No. 25

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The Lost World

  • Helle Ruusing

    Editor-in-Chief, Information Adviser of the Chancellery of the Riigikogu

The sinister circumstances connected with the financing of political parties that have come to light this spring force the Estonian society to ask questions belonging to the sphere of ethics.

It is necessary to have a wider discussion over what is acceptable in the society and what is not. The political parties are after all just a part of the society, albeit an influential part. People should ask from themselves how many times they have, in their attitudes or decisions, gone into conflict with their ethical self. How many times they have turned a blind eye and thought that it does not concern them. As long as people personally or as a society are indifferent, or have a tolerant attitude, towards the expanding and breaking of rules, so long the rules are broken. On the other hand, even when the rules are written down, they work only if most of those who have to follow them have taken part in establishing the rules and accept them.

Who should initiate and develop important discussions in the society? Who are the lighthouses of morale whose opinion really counts? If you want to be concrete, then it is hard to find such people. Not because there are not any. Of course there are. Rather because they do not want public attention. They do not want to be torn into public mud wrestling.

Actually the academic world could and should initiate important discussions in the society. Things that are created inside the walls of universities have more value for the society if we know about them more. The academic circles should publicly speak on issues that are of importance to the society more often. Unfortunately the developments in Estonia during the last couple of decades have been in the opposite direction. The number of students studying at the universities has increased threefold; Estonia has top world class science and scientists. But the Estonian language as a science language is vanishing. Use as a science language has a decisive role in the development and preservation of a language. In the conditions of globalisation, the wish of the scientists to be understood and competitive is understandable, at the same time all knowledge that remains outside the Estonian language space makes the society poorer. In the end it will weaken the Estonian education system as a whole. Hopefully, during the next decade the Estonian universities will find a balance between the international and national, and will have their doubtlessly weighty say in the development of the society.

Estonia could be a society that can make its ethical choices clear and where the so-called sideways will not become a norm. A society that hears without condemning and has a tolerant attitude to many different opinions. Then everybody is ready to have a say.

Full article in Estonian

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