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Thread: what is Janteloven : is it true that rich Scandinavians are really frowned upon?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Fascinating...I've had people tell me their parents told them similar things, but I never knew the source.

    So, is it a still prevalent mind set?

    And if it is, what then motivates a person to go to university for an advanced degree, or write a concerto, or even risk some capital to start a business. I've always thought ambitions like that are driven to some extent by a sense of exceptionalism, or the desire to be exceptional.
    University is Scandinavia is free, and, at least in Denmark (not sure for Norway and Sweden) students even get paid while attending university. The whole affair is much more informal than in the US, and is seen mostly as an indispensable step in one's life to party and have a good time. In spit of that, only 36% of Danes graduated from university, 6% less than in the US, UK or Australia 12% less than Japan, and 18% less than in Canada or Russia. Scandinavian culture is so egalitarian that CEO's and top managers aren't paid very much more than regular employees. Danish MPs earn only 1.8 times the average national earnings, a sharp contrast to Italian MPs who earn 5.3 times the national average.

    I have noticed that many young Danes aren't very ambitious and will gladly settle for an ordinary job without going to university. That is partly because the social welfare and redistribution are so good, and they know the government will provide excellent healthcare, child care, education, infrastructure, and so on. Scandinavians in general prefer not to stand out socially. Everybody is considered equal whatever their education and salary. In sports clubs or hobbies associations (Scandinavians like clubs as much as the Brits) you will see CEOs and academics socialising with builders and cleaners. The big difference with the UK is that social classes don't matter in Scandinavia. The Brits have their courtesy, feigned modesty, politeness and hypocrisy to help them socialise with people of other social classes. Scandinavians don't need that. They can talk informally and bluntly with anyone, even with their Prime Ministers, as if they were all old school friends (well I exaggerate maybe a bit, you you get the gist of it). In such an environment it is not surprising that individual achievements aren't valued.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHorsto View Post
    I also think that collectivism-individualism is highly debatable.
    Regarding Italy, I referred to the individualism-collectivism scores from Maciamo's map, which is based on a study from Hofstede. He also regarded Scandinavia to be above average individualistic.
    Scandinavians are relatively collectivist when it comes to the economy, government/politics, and even upholding traditions, but they can be very individualistic when it comes to their free time, their hobbies, the way they dress, their opinions, personal relationships, and their behaviour in general. More Scandinavians live by themselves than in practically any other country. Like the Brits they are not very socially minded and prefer to retreat to the comfort and privacy of their home. When travelling, the Brits, Dutch and Scandinavians are also the most individualistic people on Earth. It is common for young people of university age to backpack on their own around the world, even for women, while Southern Europeans and even Americans usually prefer to travel in group and stick with people of their own nationality when abroad.

    That's why overall Scandinavians get a mixed score for individualism and collectivism. British people are more individualistic as British society is not so much ruled by rights and duties as a general sense of fair play, courtesy and privacy. In Britain you can do whatever you want, be as eccentric as you want, as long as you remain fair and polite to others and don't encroach on their privacy. There is no unwritten rule that people should be equal like in Scandinavia, quite the contrary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    I would say that Rights and Duties are the final manifestation of basic character of a group. When for the organization and better consolidation of a group the contracts and laws are established and protected. However everything starts with basic character of individual people, and I have a hunch it is very closely related to our evolutionary past, to the ways of our ancestors, as genetic and cultural inheritance. Where natural/instinctive way of behaviour comes from genetics, and being reinforced by customs and culture. Rights and Duties being the custom part.
    I believe that instinctive/genetic character of individual people is the strongest factor and given long enough time it will overwrite "foreign" or forced elements and revert to their natural way. But this might be left for another discussion.
    I agree with this part.

    In short, in largely generalized terms, the Hunter-Gatherer's ways are more collective. They hunt together, they gather together, they dance around fire together, etc. Individual is only successful when the whole group is successful and survives.
    The farmer's way is more individualistic, due to fields being a private property and worked individually by one family. Also, families are run by one man in patriarchal farming societies, and his individualistic decision can make or break family, but not the whole village. Economic-survival side of village is very individualistic, everybody works for themselves and their close family. Village comes second. Another important fact is that groups of farmers are 10 fold more populous than HGs, therefore death of few unsuccessful folks doesn't affect survival of the whole group, as in HGs groups. Other words, the farmers could afford to be more selfish and individualistic, not affecting the survival of the whole group much.

    According to this train of thoughts, Norther Europe with higher West Hunter Gatherer and Ancient North Eurasian admixtures, should be more collective in character.
    Southern Europe being mainly Early European Farmers should be more individualistic.
    There is some logic in your argument that HG must be collectivists to survive, while farmers can afford to be more individualists. Yet, we observe the exact opposite in terms of ancestry.

