Kategoria(t): Other thoughts

Back to the Doric Order

Old Layout

I liked the previous layout I had in my blog. Its colours were aesthetically kitteneous. But my interest changes rapidly. For example, I have already found many more interesting research topics than the one of my doctoral thesis. So I decided to change the layout to a simpler one—at least for now.

During the Romantic Era, European intellectuals got fascinated by Ancient Greece. That of course meant the ruins of Magna Graecia in Italy. The simplicity of the Doric order, the oldest of the classical architectural orders, enchanted Johann Wolfgang von Goethe with its primordial beauty.

This view of the beauty of simplicity is often brought up in lists of advices that are given to writers: removing unnecessary words, using concise language, and writing simple sentences often make expression better. I have noticed—like I have stated earlier—that using foreign language helps.

Those who believe in the idea of philosophia perennis often prefer primordial forms of religion and philosophy over the modern ones. When a tradition grows, it usually creates lots of new branches and interpretations—often to the extent that the core is forgotten. Humans begin creating Geist instead of Geist manifesting itself through humans.

In the areas of art, religion, and philosophy it is occasionally necessary to go back ad fontes, so that we remember why those manifestations appeared among the humanity in the first place. Perhaps it has not happened because of lesser understanding and skill of mind, but because of human’s natural sense of beauty, wisdom, and wonder.

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Kategoria(t): Literary thoughts

A Cat Among the Pidgeons

Since 2015, I have written a novel. It would be a part of a larger story that, according to the current plan, consists of five novels. I started to write it in Finnish, obviously, but it has later become clearer that it need to be written in English.

I got this idea when I heard that Finnish author Emmi Itäranta (whose Memory of Water is an excellent book) has written her books in Finnish and English. I thought it would probably be wise to do the same, although it took some time to believe that I could do so. It is not easy to get a book published in Finnish, and even harder it is to get it translated from Finnish. I could remove one obstacle and write it in English.

For the last weeks, alongside doctoral studies, I have edited the latest version of the Finnish script and re-written it in English. As a result, I should have two manuscripts. But the English text seems to be crap. The problem is, obviously, that it is not another script but a translation. Translating is not my cup of virgin blood.

I probably continue with the current method through the first novel because the Finnish script already exists. But with later books, I will try to use English only (as another Finnish author, Hannu Rajaniemi, does). Translating is not significantly easier with one’s own text than with someone else’s — but creating new text in English is not problematic.

I have been convinced by the Internet spirits, that there are significant benefits in writing in a foreign language. The reason for this is something I quote from one of the entries I have read lately. It is about Haruki Murakami:

He had just completed his first kitchen-table novel and found the final result to be lacklustre. As he describes it, his thoughts were simply too complex and when he tried to put them on paper ‘the system crashed.’ For this reason, Murakami chose to rewrite the opening of his novel in English, despite his limited abilities in English composition. But it was precisely the limitations of writing in a foreign language that removed the obstacles he faced trying to write in his native one; unable to pen complex thoughts in English, he discovered that his language became more simplified and free of unnecessary components. He began to find his rhythm and learned that trying to impress in his native tongue by forcing himself to write a beautiful phrase was actually making him a worse writer instead of a better one.

My Finnish text is full of useless words, which makes it hard to translate and also probably unpleasant to read. (But obviously, sometimes overdoing Finnish is intentional.) But if I write a text in English — as I have done with one novella and currently doing with my doctoral thesis papers — the text becomes better. It is easier to dwell in Finnish and go forward in English. It is also easier to express some things in a foreign language for distance reasons.

I may have used some English expressions wrong in this entry. Like the word entry. But I have seen it used this way. Re-creating my novel script in English is anyway the second of my two biggest problems. The second problem is that Dark Matter is cancelled. And that problem is quite significant. It is the best show there have ever been.

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