Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ein schöner guten Morgen

I have this recurrent memory of night-train journeys through Europe, to be woken up by train conductors somewhere out in rural Austria at obscene hours by this cheerful greeting.

This time around however the alarm was set first at 4.30 a.m. and instead of getting off a train, I was to take one, once again to Stockholm to be more specific. And, after some initial tram-related difficulties I am now well underway in 200 km/h, quite excited about what the day will offer.

Among other things, I will attend a seminar organized by the Swedish Research Council on Russian history. Of special interest is Gudrun Persson from Stockholm University who will discuss the importance of boredom in the downfall of the Soviet Union. Her argument is that as the Soviet society stagnated, people (especially those who had the chance of travelling abroad) came to realize the profound hopelessness, the colossal public lies and the lack of a future for the young. All this, I think, has interesting implications for the prospects of maintaining a “steady-state” green society in the future.

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