    Southern Europeans, who have more Neolithic farmer ancestry, are the most collectivist-minded. They place a lot of importance of family and social relationships. They live in close-knit communities where people know each others, gossip a lot and privacy is limited. They have strong cultural rules about how people should cook, eat, dress or behave, and so on. When travelling abroad they usually do it in group with family, friends, or at least other people from their country. When they emigrate abroad, they like to stick with people from their country or region of origin. In southern Europe it is hard to exist without being part of the community. You can't live an anonymous life completely independent of your neighbours and family as you would in English-speaking countries, or even in the Netherlands or Scandinavia.

    East Asians, who are also descended from Neolithic farmers (except the Japanese who have about of third of DNA from Jomon HG), are extremely collectivistic. They cannot imagine their existence outside of the group, and groups exist on several levels, be it the family, one's company or society in general. Traditionally, the worst punishment for a crime in Japan or China was not death penalty but banishment. For many centuries in Japan, people who left the country to travel or trade abroad were not allowed to come back. Even today, Japanese people who have lived abroad for many years (or even worse grown up abroad) may not be considered true Japanese any more and won't be accepted by other Japanese as true members of "The Group". They become outsiders by adopting elements of foreign culture or mindset. For this reason, Japanese companies like Toyota have a policy to send expats to branch offices around the world for maximum 3 years, so that their minds won't be corrupted by foreign culture. They also prefer to send married couples rather than sending single men, as the latter could get a foreign girlfriend and become more easily corrupted, which would make his return to Japan very difficult.

    I believe that the reason why farmer-derived societies are more collectivistic is that farmers could maintain larger populations and were the ones who established the first villages, towns, then cities. Farmers developed better social skills and the sense of belonging to a larger community than one's family. If people in the most populous country in the world can still feel like they belong to a unified group (China) and they are often still willing to put their country/group's interest ahead of their own personal interests, and adhere strictly to the societal rules, then it means that there is no real limit on the size of a collectivist society. The reason Southern Europeans care more about their province or region than their country is that the local geography (mountains and seas) has secluded groups from one another for millennia and led to the development of a multitude of minor states, which were only unified by foreigners. In contrast, China remained united through most of its history, and the only real historico-cultural cleavage is between north and south - but even so it appears less sharp then between northern and southern Italy.

    Then we shouldn't forget that for many millennia after the onset of agriculture, Neolithic farmers also lived from hunting game and gathering. They did not exclusively survive from farming, as it was too seasonal and too unreliable in its primitive state - notably before the invention of irrigation, which didn't become widespread in the Mediterranean and the Middle East until 3000 to 2500 years ago, during the Iron Age. It's also the time when chickens arrived from East Asia, which provided a cheap source of meat for most of the population, and the added daily proteins from eggs. Irrigated fields and chickens made the classical ancient civilisations more reliant on agriculture and less on hunting, which might have freed up men from hunting and allowed rulers to build vast armies.

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    Very interesting, Maciamo.

    From what I learned about Southern Europe: SE collectivism/conformism comes mostly from the family. Then, most societal norms are merely derivatives of family norms, thus much less sanctioned by society than by family. If I got it right norms in SE focus on honor, heritage, family, sexuality, pride, sticking out by status. These norms are often conflicting with norms of bigger groups's, like state, city. These norms also discourage too close ties between unrelated families ("we are better than them").
    My impression is that North Europeans are much more open to socialize with foreign people or families, provided they are of similar age and culture. In their childhood, they more often distance themselves openly from their parents in order to gain status among peers. This complies with Jantelagen. I might be wrong, but South European would certainly not be proud of distancing themselves from their parents in favour of others.

    But there are huge differences within SE. My impression of northern Italy was of a very individualistic country, more than Germany and especially Denmark. Everyone cared for himself and was not interested in other peoples behavior, habits, style etc. That being said, I'm convinced that population density is the most important factor in Europe with regards to collectivism. North Italy is densely populated. I didn't spend time in italian villages.

    My impression is that Japanese society, which I never experienced, has both, harsh sanctions against unfit individuals (duty) and at the same time each individual intrinsically thrives to comply with societal norms (sense of duty). Or is the latter merely an implication of sanctions?. In any case is this conformism. Is japanese collectivism actually conformism? Is collectivism and conformism the same? I don't know.

    I see more similarities between north Europe and Japan, rather than south Europe and Japan, despite the freedom for different life style in NE. For instance the Hikikomori phenomenon is typically japanese, and it is not absent in northern europe, but I can not imagine Hikikomoris in Southern Europe. Also Jantelagen is a similar sanctioning mechanism as in Japan, but I'm not aware of anything remotely similar in Southern Europe. I suspect Hikikomori is not a sign of individualism but rather a result of excessive collectivism.

