1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

The spirit of play is older than culture itself – HOMO LUDENS June 22, 2008

image by axinia 

The most fascinating and profound studies on play I found by the Dutch lingusit and historian Johan Huizinga (1872-1945). He was one of the founders of modern cultural history, started out as a student of Comparative linguistics, gaining a good command of Sanskrit. He wrote his doctoral thesis on the role of the jester in Indian drama. Huizinga had an aesthetic approach to history, where art and spectacle played an important part. His most famous work is The Autumn of the Middle Ages (a.k.a. The Waning of the Middle Ages). interestingly, he reinterprets the later Middle Ages as a period of pessimism and decadence rather than rebirth.

In his book Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play-Element in Culture Huizinga argues that play is one of fundamental drivers of human life, and is at the root of poetry, music, philosophy – even jurisprudence and war. (more…)


The Victory Day or the forgiving power of Russians May 9, 2008

 Фото AFP (© АФП

On May 9 Russia marks the victory over Nazi Germany and the end of World War II with a military parade on Moscow’s Red Square and celebration events all over the country. Victory Day is one of the biggest national holidays and Russians commemorate the 27(!) million victims the Soviet Union suffered in the deadliest conflict in history. Interstingly, most of the Western world is normally not aware of these numbers  – simply because Russian make no fuss about it. The history is the history.
The point I want to make here is that despite the horrible sufferings and the truly huge number of victims, presently Russia and Germany are probably the best friends internationally seen. Apart from the personal friendship beween H.Kohl and B.Eltzin, G.Schröder and V.Putin, the trade turnover figures achieved between Russia and Germany last year were 33 billion dollars, according to Russian estimates. Are there many examples of other countries who had been in such a deadly fight before getting close friends? Unfortunately this is a rare example in the human history if we look at the war map of today… In the international friendship survey 2000 over 60% of Russians speak of their “friendly” attitude to Germans, although almost every family has lost its beloved members in the war. And many of the war generation (like my grandmother) are still there. How could they forget so fast?



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