Sunday, May 19, 2013

Jante Law

The Jante Law refers to a pattern of group behaviour towards individuals within Scandinavian communities, which negatively portrays and criticizes success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate.

It has been observed as a form of behaviour for centuries, but was identified as a series of rules, the Jante Law, by the Norwegian/Danish author Aksel Sandemose in his novel "A fugitive crosses his tracks", where he portrays the small Danish town Jante, where nobody is anonymous.

Generally used colloquially as a sociological term to negatively describe an attitude towards individuality and success claimed to be common in Scandinavia, it refers to a supposed snide, jealous and narrow small-town mentality which refuses to acknowledge individual effort and places all emphasis on the collective, while punishing those who stand out as achievers.

The term may be used by those individuals who feel they are not allowed to take credit for their achievements, or to point out their belief that another person is being overly critical.

There are ten different rules in the law as defined by Sandemose, but they are all variations on a single theme and are usually referred to as a homogeneous unit: Don't think you're anyone special or that you're better than us.

The ten rules are:
1. Don't think that you are special.
2. Don't think that you are of the same standing as us.
3. Don't think that you are smarter than us.
4. Don't fancy yourself as being better than us.
5. Don't think that you know more than us.
6. Don't think that you are more important than us.
7. Don't think that you are good at anything.
8. Don't laugh at us.
9. Don't think that anyone of us cares about you.
10. Don't think that you can teach us anything.

A further rule recognised in the novel is:
11. Don't think that there is anything we don't know about you.

In the book, those Janters who transgress this unwritten 'law' are regarded with suspicion and some hostility, as it goes against communal desire in the town, which is to preserve social stability and uniformity.
- Wikipedia

Now, this is generally considered to be Scandinavian phenomenon, but it works everywhere. There will always be people who have problems with people who seem to be this and that, whom they assume to think this and that about themselves and others. "Full of himself" and "Goody-two-shoes" :)
"You can repeatedly say that you know nothing and that you question everything, including your own beliefs, but you can still act in a way that seems to indicate that you know you are right and others are wrong."

With other words
"*I assume* you think you are right and others are wrong because *I see* the way your act in a certain manner :)"


The Law of Jante according to Paulo Coelho

the anti-Law of Jante:
"You are worth far more than you think. Your work and presence on this Earth are important, even though you may not think so. Of course, thinking in this way, you might have many problems because you are breaking the Law of Jante -- but don't feel intimidated by them, go on living without fear and in the end you will win." 

Here is Bearcy's explanation and anti-law

1. You are exceptional.
2. You are more worthy than anyone can measure.
3. You can do something special.
4. You have got something to give to others.
5. You have done something you can be proud of.
6. You've got a bundle of unused resources.
7. You are good at something.
8. You can accept others.
9. You've got the capability to understand and learn from others.
10. There are someone who love you.

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