    This is all very confusing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElHorsto View Post
    My impression is that North Europeans are much more open to socialize with foreign people or families, provided they are of similar age and culture. In their childhood, they more often distance themselves openly from their parents in order to gain status among peers. This complies with Jantelagen. I might be wrong, but South European would certainly not be proud of distancing themselves from their parents in favour of others.
    I agree that North Europeans do socialise more easily with outsiders and are less bound to their own family or even ethnicity. That's exactly what is meant by individualism. The focus is on individuals and when it comes to socialising it doesn't really matter what family, country or ethnic group others come from. That's what enabled English-speaking countries to become so multicultural and multi-ethnic. The Romans were a bit like that too, but modern Italians have lost that facet of individualism.

    But there are huge differences within SE. My impression of northern Italy was of a very individualistic country, more than Germany and especially Denmark. Everyone cared for himself and was not interested in other peoples behavior, habits, style etc. That being said, I'm convinced that population density is the most important factor in Europe with regards to collectivism. North Italy is densely populated. I didn't spend time in italian villages.
    Northern Italy is more Central European than Southern European in term ethnicity (about half Celto-Germanic and half Near Eastern) and that is reflected in their behaviour. South Italians may be typical collectivists, bit North Italians are quite individualistic in comparison. In fact I have noticed that individualism correlates fairly well with the percentage of R1b (meaning also that it is more of a Celtic trait than a Germanic one, as Celts have far more R1b). Dutch and English people, for instance, are far more individualistic than German, Swiss, Austrian and Scandinavian people, and what differentiate them within the Germanic family is their higher percentage of R1b. The same observation works between North and South Italy. The Irish and the Scots are extreme individualists, more so than the English, and they have the highest percentage of R1b. Even in Spain the Catalans tend to be more individualists than the rest of the country, as suggested by their greater level of entrepreneurship.


    My impression is that Japanese society, which I never experienced, has both, harsh sanctions against unfit individuals (duty) and at the same time each individual intrinsically thrives to comply with societal norms (sense of duty). Or is the latter merely an implication of sanctions?. In any case is this conformism. Is japanese collectivism actually conformism? Is collectivism and conformism the same? I don't know.
    Conformism is one aspect of collectivism.

    I see more similarities between north Europe and Japan, rather than south Europe and Japan, despite the freedom for different life style in NE. For instance the Hikikomori phenomenon is typically japanese, and it is not absent in northern europe, but I can not imagine Hikikomoris in Southern Europe. Also Jantelagen is a similar sanctioning mechanism as in Japan, but I'm not aware of anything remotely similar in Southern Europe. I suspect Hikikomori is not a sign of individualism but rather a result of excessive collectivism.
    I believe that a lot of hikikomori actually suffer from mild autism or Asperger's. That may have nothing to do with culture itself.
    Last edited by Maciamo; 16-09-16 at 17:18.

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    Maybe both tensions -Collective/Individual- well appeared at all the basic social units, let that be: Family, Village, Town, City, State, etc., in all time, all the ages of human evolution.

    It looks, that at a very primitive stage, a deep knowledge/perception inside us, that we been borned and die alone, allready indicates a "fate" or determination of a special individual of a special moment, which derifies us, one from another, the example of the twins fight inside their mother's belly for the best place, is enough to recognize that from very early we have the sense of "our's" individuality.
    But ...
    As said of evolution what really interest -us:the questioners-, actually is When we coexisted as members/atoms to a greater social unit.
    Isn't that time, that our History beguns...? That day we first communicate, let that to say intellect and the perceivement of the common symbols, the sounds, words writtened or not;
    -Isn't that an upgrade, which homogenize all that special individuals into a common enviroment, (family,city,state) a human; creation into the physical enviroment, most of the times hostile against for the human interests/comforts and will?
    At that time I'll take in use the Extended phenotype it is usefull for the understanding of the debated issue.
    (kindly provided from @Maciamo in a recent thread)
    I will also mind Jungian's archetypes & the collective unconsious (successfully applied from @Angela to a recent thread)


    From my perspective the human evolution stands mostly in favor for the collectivism behaviour, firstly as a part of later development of communication and secondly the deeper perception of a greater physical/spiritual enviroment.
    It looks that we are programed to commonize as also to derify, to not just build also to destroy, but Architects is not just to build, architecture is the reflects of the needs and the perception of the enviroment, is also an updated spiritual reflection of our space, it looks that it take more than ones experiance to create, and more than one... for succesfully living. I use the paradigm of architecture because is the finest indication for our economy, politics, ethics and in general a total cosmotheory at it's present time.
    Is it Aristotle at Politics mentions us: that man is a political creature/animal.
    The reptiles are also animals but without any political intentions! I suppose that ''I am here'' to "mate/not to mate" are enough for their living, something not enough for the mummals which repeatedly embrace their unigue codified communication expressing more complicated feelings.
    Allthough the later mentality development looks for the collectivism, that dont suggest that I undermind the contribution of individualism to human exelixis/evolution/progress, but that I would address that it is inherited from a very deep past.
    Generally I would said that humanity, -Excuse my metaphor- is in a boat which:
    "Usually get aboard in tact, But untact abandon it."
    so meaning to say is that there are times and times which reguires different responses and other needs.


