In my part of the world, and especially in Scandinavia, we are constantly told that we should forgive. By forgiving those who did us wrong, we are supposed to become free and able to move on with our lives. Forgiveness has become such an ideal for us that we tend to view those who don’t forgive as hateful and mean individuals. But in reality, those who never feel an obligation to forgive might be the healthiest individuals around.
A long time ago, there was no money. There were no kings, no rules and no borders. We lived as hunters and gatherers, and we were free. Yes, at times life was hard. Death could come swiftly. But no matter what kind of misfortune life threw in our faces, we were free. And there were times when we thrived and even had time for art and music.
We are fascinated by the Viking mentality. Their fighting spirit and their tenacity seem to have captivated the attention of an entire generation. And while I believe most people don’t really get who the Vikings were, I also believe that those of us who work with this historical era every day, need to be inclusive and stop judging people for their lack of knowledge. Even archeologists I know hesitate to call themselves experts on this subject. It’s so clouded by centuries of monotheistic dogma that it’s only now that we are really beginning to understand the Viking world.
Have you ever asked yourself who you really are? I think you have. We all have, I guess. It’s an existential question that tend to present itself from time to time. And even after having done some serious soul searching, most of us can’t really come up with a good answer. I think I know why. The question in itself is wrong. Rather than asking ourselves who we are, we should ask where we come from. We are the result of our ancestors’ struggles and victories, their marriages and their love affairs. It is their genes we carry in our blood, and when we are born, that is all we are.
These days, everybody wants to be a Viking. And while I think it’s great that my ancestors’ culture is becoming increasingly popular, I feel that sometimes people are getting it all wrong. Being a Viking gets mixed up with being a Norseman or -woman. Being a Viking was a lifestyle that some Norsemen and even -women lived, while the Norse were a group of clans who shared the same culture and variants of the same language.
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