thereby become a foremother of (today) about 90 people.

When I was 20 years old I read Gösta Wennberg's essay about his grandmother for the first time. I found it quite interesting but I guess I was a little bit too young, and busy with my own concerns, to really appreciate it. As a 35- year-old I read it once again, this time much more thoroughly, and became fascinated by this complicated, narrow-minded, yet colorful woman.  

Gösta's essay is based upon entries from Lydia's well-written diaries (thank God that she kept them). My own thought was that "this is the perfect basis for a novel". By this I meant: For someone already good at writing fiction, this would be a chance to write a novel with an almost true story, composed by themes as love, loss, misunderstanding, loneliness and dialogue with God. Myself I'm a good writer but not a novelist. I still have hope that I will find the right person to do it, either by him/herself or in cooperation with me.

If I write a book myself, it will be my personal story of our family. As you maybe know I already have a working title: I Lydias fotspår. En resa genom 150 år. (In Lydia's Footsteps. A Journey through 150 Years.) As soon as I'm done with my thesis in ethics, which I'm right know working with, I'm planning to get serious about the book. And who knows what will come out of it.

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