    My undrestanding for the issue is that we having both -in all ages-, the two mentality tensions, the one looks the primordial/previous while the other is the most recent development of human self consious.
    There is no age of human history without both tensions, briefly I would said that Individualism represent all these regeneration forces ,the power of creation from -rhetorically- zero. It could well also signifies the turbulent times of history with a big need for something to be change. Innovation but deconstruction also, let it that say so, it well represent the spirit of dispute and dubious interpretations of the establishment and that would be as an Axial period to prepare possibly or ignite I would said, a new Age commonly.
    While on the other hand all the foundations of the civilizations we know that well stand under the influence of collegiality spirit, preserving the tradition, not to just innovate but getting deep comprehension into the each subject, a good example of it is the thousand of years after Plato's death and the avocation upon the deep study of his work from Roman/Byzantines scholars, while probably at the days of Plato to enjoy his company would be rather "expensive'' or better with high risk if not dangerous.


    Today without doubt Individualism is the dominion idea. I think it signifies the need for changes and other forms of sociality, it is not kinship which we bonded by blood, but an affiliation for the same interests. Allthough both ideas ind./col. their prime attempt is to convince for it's efficiency, but it is time and it's challenges which decides.


    I think also both they are parallel syndrom pheanomena, rather than a conseguential autonomous symptoma.
    An example: The archetype of the homerical hero, -"I can and I do"- in contrast with the phallanx hoplite of 500 B.C.E. which the key phrase would be something like: -"Stand by me", there are in a total different behaviour, allthough they recorded as greek soldiers


    Anyway it is a deep subject, nevertheless intriguing.
    I agree with @Maciamo perspective about south Europeans, but i cannot support the discussion for the genetic influence of the subject hence I have not deep studies for the matter, thence i believe that spirit is more penetrable than sperm, anyway.
    Thanks for your opinions it was a nice saturday evening gentlemen discussion.


    p.s The one, with extended phenotype would also contributes to an also recent discussion -for why human less their hair-!
    (Did we enough shocked from the above and getting bald now!)





















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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post

    There is some logic in your argument that HG must be collectivists to survive, while farmers can afford to be more individualists. Yet, we observe the exact opposite in terms of ancestry.
    I think the picture is mixed, and I have to admit that I can't find total sense in this issue.


    Southern Europeans, who have more Neolithic farmer ancestry, are the most collectivist-minded. They place a lot of importance of family and social relationships.
    Actually, we have to look at family as (single individual case). Family used to be run by strong father, and now mothers are holding it together, with their hearts and home cooking. There is also infamous example of Mafia from Sicily. Sort of extended family run by dictatorial one man. Family matters, but the city or country exists only to take benefits from.
    So, on one hand we have small but strong social structure, the family. On other hand it is run as hegemony, not by collective.


    They live in close-knit communities where people know each others, gossip a lot and privacy is limited. They have strong cultural rules about how people should cook, eat, dress or behave, and so on.
    Yes, they are more traditional and very aware of current fashion and trends. This is a strong collective function.


    When travelling abroad they usually do it in group with family, friends, or at least other people from their country. When they emigrate abroad, they like to stick with people from their country or region of origin. In southern Europe it is hard to exist without being part of the community. You can't live an anonymous life completely independent of your neighbours and family as you would in English-speaking countries, or even in the Netherlands or Scandinavia.
    Yes, but on other hand it is easier for Northern Europeans to, as you mentioned before, to mingle with people of the whole world. North seems to be more organized and economically stable than south of Europe. Aren't these collective qualities?

