Linda has posed an interesting question: What is Finnish culture? Even though the answer to the question is more complex than one would think, it brings forth some very important points about our identity and who we believe we are.
One of the biggest problems with “national identities” and “cultures” is that they are built with heavy doses of myths. Other national cultures, such as the Germans, British, Brazilians, Japanese also use myths to build the pillars of their national and cultural identity.
One of the biggest myths about Finnish culture is that it is a tribe; Finns are honest; Finns love nature; Finns have Sisu etc… In every country the children are breast fed and taught that their culture and language is the best. We speak of internationalization but, in fact, we are brought up to be very povincial and ethnocentric beings. In order to hide our myopic views of ourselves and others, we allow ourselves to be spoon-fed with a heavy dose of myths about ourselves.
National identities have got the world into a lot of problems. It has been responsible for sparking wars, internal and external, and mass murder as happened recently in the former Yugoslavia and Nazi Germany. It continues to be the fuel that racism runs on.
I am certain that if we do not end up destroying ourselves, humankind will look at this period 50 to 100 years from now and feel sorry for us. They will say in disbelief: Didn’t they understand that cultural differences are human made and maintained with the help of myths.