I think people should be nice to each other

About Me

I never had a difficult life. Second of six brothers and sisters, I grew up in Luleå, Sweden, 70 miles south of the Arctic Circle. My father was consultant physician at the town hospital, I suppose that counts as upper middle class; in Luleå maybe the upperest class in town. After school I worked with computers until retirement.

I don't know how old I was when I learned to read but it was pretty early. My parents subscribed to a daily newspaper and I wanted my mother to read the comics to me. Especially one about Danny, a trapper in North America; I still remember him sitting in front of a camp fire with some friends and wrestling a bear (not at the same time). At first my mother did as asked, but she soon got tired and told me I would have to learn to read. So I did. My mother has told me I would come up to her and ask "What letter is this", she would tell me and I would go away and continue my reading. Seems like an impractical way to learn, one letter at a time. I suppose that at first I was taught to read comics with only upper case letters, then when I began reading books I got into trouble with some lower case. Some years later, my favorite reading was the books about Biggles the flying ace. After that the Swedish author Stig Dagerman and I knew I would never write that well.

In primary school, I heard about how God in the beginning created heaven and earth and so forth. Like most children I wondered about the world so I was interested, believing in the stories the same way as I later believed in history. When I heard about other religions, I was very surprised; I could not understand why they were telling us those fairy tales and I immediately lost my belief. When I started with physics I got a much more satisfactory description of the world (although I never understood what people got against hidden variables). I even managed a B.Sc. (Fil. Kand.) in physics. Had I not skirted homework, maybe I had made something better.

I was young when I first thought about writing but it took many years before I did something about it. I even wrote some poems. I find these almost impossible to translate but one sounds almost passable:

An unhappy young man from Vancouver
is distressed with his rampaging rover
His wife found it wrong,
too thin and too long,
so she simply just folded it over.

And I wrote Jag och Marx (Me and Marx, homage to Groucho Marx Groucho and Me), mostly about my pet peeve Karl Marx. Jag och Marx was published in 1984 by "Författares Bokmaskin" at my expense. It was a number of comments on various subjects; by far most extensive was an inquiry into Marx and Marxism.
The business idea was that with Marx's Capital so well known, people should be interested in a short version. They were not. Not that I blame them; for example my version was still too much Marx.
As nobody was interested, I let the book alone for several years. This site is an elaboration. Some material has been deleted and some added; some have been subjected to major revisions, with equations removed or simplified and the arguments elucidated and augmented. The posts on the subprime crisis are new.

I'm not always happy with what I write. I get stuck and I let it stand because I cannot find a better way to say it; if I'm lucky, I later find a better way and I change it. Still, there are some sentences I am quite happy with; my strength is more in the aphorism than in the epic. Although I like Stig Dagerman, both as a writer and as a person, I wouldn't write like him even if I could. Too many images. He worries too much. Maybe more like Mickey Spillane. The beginning of One Lonely Night is some incredible writing. Another favorite is The Secret Life of Salvador Dali by Salvador Dali, with the world's best intro ever: "At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since". I even thought of stealing it for my own introduction. Something like: At the age of eleven I wanted to be a physicist. At twelve I wanted to be Salvador Dali. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since. But I found it a bit contrived.

I never was a rebel; it's too much "Look Ma, I'm a rebel". I just did it my own way. Considering what I write about, there might be people insisting on giving it a political interpretation. So I might as well tell you where I stand:
My political belief is that I believe people should be nice to each other. As I don't like telling people what to do, I suppose I expect them to read my mind and act accordingly. Or at least they should read my blog. Besides this, I would call myself apolitical. If you ask me why you should be nice to others, I can only say: because I think so. But is it enough that I think so? Yes. I think so.

Although I think people should be nice to each other, I am not fanatical about it. It makes me angry when I read about some habitual criminal being repeatedly arrested and then released after some hours or days, just to continue as usual. It makes me think the police is too nice. Maybe locking a criminal up for some time is bad. It's better than doing nothing. You can feel sorry for people. If you want a society without robbery, you can't let them walk around robbing others because you feel sorry for them.

Although I was the right age, I never was into that Vietnam thing. I wasn't too happy about the makings of the Americans but two things kept me back: I never liked people like Communists or Nazis. And I never liked people who thought screaming slogans was a way to discuss. I never had any problem with Joan Baez. She is no communist. She doesn't scream, she is reasoning. And she is doing it well, she is intelligent. Besides, she has an incredible voice, she is kind, she is beautiful; sometimes she's even fun. Not that I'm sure she'd always agree with me.

My disposition is laid back middle class; like everybody who likes the Moomins, I have deeply felt bourgeois values. Sometimes when I read what I write, I think I may have a mean streak. A little baiting can be fun; still I'd say I'm a pretty nice guy, I hope people won't take me too seriously. When I sin, it is more not doing what I should than doing what I shouldn't, it's mostly sins of omission. Not that those are always the smallest.

I write about things I find interesting and I think others ought to be interested too. Everything I write, I write as a western bourgeois male. I have western bourgeois values. I do not believe this is why I dislike mass murder and oppression. I dislike it: Western, Communist, Nazist, Islamist, you name it; no matter where, no matter who, I'm against it. I do not believe that these my values are exclusively western. I believe they are common, shared by many. Unfortunately not by all.

English is not my native language, still I hope my writings will be intelligible. Should there be any inadvertencies I can only hope that you, dear reader, will be as forgiving as I am myself.
Only joking. I want my words to be clear, concise and correct; should there be any inadvertencies they should be deliberate. Unfortunately, I also have an unfortunate predilection for bad jokes (and for long words). It is difficult for me to know if my "jokes" are funny or if they are just irritating. Still, writing is no fun if you have to be serious all the time.

© Anders Floderus