    East Asians, who are also descended from Neolithic farmers (except the Japanese who have about of third of DNA from Jomon HG), are extremely collectivistic. They cannot imagine their existence outside of the group, and groups exist on several levels, be it the family, one's company or society in general. Traditionally, the worst punishment for a crime in Japan or China was not death penalty but banishment. For many centuries in Japan, people who left the country to travel or trade abroad were not allowed to come back. Even today, Japanese people who have lived abroad for many years (or even worse grown up abroad) may not be considered true Japanese any more and won't be accepted by other Japanese as true members of "The Group". They become outsiders by adopting elements of foreign culture or mindset. For this reason, Japanese companies like Toyota have a policy to send expats to branch offices around the world for maximum 3 years, so that their minds won't be corrupted by foreign culture. They also prefer to send married couples rather than sending single men, as the latter could get a foreign girlfriend and become more easily corrupted, which would make his return to Japan very difficult.
    I wouldn't call it collective but rather feudal and conservative controlling. It looks collective, but not more than German Nazi or Soviet Communist forced collective behaviour.

    I believe that the reason why farmer-derived societies are more collectivistic is that farmers could maintain larger populations and were the ones who established the first villages, towns, then cities. Farmers developed better social skills and the sense of belonging to a larger community than one's family. If people in the most populous country in the world can still feel like they belong to a unified group (China) and they are often still willing to put their country/group's interest ahead of their own personal interests, and adhere strictly to the societal rules, then it means that there is no real limit on the size of a collectivist society. The reason Southern Europeans care more about their province or region than their country is that the local geography (mountains and seas) has secluded groups from one another for millennia and led to the development of a multitude of minor states, which were only unified by foreigners. In contrast, China remained united through most of its history, and the only real historico-cultural cleavage is between north and south - but even so it appears less sharp then between northern and southern Italy.
    It reminds me of a good example of social behaviour. People from northern Europe are more quiet and noninvasive, from south are more expressive and invasive, in social contexts. Which traits would you call are more beneficial for harmonious society?

    I'm still looking for explanation that fits all. I might need to go to Sardinia to observe true genetic farmers, lol. Other fly in the ointment might be that various HG groups could have had various social characteristics. Natufians, already in bigger groups, could have been more social than lonely and frozen smaller groups of EHG of the North.
    Be wary of people who tend to glorify the past, underestimate the present, and demonize the future.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ΠΑΝΑΞ View Post
    i believe that spirit is more penetrable than sperm,
    I love to believe in it, hence human character was always more attractive to me than human body. However, how can we explain that all of new year resolutions, promises of self-improvements and our glorious plans are never accomplished?
    Isn't it the fact that our genetic body is stronger than our free will, stronger than our spirit. Can we say that we are slaves of our genetics?

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    @Lebrok
    If I understand well,... I also tend to agree that there is a form of "power" which decide for us, as also believe that there are some "qualities" that derifies, as to unites "us". These "qualities" are visible (physical characteristics) but also and a non visible (psychological state). I dont know if these qualities are genes or expressed by some genes.
    but is still too deterministic for me.
    I have no certainty, I am not an expert neither a specialist or so skilled. I wish not to be particullar but also not to over generalize but under the power/rule of Need and Circumstances, (the place Forum, the keyboard, the language, etc). I will be briefly and synoptical for all that my eyes have saw and what my mind digest it. -My brother.

    when I said:
    "spirit is more penetrable than sperm"
    I ment that the "invisible" is greater than the "visible", to name it for the discussion -"Causes".
    Admitting the unabillity of our senses (sciences) to clear our guestions, in total and absolut terms, it looks that we have to make also an "hyperational" jump for a deep understanding for the chicken/egg pseudo-dileema. Words are the most elegant creation/construction but we cannot rely them in big trust, for example:
    -Why we are talking about "Big Bang" while there wasn't any ear to hear it?
    -How to name the period before the Big-Bang ?


    (my thesis)
    On. - A table!
    There are four legs for the table to stand stable!
    Allthough we know there are four same in size legs, there is no position to stand viewing the table and support the information that all legs are same in size, we know that from not what we see but what we... Believe what a table is. Even if it is about a table theory, it well apply to the question of Universe while there are -some;- four major elements/factors almost like the legs of a table, 'same in "size", value and contribution for the absolut system to run.
    So.
    The evolution of the biological phaenomena of the incident we commonly address as "Life"- in human scale, in all our appreciations and measures, requires:
    Good "Genes", good "Field", good "Time" and...good "Luck"!


    The factor "Luck" is the most intriguing because describes in general form the Human standard/scale of relatively ignorance of Causality or just the deep unconcious knowledge of Randomness.


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    Watch you dont break my table...

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    It's the 'Jante's law' (loven = law) 😀

    The ten rules state:

    You're not to think you are anything special.

    You're not to think you are as good as we are.

    You're not to think you are smarter than we are.

    You're not to imagine yourself better than we are.
    You're not to think you know more than we do.

    You're not to think you are more important than we are.

    You're not to think you are good at anything.

    You're not to laugh at us.

    You're not to think anyone cares about you.

    You're not to think you can teach us anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsimiski View Post
    It's the 'Jante's law' (loven = law) ������

    The ten rules state:

    You're not to think you are anything special.

