zondag 19 april 2015

Vikings And Class Structure

I've had a very busy weekend, starting with Friday, but now I finally have time for something sophisticated:)  Actually, I have been thinking of writing this post for a couple of years, so here comes.

Our Viking ancestors had an interesting theory about the origin of social classes. According to it, Heimdall, one of Odin's sons, decided one day to visit Earth and to find out what men were up to. Right upon his arrival Heimdall, who called himself Riger for the occasion, stumbled upon a hut where he met a very old (and dirt poor) couple by the names of Ai (great-grandfather) and Edda (great-grandmother). They offered him hospitality and Riger spent three days with them.

After his departure, Edda became the mother of a son called Thrall who had an inclination for all sorts of hard physical labour and as he grew up he married Thyr, a rather heavily built girl with flat feet who had the same hobby, doing heavy physical work. They became the parents of all the servants of the North.

Riger in the meanwhile travelled further and met a middle-aged couple who owned a nice farm, Afi (grandfather) and Amma (grandmother); who invited him to stay with them and share their simple but abundant meal. He spent three days with the couple, taught them a lot of things and left. After his departure, well, you know, they got a blue-eyed boy whom they called Karl and who showed an enormous knowledge of agriculture. Later Karl married Snor, a girl who was a capable housekeeper and who became the mother of all the free landowners of the North.

Riger went further on and came upon a castle. In the castle lived Fadir (father) and Modir (mother), a well-dressed, well-fed couple who offered their visitor a sophisticated meal and expensive wines. Riger stayed three days with them, also, and returned to Asgard to watch over the bridge there, and the lady of the castle got a handsome son whose name was Jarl.

The child showed an early interest in hunting, weapons and all sort of things to do with war, learned the runes and through his courage brought glory to his family. He married Erna, a slender, aristocratic girl who presided over his household with wisdom and bore him many children, all destined to rule. His youngest son became the first king of Denmark.

And that's how we've got different social classes.
Source: Noorsche Mythen by H.A. Guerber

14 opmerkingen:

  1. Class structure is interesting all over the world. India has a very distinct caste structure. From books I've read, the immigrants from Holland who came to Canada; took menial, labour intensive jobs. Now their children have had many opportunities and have many more advantages. When we were in Dubai, the class structure was so obvious. I'm very curious how that happens.

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  2. Social classes exist in every society but since the official ideology in the West says that we are all equal, we are supposed to pretend that class doesn't exists:) And yet, one can mostly determine a person's class by simply looking at the way he (or she) dresses.

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  3. Yes, we are all equal, but some are more equal than the others. :-)

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  4. Class structure has many benefits that socialism denies. But the real reason socialism rejects differences between poor and rich is in order to create chaos. Social disorder means anarchy and social dissolution. Socialism has destroyed the traditional village instead of transforming like Victorian farmers transformed into Edwardian farmers. Sending farmers to urban areas and putting burdens and taxes on poor families, made those unhappy tax payers choose a job in a factory rather than working their father's or grandparents' land with proper utensils. Everything had to belong to the state and you weren't allowed to make profit. The villages have become empty and wrecked because the young generation has neither skills nor patience to rebuild what their parents have abandoned themselves years ago.

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  5. Big firms have taken much of individual small ownership firms to the ground. Small companies are constantly being bought out by large companies.The same goes with farms. It's very difficult for small farms to make a profit. What drives this? A lot of this is price. We all want to pay the least possible for what we buy. Now countries that pay their employees very small wages, eg. Mexico are manufacturing a lot of the world's goods. It changes the social structure of our countries.

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  6. Housewife from Finland20 april 2015 om 06:01

    I think modern class structure IS equal; your class is determined by your intelligence, not only by your parents. At least here in Finland where education is free. Of course family background still matters but not that much. I have nothing against that kind of class culture.

    But I don't like the idea people used to have -and still have in India- that only thing that matters is your family tree. Even the best families can have children who are total morons and even the most low-class families can have children who are wise etc. And it is really important that those smart exceptions wont get wasted but get proper education and can benefit the society.

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  7. European class system was never so rigid as the Indian caste system. It allowed enterprising young men and women to rise, however, there weren't as many places on top as there are now (partly due to the government creating UMC jobs, partly due to the advantages of the modern economy). Because of it, downward mobility was more the norm than the exception, especially in countries like England where the eldest son inherited and the rest were left to fend for themselves. There is a very interesting blog which discusses it, when I have time I'll post some links. Right now I'm in the middle of house cleaning.

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  8. Housewife from Finland has it right - equal opportunity for everyone. Not everyone wants to do the same. Some people are very skillful with their hands, while others have computer brains. There really is no top anymore. Thankfully.

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  9. Every country has the elite, including the West, only nowadays they aren't so open about it any more. Upper class still exists and it's a small club.

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  10. On downward mobility:
    http://charltonteaching.blogspot.nl/2014/05/what-is-human-condition-through-most-of.html

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  11. What makes up the upper class? I know professors, lawyers, ministers, members of parliament, doctors, etc. None of them would think they belonged to the upper class. They must be the billionaires, and I really socialize with them.

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  12. Well, folks who are able to pay 17 million for a chalet in the mountains to spend their summer vacations. Aristocrats, bankers, people like that and no, here in Europe they don't socialise with us. They don't even live in the same places as we do. It's not just money, of course, it's belonging to a certain family and moving in certain circles.

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  13. I don't socialize with bankers, actors, etc. Those are definitely huge earners.

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