An Ode To Finnish Values

There is more to Finland than pretty Auroras. The visual stuffs you can find at Ouluphoto. For the rest, read on. Being only half as bitter as one might think from my previous texts, I cannot help but notice Finnish people’s numerous great features. They catch my eye especially recently, being at the threshold between studies and working life and having to consider which country to move to next. The mere thought of eventually leaving these kindhearted, naturally friendly people behind and jumping head first back into my German competitive, fast-paced and slightly hostile working life makes me shiver. But let’s leave future problems aside for now, stop for a second and honor the Finnish attitude that has made my life so wonderfully easy during the past years!

Obviously Pinocchio is not of Finnish origin

Obviously Pinocchio’s fairytale is not of Finnish origin

There’s evidently the honesty. If you’re from a country where you live in the constant fear of losing your stuff to someone who might wanna take it rather than asking for it politely, you will render effeminate here. Leaving clothes at the coat racks, purses in the computer labs, laptops in the library – not a problem at all. Finns don’t care about stuff that doesn’t belong to them, why should they? It’s none of their business. A friend of mine lost his super-awesome smartphone the other day, and the girl who found and returned it had some old shitty regular phone. That she made an effort returning it instead of keeping it for herself made other friends refer to this incident as a fairytale. But actually, this is simply Finland.

Honesty can also be observed in the professional life: if a project is paid for in advance, lazy persons would tend to put less effort as they already got the money, right? Well, an honest Finn would never do that! If the money arrived already, the project has to be fulfilled even better! We should hire managers from Finland solely, the principal-agent-problem could probably be reduced to a minimum.

Despite their shyness and caginess, the Finns’ friendliness, particularly proven on bus rides, is outstanding (at least in Oulu): Every customer gets a ‘good morning’ when entering, waves goodbye to the driver when leaving, says ‘kiitos’ – and the bus driver does the same. At work, for whatever task you fulfil you get an honest ‘thank you’. Yes, additionally to your salary! Never would you have to fear being robbed/raped/stabbed or altogether when walking home alone. You will always get help when asking for it, even if the person doesn’t speak your language. Kids are independent from the day they can walk; being mean seems to be an absurdity, and bullies are as rare as snow in Egypt.

Feminist cultures like the Finnish are modest, caring for each other and cooperative.

Feminist cultures like the Finnish are modest, caring for each other and cooperative.

All these awesome facts seem to arise from the common habit to think about how to make each others’ lives as easy and smooth as possible. Clean toilets, self-service in bars, solariums and rental cottages – Finns are no snobs but down-to-earth. While in other cultures it seems to be a trend to put as many spokes in somebody’s wheel as possible, or at least to ruthlessly care only about oneself, a Finn always thinks ahead and of you.

If everyone was as friendly and well-meaning as Finnish people, dog-eat-dog societies would disappear. An expansion of their honesty, responsibility and natural friendliness could lead to a termination of nasty and evil attitudes. After all, Finns seem to entirely miss the mean-gene.

And then, there come the others and abuse it. It was the Americans who taught them a lesson about being hostile and sneaky. With the infamous Nokia-takeover they probably wanted to prove that only slyness leads to success. I disagree. The mass makes the rules and unfortunately, the less-honest-outside-Finland-mass is the greater one. But for roughly 5.5 million people working life, industry and development works quite well as what it is: A fairytale.

If you liked the moral values of Finland, you might also like pictures taken of visual attractions: Thanks to photographer Maciej Sobocinski and Ouluphoto.com.

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One Response to An Ode To Finnish Values

  1. The honesty you have encountered I feel has to do with trust. Interpersonal trust levels in Finland and the Nordics are higher compared to the rest of Europe. I remember this coming up in a class about social capital while I was on exchange in Poland. I didn’t find the scientific article we discussed, but the question asked in these trust surveys is in the lines of :”Generally speaking, would you say that most people can be trusted or that you need to be very careful in dealing with people?”

    As a Finn I’ve heard explanations for high trust levels from our history of being a country of few people and a lot of space, where neighborly trust can make a life and death difference. So essentially we are a land of rural folk who moved into cities in the past 50 years or something and still preserved some of our rural mentality 😀

    There must be other reasons combined with this simplified historical theory.

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