    You're not to think you are as good as we are.

    You're not to think you are smarter than we are.

    You're not to imagine yourself better than we are.
    You're not to think you know more than we do.

    You're not to think you are more important than we are.

    You're not to think you are good at anything.

    You're not to laugh at us.

    You're not to think anyone cares about you.

    You're not to think you can teach us anything.
    You're joking, right?

    Good grief! I complete and utterly disagree with every single one of those! Well, maybe not number 5. The rest make absolutely no sense. I particularly dislike two and nine.


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    The Law of Jante, the Danish 10 commandments, are just as Danish as 'hygge'. The Laws were penned by a Danish author Sandemose in his book: 'A fugitive crosses his tracks' published in 1933. I think most Danes will deny that the Laws are a fair judgement on the Danish people today but it's still an underlying Danish trait to discouraged selv promotion.
    Some of the comments here are nevertheless slightly speculative.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Fascinating...I've had people tell me their parents told them similar things, but I never knew the source.

    So, is it a still prevalent mind set?

    And if it is, what then motivates a person to go to university for an advanced degree, or write a concerto, or even risk some capital to start a business. I've always thought ambitions like that are driven to some extent by a sense of exceptionalism, or the desire to be exceptional.
    A while back I was watching a Youtube series hosted by a young Norwegian lady giving instructions in the Norwegian language...Naturally she spoke fluent English. She briefly mentioned the concept, I forget the name. Basically a social concept of "don't get above yourself."

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    Quote Originally Posted by RVBlake View Post
    A while back I was watching a Youtube series hosted by a young Norwegian lady giving instructions in the Norwegian language...Naturally she spoke fluent English. She briefly mentioned the concept, I forget the name. Basically a social concept of "don't get above yourself."
    Well, how about "You're not to think anyone cares about you"? That's a rather bleak view of human nature, and a false one, from my perspective and experience. I would never have told my children such a thing and was certainly never taught that myself.

    "You're not to think you're as good as we are" also is putting other people down.

    Do you know the source or the impetus for this mindset?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    Well, how about "You're not to think anyone cares about you"? That's a rather bleak view of human nature, and a false one, from my perspective and experience. I would never have told my children such a thing and was certainly never taught that myself.

    "You're not to think you're as good as we are" also is putting other people down.

    Do you know the source or the impetus for this mindset?
    I know a bunch of Scandinavians (mostly Swedes, some Finns, one Dane), and when asked they basically said it comes down to the idea that everyone does their bit to help society run smoothly together (so, working together like cogs in a machine), and that you're not to try and rise above your role in any way so as to disrupt this machine (it isn't necessarily anti-personal achievement, but it's more like you need to remember you're part of a team). Also, it isn't that they're heartless, but they see individual lives as a personal and separate thing to the community-based collectivistic idea of cogs in a machine - individual cogs (personal lives) aren't a concern as much as the bigger picture of the machine itself.

    Overall, probably the perfect recipe for a utopian society (in my opinion).

    It's sort of like the stereotype of the German national football team, in direct contrast to a team like Portugal with Ronaldo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ToBeOrNotToBe View Post
    I know a bunch of Scandinavians (mostly Swedes, some Finns, one Dane), and when asked they basically said it comes down to the idea that everyone does their bit to help society run smoothly together (so, working together like cogs in a machine), and that you're not to try and rise above your role in any way so as to disrupt this machine (it isn't necessarily anti-personal achievement, but it's more like you need to remember you're part of a team). Also, it isn't that they're heartless, but they see individual lives as a personal and separate thing to the community-based collectivistic idea of cogs in a machine - individual cogs (personal lives) aren't a concern as much as the bigger picture of the machine itself.

    Overall, probably the perfect recipe for a utopian society (in my opinion).

    It's sort of like the stereotype of the German national football team, in direct contrast to a team like Portugal with Ronaldo.
    You corroborate my long held belief that the old Webber scheme of northern Europeans as being individualistic is absolutely wrong. They are, in fact, very collectivist. They're just not family oriented, which is a different thing altogether.

    To each their own; not at ALL my cup of tea.

    Oh, as for Portugal, much of their style of play is because the rest of their team just isn't very good. :) Latins can play as a team, you know, and still leave room for individual flair, initiative and seizing the opportunity. Did you watch the 2006 Italy-Germany semi-final? Germany played very well, but... :) Of course, Italy played extremely, horrifyingly, badly this cycle, but Germany and all its teamwork didn't do very well either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    You corroborate my long held belief that the old Webber scheme of northern Europeans as being individualistic is absolutely wrong. They are, in fact, very collectivist. They're just not family oriented, which is a different thing altogether.

