More than anything, my mind is preoccupied with “the ontological status of…the mind“.., so it was with some reluctance I agreed to leaving my study-chamber in favour of a cycling-tour in Sweden, but then what is better than spending time with your closest family and friends.. , i.e. enjoying life..
As I’ve said in ABOUT , I keep getting “caught up” in worldly affairs,- work, finance, family-life, politics, and it is somewhat of a dilemma for me.. – I’ve tried solving this “dilemma” with a double life-strategy of “doing what I gotta do“, nothing more, nothing less on the one hand, and tending to what some call “spiritual matters” whenever worldly affairs allow me..
People who know me well would say, no doubt, that I am a lazy bum with a strong inclination towards metaphysical ponderings, whereas my enthusiasm towards life’s “duties” is not quite the same..
It was with some reluctance then, that I started riding..
I was “challenged” recently to say something about the concept of “no self” and how society would be improved.. , provided all people believed in the “no self”.. , – and I’d been pondering this question intensely for days. Not only that, – it was what Faucault termed the “empirico-transcendental doublet of modern thought”, which, in the words of the philosopher Kant, “mocks and torments even the wisest of men“, that caused me to drop out of University, when I was struggling with an essay on “The problem of the Self”.
My friends “challenge”, therefore, was like receiving a wake-up call..
Our cycling tour was in the peninsula of Kullaberg, and I recalled reading about the land of “Ladonia”, declared an independent state in 1996 by Swedish artist Lars Vilks, infamous for his drawing of Mo’ as a roundabout-dog:
.. for which he is on the Al Qaeda death-list, and a bounty of 100.000 $ has been put on his sinful and blasphemous head !
It turned out, that Ladonia was very close to our camping-ground, so of course we went on the 30-min.-walk in the Kullaberg Nature Reserve.
Actually, I thought the place would be deserted and that very few knew about it, so I was surprised to see it had become a very attractive tourist-spot.. , a fact that may well be the reason why the Swedish authorities seem to be turning a blind eye…
The “sculptures” of “Nimis” and “Arx” have been declared illegal, as they are built in a Nature Reserve, and the Ladonian national sculpture “Omfalos” has already been removed. Before that, “Omfalos” had actually been sold, and the owner has offered it to Stockholm’s “Moderna Museet” – “Museum of Modern Art”.
It was a most enjoyable walk, and we also had great fun in Ladonia.
The path begins at a preserved farmhouse, where there is a café and a nice garden, and it appeared as if the majority of customers were visitors to Ladonia.. , – which had me thinking..: What was the relationship of the café-owner and Lars Vilks ?..
I decided to ask one of the old ladies in the café.. : What year did the café open ? – Around 1970 I was told, so it was there already when Vilks started building “Nimis” – (Lat.: “too much“) – around 1980. – I then asked her, if Vilks had anything to do with the café, and did she know how the idea was initially conceived by Vilks ?
My questions caused her to take two steps away from me, while stating emphatically, that “No-no-no, – we have absolutely NOTHING to do with Vilks, and you will have to ask himself about that” !
I realized it was end of conversation, and joining my fellow-travellers, I told them the café-lady was one unfriendly old bitch..
I couldn’t get this intermezzo out of my mind though.. – I mean, – sometimes we are very quick to judge someone, so I was asking myself: What exactly was behind her negative attitude..
The next day all six of us visited a local church to see some Medieval Wall Paintings, – rather boring if you ask me, so while the others listened eagerly to two older ladies, who were delighted to have “customers”, I waited for an opportunity to sneak out..
However, – I suddenly found myself talking to one of the ladies, or rather, she was talking to me, pointing to this painting and that painting, and polite as I am (…) I did my best to pretend I was interested.. – Apparently it dawned on her, that I wasn’t really, and she then inquired about what else we were up to..
A split second a long line of thought went trough my head: Should I mention Lars Vilks and our visit to Ladonia.. , – I mean, two decent ladies in a church, most likely religious ladies, and Swedish at that, known for their condemnation of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.. , – would they too not take two steps away from me, as did the lady in the café, as soon as I would utter the name Lars Vilks..
Oh.. what the h… I thought, am I really about to become a “victim” of self-censorship, which I despise so much.. – Hell no ! – So I happily told the lady what a nice and exiting time we had in Ladonia.. , and to my GREAT surprise, the church lady lit up notably on hearing the name Lars Vilks. LARS VILKS ! – she exclaimed, and now the second lady came over too, – “what do you think about him” ?
The whole scene had been turned upside down, as I was now chatting happily with both ladies, while the other five were waiting and ready to go.. – Basically, I told them I had nothing negative whatsoever to say about him, – that I supported freedom of speech 100 percent, and that I thought it was very depressing that Scandinavians were now attacked by Islamist no-brains even at our best Universities, as happened to Lars Vilks.
I realized both ladies were completely on my side and delighted to talk about these matters.. , – they also seemed very proud of Lars Vilks as a local, very unlike the café-lady. I don’t mean to entertain you with everything they said, but they told me of two new drawings, that Vilks had donated to.. – didn’t catch who.. – one drawing was called “Dog without Roundabout” and the other “Roundabout without Dog“, – a rather sophisticated “joke” if you ask me..
With these reactions, contrary to what I’d expected, in mind, I cautioned myself to be less arrogant and not act with prejudice, i.e. condemning people without knowing more about their “real” motives and background..
By the same token, in the case of the two church-ladies, this meant I should not necessarily count them in the ranks of defenders of freedom of speech.. – They were sweet and very friendly alright, but I am also aware of how people of a religious bent, very much including the clergy itself, are divided into two distinct camps: Those who condemn “blasphemy” and “insult” against any religion, – the “I-am-good-you-are-a-racist“, and those who believe themselves to be defenders of good against evil, – (think of proponents yourself.. , – shouldn’t be too hard.. !)
I left the ladies then, with a very good impression and a smile on my face, but at the end of the day, I didn’t know their real motives, and the same was true in the case of the café-lady..
That same evening, while we were having dinner at a restaurant and happily chatting about all and nothing, I had the biggest surprise of all, as none other than Lars Vilks himself suddenly came walking by, surrounded by two mean looking body-guards ! – I decided it was an opportunity not to be missed, so I approached them carefully and asked politely, if I could ask him a couple of question..
Now, – Vilks is a very kind man, and he patiently told me, that he had no special reason for starting his work on “Nimis”, which now consists of 160.000 pieces of (drift)wood. He also told me, that the hostility I felt from the café-lady was due to the fact, that the landowner, with whom Vilks has an ongoing court-case, is also the owner of the café..
After talking to Vilks, I decided to find out more, and I have now learned, amongst many other interesting things, that Ladonia, according to Vilks himself, is ” a meeting ground between theory and practice“..
Should you wish to become a (virtual) citizen of Ladonia, you can apply here . Ladonia of course has a website. Many interesting personalities have visited Ladonia, not only virtually, but physically: Walking into Ladonia
If there is any morale to this story, it must be that there is no clear distinction between “worldly affairs” and “spiritual matters”. Also, be critical of your own prejudices.. – Above all, perhaps: talk to people, relate..
Communicamus, – ergo sum..