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Matti Puolakka speaking to young people

An excerpt from Matti Puolakka’s speech on November 29, 2017. Matti speaks here about deontological ethics and its significance for understanding life. His beloved motto is from Democritus: a person who follows the sense of justice for the sake of principle is always good-humoured, never becomes bitter. Matti takes examples also from the life histories of Darwin, Linnaeus, and Chaplin.

Some clarifications for the international audience:

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An excerpt from Matti Puolakka’s speech on November 29, 2017. Matti speaks here about deontological ethics and its significance for understanding life. His beloved motto is from Democritus: a person who follows the sense of justice for the sake of principle is always good-humoured, never becomes bitter. Matti takes examples also from the life histories of Darwin, Linnaeus, and Chaplin.

Some clarifications for the international audience:

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“Under the North Star”

Väinö Linna’s novel trilogy “Under the North Star” (1959–1962) was a turning point in Finland for the  nation’s self-understanding.The novel tells about the key decades of Finnish history from the end of the 19th century onwards. from the perspective of a village community and especially the Koskela family of tenant farmers.

According to Puolakka, Linna defines the core of universal ethics in his own way when describing Akseli Koskela’s attitude.

Linna’s novel was the first realistic description of the Finnish Civil War of 1918 from the perspective of  “reds”. The division of the nation caused by the war was deepening by the so-called “White lie”: “reds” were called criminals and traitors, and the atrocities committed by “whites” were silenced. Despite the unity of the Winter War, the lie continued until the publication of Linna’s novel. Only then did a more unbiased view of that time of transition in national history begin to spread.

Georg Henrik von Wright and Ilkka Niiniluoto

The Finnish philosophers Georg Henrik von Wright and Ilkka Niiniluoto mentioned by Matti are also internationally respected representatives of analytical philosophy. Despite the criticism presented here – they didn’t write anything about Finlandization in the 1970s and 1980s – Matti really appreciated their works very much. Their writings are still study material of our association.

A Film censored in Finlandized Finland

A characteristic detail of the atmosphere in Finlandized Finland is Renny Harlin’s film “Arctic Heat” (“Born American” in the US). Matti mentioned it on the video. Showing the film was banned twice in Finland and approved (cut version) for presentation not until a decision of the Supreme Administrative Court in 1986.

The origin of the ban was revealed in a book[1] published in 2008, which states that The Soviet Ambassador to Helsinki, Vladimir Sobolev, informed the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the negative foreign policy impressions that allowing the film would create, and called for action. The film was not released in Finland in its original form until 2006 (in DVD format).

REFERENCES

[1] Juhani Suomi: Kohti sinipunaa, 2008

Recommended Reading

REFERENCES

[1] The terms socialism and capitalism are often used as if they were universally defined. However, this is not the case, and therefore we use quotation marks. Defining these terms will be one of the central topics in the discussion on the past era.

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