    To each their own; not at ALL my cup of tea.

    Oh, as for Portugal, much of their style of play is because the rest of their team just isn't very good. :) Latins can play as a team, you know, and still leave room for individual flair, initiative and seizing the opportunity. Did you watch the 2006 Italy-Germany semi-final? Germany played very well, but... :) Of course, Italy played extremely, horrifyingly, badly this cycle, but Germany and all its teamwork didn't do very well either.
    I didn't mean to say that Southern Europeans (as an example) are incapable of teamwork(!), just that they form somewhat of a compromise (subconsciously of course) to allow room for more individualism IN THE SENSE of having a person-by-person worldview. So the American view of Sicilians perfectly epitomises this: Sicilians are not individual in the sense of leading somewhat more solitary lives, at all - in terms of social independence, Northern Europeans are of course more individualistic than really any other region. But, to Sicilians, the cogs are more important than the machine. People value the family massively - the cogs nearest to them, so to speak, often to the extent that they'll go more out of their way for "their" cogs even at the expense of other cogs (a Sicilian is more likely to try and push his old grandma to the front of a queue, whereas a Scandinavian would wait in line).

    This is all sounding a bit silly - Scandinavians value the machine whereas Sicilians value the cogs - but you get the idea :) I do think it explains why Scandinavian societies are so successful though, but also why they seem colder.

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    Judgements about the Danish society based on the Law of Jante should be taken with a pinch of salt. Jante is a fictional name for a country side city in southern Denmark called Nykøbing where the author was born, a city he absolutely hated. Also the Law of Jante or Nykøbing was penned in 1933 and much has changed in Denmark during the following 80 years like the 1968 revolution. The Law of Jante is a satire or caricature, a distortion of the Danish society but as with many caricatures contains a grain of truth.
    Last edited by Tsimiski; 02-09-18 at 12:33.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsimiski View Post
    Judgements about the Danish society based on the Law of Jante should be taken with a pinch of salt. Jante is a fictional name for a country side city in southern Denmark called Nykøbing where the author was born, a city he absolutely hated. Also the Law of Jante or Nykøbing was penned in 1933 and much has changed in Denmark during the following 80 years like the 1968 revolution. The Law of Jante is a satire or caricature, a distortion of the Danish society but as with many caricatures contains a grain of truth.
    Ah, now I get it.

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    I was just reminded that Ibsen's "An Enemy of the People" and Anderson's "The Emperor's New Clothes" show this principal in action. In addition, this conformism, it has been suggested, could explain why the laxity of laws and relatively mild punishments have so far worked in this society: social conformism already ensures that the rules will be obeyed.

    Very interesting insights. I think he takes it too far, especially in asserting that the most aggressive and individualistic people emigrated, but it's interesting reading.

    https://twitter.com/aClassicLiberal/...83915635871744

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    As Tsimiski says, the Jante Law was written in 1933. It described a small Danish town that was severely behind the times, in 1933. Kind of a relic Victorian influence that came to the smaller trading towns in Denmark and southern Norway in the late 19th century. And was a stand-in for a small town the author grew up in and despised. It is a codification of attitudes he believed they had, and it is an exaggeration and a parody. It should not be taken as having legal force in the 21st century. Even in 1933 you would have found real attitudes different in most larger towns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    You corroborate my long held belief that the old Webber scheme of northern Europeans as being individualistic is absolutely wrong. They are, in fact, very collectivist. They're just not family oriented, which is a different thing altogether.
    I suspect there is an assumption of homogeneity in Scandinavia which does not work in this case. Yes, languages are similar and politics are currently roughly similar in may areas.

    But the Denmark of Jante was a small agricultural nation, exceptionally densely populated by Scandinavian standards. It has ten times the population density of Norway and five times Sweden. It has a history of trying to stay out of wars, an aristocracy owning the land, but a wealthy and free peasantry relative to other European nations.

    Sweden has 1/5 the population density of Denmark, an aristocracy and I think -not my area- a peasant class that was bound to the land in what was basically serfdom. It has an exceptionally warlike history and was basically a rouge nation for centuries. There were centuries when 30 % of Swedish males died in wars outside Swedens borders.

    Norway has 1/10 the population density of Denmark, no aristocracy, no serfdom, little in the way of cities and large towns, and only a small history of tenant farmers. The vast majority of the population owned their own land. In addition to the low population density, the geography is basically a fit of rage. Mountain ranges, glaciers, steep cliffs, rivers, lakes and abyssal fjords. Sometimes in the same square kilometer. Making the effective distance between people much larger than it looks on a map. For 1000 years or longer, males in the coastal regions where most of the population lived, have gone on long seajourneys to provide for the family while the woman has been in charge of the house, the economy and the valuables.

