Tag Archives: Thomas Nydahl

Think, talk and write.

Following the news and joining debates about the political, social or even financial issues is perhaps beneficial for democracy, but I am not always sure about it. Nowadays in our fast media there is a lot of debate and action going on about thousands of things. Do we need all these fast opinions, or should those important debates take place in a slightly slower pace, with thoughtfull people who have studied the subject for a longer time because they have a genuine interest in the subject?

A lot of the news in the media is created by the media itself. They live from producing news and that’s also what they do, every day. We, the audience, need to be conscious and aware of our world. What is it we need to know, what are our interests and needs? If we know then we can decide what news is for us, and we can adjust our daily intake of it.
There is so much debth in every problem that remains in the dark, that it can make one feel rather hopeless sometimes.
Take for example history. As a young student we would ask the teacher: “What is the use of history, why do we need to learn all this old news?” We probably got an answer that didn’t really satisfy us, as we couldn’t really grasp its meaning.
Now I know. There are so many things that happened before, yes – there is nothing new actually – that it is amazing that we often are unaware of it. We make the same mistakes again and again but we treat them as something unique and new, and we try to find some sort of solution that will work for the moment. But how many times could we have foreseen it? Did we learn from previous occasions?

I had written these thoughts down some days ago, but decided not to publish them as I was unsure about their value. But I just read on Thomas Nyhland’s blog (in swedish) that he stops talking about politics. One of the reasons is that he doesn’t want to be dragged into endless, and in his opinion often not well-thought, political discussions – also because he feels that he already clearly stated his opinion on numerous occasions.
Part of his reasoning might come from the same sort of feeling that I tried to express here. One can write about politics, or one can try to focus on one’s deepest voice inside. In our information-overflow world, where everybody has a voice, these two things can probably not be combined.


Thomas Nydahl quotes regularly on his blog Occident from Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet. Three days ago the quote was about monotony, stating that an existence should be monotonous in order not to be monotonous. When life is lived the same way every day, then every little thing becomes important, and every little change huge. Therefore one will notice and admire every idea, sound, motion.

It is insanely easy to get distracted in our life full of information and impulses, but where does it leave us?

This is linked to the idea that one can gain freedom by limiting oneself. Freedom is something inside of us, hence Pessoa’s quote from the same book:

Liberty is the possibility of isolation.

* Original: A liberdade é a possibilidade do isolamento.

* Source: “A Factless Autobiography”. Richard Zenith Edition, Lisbon, 2006, p. 246 via Wikiquote

Writing is done in isolation, so:

When I write, I solemnly visit myself.

* Original: Quando escrevo, visito-me solenemente.

* Source: “A Factless Autobiography”. Richard Zenith Edition, Lisbon, 2006, p. 287 via Wikiquote

These ideas are simple and old… and forgotten?

I suppose that most people are keen on rushing away from liberty and isolation in order to avoid hearing their own thoughts. It is indeed questionable whether on can function well in our society if one hears its own voice, if one truly feels and thinks. I doubt it will make you rich for example.

But what about happiness, satisfaction, tranquility?

For me, one of the most impressive moments in my life, the most intense, was when I became aware of the beauty and the strength of seeing that one, small plant flowering in the middle of the vast Icelandic desert of rocks and dust. In that  breath-taking monotony the experience of seeing this plant became so strong and clear that it had and has a key influence upon my life.