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Pentti Linkola Essays

Pentti Linkola Essays

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 A Collection of Essays by Pentti Linkola
1993-2006
Introduction
 
 Introduction
 When I write or speak about the important questions in life, when I still try to build dams in theway of a devastating flood, most of my friends and many strangers regard me as a naïve optimist.They think that the game is already over, that the life of the planet is in decline and it's crumblingdown at a rapidly accelerating pace towards the final suffocation, and there's nothing anyone cando about it anymore.But I still argue against them. I know the same things that they do, I know that the end of historyis nigh. Still, I am talking about very high probabilities, not about certainties. It is almost thesame thing, but only almost.Besides, I am also interested in less than those thinkers and observers, who mean "total solution",that is, preserving the life of globe till the distant future. In an emergency, I am satisfied withdelay, postponement (even a slight one) - "extra time for nature", as the late zoologist and friendof nature Olli Järvinen titled his collection of columns. It isn't irrelevant to a human individualwhether he lives to 80 or 81 years old, is it, as he will usually hang onto his extra year or extradays - like all animals do.I see a value in itself even in mere speculation - even if we are just considering and examininghypothetically under what conditions, after what degree of changes the continuation or lengthening of life could be assured.Ultimately, I'm resigned to just look for an explanation of the world for its own sake, without theaim of reform - at least for the time being. I am constructing a report, and I strive, in a way, to bea historian of the last ages, more insightful and accurate than most. I have had to struggle inattempt to split the chaos into fractions, to divide the wide front of human insanity into sectionsfor examination, as I attempt a difficult analysis after an easy synthesis.Although my view is a world-wide one and my area of observation is Europe, the nation closestto my heart is, understandably, my homeland. And it is a fortunate coincidence, fortunate interms of the explanation of the world, that it is this country which is the clearest example of the playground of destructive development in the whole world. Even the ethnologist and explorer,
 
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Kai Donner, stated a long time ago that Finno-Ugric people, of all the peoples, have been themost willing to absorb the influence of western culture, to abandon their own. Faster and moreentirely than any other nation, Finland charges into the most horrid of forms of the marketeconomy, uncritical worship of technology, automation, the vapidity of the media, informationtechnology pervading all functions and forms of human intercourse, and adopting English(American) as a second language, but as the first one in an increasing amount of careers.Amidst all this I'm very quick to note, and catalogue, the good and joyful things in the chaos.These glimmer in this collection of writings as well. They all have a common denominator however, which is that they still exist, I have found no new good that has been brought about by progress. The juxtaposition of good and evil appears at it's finest in my memoirs of Karelia,which I have placed at the beginning of the collection to be a motto of sorts.There is much repetition in these articles, as they were written for different contexts, and there ismuch overlap with the texts of other thinkers, with my earlier works and between the ones in thiscollection too. This is the least of my worries, as repetition is to some extent the mother of learning. How many thousandfold more echoes are in that liturgy which hums and splatters allthe time around us, the liturgy of prophets and their flock praising economic growth,competitiveness, efficiency, and "competence."Sääksmäki 25.4.2004Pentti Linkola
 Karelia
 My father researched the flora of the Laatokka-Karelia region every summer till the years of war,when he met his death. Yet he did not take his son with him to the meadows of Impilahti. I didnot see the Old Karelia before the border was closed. When I behold Karelia in a way sodifferent from those who have experienced personal losses there, that background doesn't explainthe difference, not even in the least. But, let that be mentioned. I surely have as passionatefeelings towards Karelia as the most fanatical of the dreamers about Karelia do.I did make it to the next stage of Karelia, the Soviet-Karelia, where my powerful experiencesstarted. It's a pity that the mass tourism has so devalued the stories of earlier journeys. I'd like toreminisce sometime about the trip to Petroskoi in the 1970's on paper.Through perestroika, it was smoothly morphed from the true Soviet-Karelia into the NewKarelia, the Russian-Karelia. I didn't rush in with the first waves of tourists chauffeured by taxior bus. I listened and felt - the complaining of the Great-Finns, the contrasting praise of thefriends of nature. Only during the last few years have I then sailed, for some weeks, on theLaatokka, and rowed on the Vuoksi. Not yet with the same liberties as elsewhere in Europe, buthalfway so nonetheless.
 
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It then happened that all previous accounts paled into insignificance. There was nothing flawedin their strength and vividness, but the reality of Karelia threw them all overboard. Myexpectations were in the right direction, but were also so fulfilled that they spilt over. I cannotfind sufficiently powerful words needed for the language either, so I'll choose another method. Iwill try to explain the factors that made our eastern border the most amazing in the world: a hellon one side, a paradise on the other.It takes time when one treks from day to day in the overwhelming lushness of the islands and the beaches of Vuoksi, in the thickets of willows, wild maples, groves of birches, aspens and bird-cherries, surrounded by all the wondrous birds that can be found from the groves of NorthernEurope, icterine warblers, golden orioles, long-tailed tits, red-breasted flycatchers and white- backed woodpeckers, and when one listens, mile after mile, to the abundant clamour of thecoastal grass, bitterns, spotted crakes and great reed warblers - it takes time, before one can calmdown as a naturalist to ponder the birth of such an ecosystem.I was aware beforehand, of course, that a grove recovers, renews and grows quicker than theother types of forest. There are now hundreds of square kilometres of areas under study inKarelia, which show that in fifty years, from a scraggy forest full of firewood, a dilapidatedstrand of boats and pastures, grows a virgin grove, which seems to have attained the final balance. It already has mighty fullgrown trees and the number of decaying blocks of wood,stumps, fallen trees and all the heeling angles of leaning trees that a virgin forest could hold - allof which are needed by the thousands of animals, plants and mushrooms in the grove.Green groves, green meadows! Where a Finnish clearing of the same latitude lies bare for half ayear, reduced to a gloomy black soil, Karelia flourishes with its cattle and grasslands, and thelovely laxity and inefficiency of the animal husbandry leaves flowers room to blossom in. Wehave to go back seventy years before the clicking of corncrakes similar to that of the modernmeadows of Karelia can be encountered on this side of the border. How long would we have togo back in the history of Saimaa before we would encounter the same kind of teeming of ringedseals as at Laatokka, where they are splashing around beside every rock?Then what about the presence of people on the Karelian Isthmus? Humanity is the key toeverything; he either controls or lets go. There, I look at humanity as much as I do nature; I'menchanted by both. I'm enchanted by the absence of humanity: no rapist, no villa, no pier, nomotorboat, even though miles pass. But I'm charmed by the presence of human as well, by thoselittle fishermen, grey and silent, in the shade of a willowbush in a riverbend, which I notice onlywhen my boat almost collides with them. I never see a rod even tremble. The calmness is perfect.First and foremost, I was captivated by their villages. They amuse me in a joyful way. How is it

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