    Norway and Sweden has a far, far more hostile climate than Denmark. Norway traditionally looks west, Denmark South and Sweden east.

    The behavioral rules applying in a small town in Denmark had little authority over a fisherman/farmer in Northern Norway who lives with his family miles from his next door neighbor. Or A Swedish Saami reindeer herder. Or a Lutheran priest in an area maybe half the size of Denmark were we did not actually establish firm borders between Russia, Sweden and Norway until the 1700s or maybe early 1800s.

    That being said, the reason the Jante law is still remembered is because we recognize that it does describe a real Scandinavian trait. I would say, in much the same way as Americans recognize the "ugly American tourist" stereotype as relevant without actually being one.

    But the Jante law, at least these days, prescribe how you should display yourself rather than how you should perceive yourself. Excelling in something is absolutely supported. If you are accomplished in one or more areas, you will garner considerable (low-key) respect and approval from other Scandinavians -unless you are seen as bragging about it! It is a very serious social faux pas to act as though you are better, more valuable, smarter or otherwise above your fellow citizens. The best examples of this may be how the royals of Scandinavia behave.

    On the subject of HG versus farmer genetics on individualism, I suspect the climate, geography, religion and history of an area has enough power to bury any genetic signal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gnarl View Post
    As Tsimiski says, the Jante Law was written in 1933. It described a small Danish town that was severely behind the times, in 1933. Kind of a relic Victorian influence that came to the smaller trading towns in Denmark and southern Norway in the late 19th century. And was a stand-in for a small town the author grew up in and despised. It is a codification of attitudes he believed they had, and it is an exaggeration and a parody. It should not be taken as having legal force in the 21st century. Even in 1933 you would have found real attitudes different in most larger towns.



    I suspect there is an assumption of homogeneity in Scandinavia which does not work in this case. Yes, languages are similar and politics are currently roughly similar in may areas.

    But the Denmark of Jante was a small agricultural nation, exceptionally densely populated by Scandinavian standards. It has ten times the population density of Norway and five times Sweden. It has a history of trying to stay out of wars, an aristocracy owning the land, but a wealthy and free peasantry relative to other European nations.

    Sweden has 1/5 the population density of Denmark, an aristocracy and I think -not my area- a peasant class that was bound to the land in what was basically serfdom. It has an exceptionally warlike history and was basically a rouge nation for centuries. There were centuries when 30 % of Swedish males died in wars outside Swedens borders.

    Norway has 1/10 the population density of Denmark, no aristocracy, no serfdom, little in the way of cities and large towns, and only a small history of tenant farmers. The vast majority of the population owned their own land. In addition to the low population density, the geography is basically a fit of rage. Mountain ranges, glaciers, steep cliffs, rivers, lakes and abyssal fjords. Sometimes in the same square kilometer. Making the effective distance between people much larger than it looks on a map. For 1000 years or longer, males in the coastal regions where most of the population lived, have gone on long seajourneys to provide for the family while the woman has been in charge of the house, the economy and the valuables.

    Norway and Sweden has a far, far more hostile climate than Denmark. Norway traditionally looks west, Denmark South and Sweden east.

    The behavioral rules applying in a small town in Denmark had little authority over a fisherman/farmer in Northern Norway who lives with his family miles from his next door neighbor. Or A Swedish Saami reindeer herder. Or a Lutheran priest in an area maybe half the size of Denmark were we did not actually establish firm borders between Russia, Sweden and Norway until the 1700s or maybe early 1800s.

    That being said, the reason the Jante law is still remembered is because we recognize that it does describe a real Scandinavian trait. I would say, in much the same way as Americans recognize the "ugly American tourist" stereotype as relevant without actually being one.

    But the Jante law, at least these days, prescribe how you should display yourself rather than how you should perceive yourself. Excelling in something is absolutely supported. If you are accomplished in one or more areas, you will garner considerable (low-key) respect and approval from other Scandinavians -unless you are seen as bragging about it! It is a very serious social faux pas to act as though you are better, more valuable, smarter or otherwise above your fellow citizens. The best examples of this may be how the royals of Scandinavia behave.

    On the subject of HG versus farmer genetics on individualism, I suspect the climate, geography, religion and history of an area has enough power to bury any genetic signal.
    Lots of good information. It doesn't pay to generalize too much.

    I never thought any such differences in terms of individualism versus collectivism were necessarily genetically determined, much less based on any hunter/farmer split. We're all descended from hunter/gatherers after all. Such things are formed from a myriad of forces.

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    Janteloven, while satire as has already been mentioned a few times, definitely also speaks to a Scandinavian (along with other collectivist) humility: even if you do great things, even if they advance the community, stay humble and don't get a big head.

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