ANDREI DETELA About the soul of Slovenia and the Slovenian identity
Itís when you are abroad that it is the easiest and with the least effort that you can think about Slovenia. The reason is not in the great distance which somehow clears your vision but in the small size of Slovenia (I donít suggest in any way any smallness in spirituality): the Slovenian identity has formed throughout history most of all proportionately to other nations. That is why our national archetypes differ from the archetypes of some of the bigger nations, such as the Russian, the French or the American, who maybe (?) go too deep into themselves.
During my travels around the far-away technological countries with various cultures Iíve had the chance more than once to speak about what interests us, the Slovenians. Iíve often been asked about my language which seems extremely interesting and I have always been listened to very attentively when speaking about it. And I really see how people like to hear what I tell them about our language. For example, about the dual number, which many listeners find to be something very intimate and exceptionally beautiful, something which remains inexpressible in other languages. They find it extremely curious that our sentence structure is not governed by dominant prepositions (as in the Germanic languages, for example) but as a rule all the words are equal in value and quietly occupy their places and it is only their ending that balances the structure and gives the desired meaning to the sentences. Slovenian does not emanate energy from its main subject, it doesnít express a presumptuous desire to control the whole.
This is something very significant since language most of all affects our way of thinking. This is even more specific with Slovenians, because our national identity is based most of all on the archetypes which are finely encoded into our language (Yanko Rozhic pays special attention to this). In the past we didnít have kings, we didnít build big cathedrals, but we found other ways to express our distinctiveness. We have preserved some of the archaic elements (e.g. the mentioned dual number), which is not bad at all. On the contrary, perhaps Slovenian has preserved many similarities with Sanskrit, that ancient and well-studied language which has about a hundred different words to express the nuances of meaning of the word soul.
In the Central Institute for Natural Sciences, where I work, I oftentimes hear from the mouths of educated and authoritative people the wondrous thought that ďin the development of the global civilization, we will gradually adopt the English language, which is much more practical, since today we use it more and moreĒ. Maybe from the point of view of the expert-idiots this looks very reasonable, but in the long run we cannot escape cultural determinism: uniformity of languages means a catastrophic loss of the cultural variety of the world, and consequently a catastrophic downfall of human creativity and in the end degeneration of man Ė something similar to what Fukuyama describes in his latest book The End of Man. His insight from his previous book The End of History didnít come true, so we can expect that the end of man wonít either. But in the long run, sooner or later, innovators will come who will find a way out of the insecurity of degeneration. And this will happen by bringing fresh viewpoints, which will save distinctiveness.
My already mentioned Institute is Slovenia on a small scale. By the way, isnít something similar happening in our politics as well? Some ďauthoritative peopleĒ put us in some pro-American (undercover imperial) military and other similar agreements and they find it ďvery practicalĒ. And at that, they forget that this kind of commitment is solid only when we enter into it with our stable and independent identity, on equal grounds with other nations. Of course, this doesnít happen by entangling us in their inside political webs set to catch some opportunists and traitors. (How difficult it is to say this word, especially when we know they have become traitors ďmeaning wellĒ, because of their own stupidity.)
For the decent man in society cultural pluralism is a main condition, ñîïdicio qua non potest. And it is just in regards to pluralism that we are tempted in certain ways. We have changed many rulers, political systems, states. Our language is extremely rich in dialects. Our nature has such landscape and biological diversity that it literally fascinates every foreigner who comes to visit.
We simply canít but realize we think just like the ones who speak, letís say, English. Itís not about whether such a nation is better or worse, but about the otherness, which should be kept in mind. For example, we, Slovenians, have to find something else, different from the modern manipulative capitalism, which we can see in the contemporary western (and now global) society. In it, we can never be as successful as, for example, the English, the Americans or the Australians. But we have more opportunities to unburden ourselves from the worn-out stereotypes, in our time when the spiritual crisis in the world civilization grows ever bigger.
Despite our physical smallness, we are big in spirit. Our size can be seen in the expression of new viewpoints, with extensive knowledge accumulated through our unique historical experience. Only one example: during the First and Second World Wars about a million soldiers died on our territory just on the river Socha frontline. This has reflected very strongly upon our national character. Wars of conquest have become repulsive to us, but we have learned to resist the invaders. I think we understood even back then the misery of the imperialistic militant mind. And so the Republic of Slovenia as a small country shares the support and tendency of the great powers given to it mostly because of our countryís peace-loving buffer role in the midst of the more powerful than us. This is our great political advantage, which is not always realized.
In todayís world of increasing chaos, when the main life experience in the universal culture is more and more replaced by virtual truth which can so easily be manipulated, the awareness of the level of oneís own power is very precious. Some countries, bearing the burden of imperial past (powerful European countries) or present (America) have to reach this state of awareness and it has to happen because the world can no longer rely on the ever-expanding chaotic game of power. As we very well know, all empires have fallen.
In all this time with our mind power we dreamed and dreamed of inner freedom. The mind which passes through time and space, takes different creative forms and can now be a gift to the world. This is the only way for us: openness to the world, but openness through a freed mind and most of all through priceless originality. Through this, it would be easier for the world to recognize us.