marguslaidrelecture by 6GRR8e58


									3:01] Grid Blinker: Dear Guests, I am Grid Blinker, Marten Kokk in real life, and I work for
the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I will moderate this lecture and discussion after the
lecture. I am now pleased to present to you Mr Margus Laidre, Estonian Ambassador to UK
and Northern Ireland - Margus Dreamscape in Second Life, who is going to present his
lecture “Remembering the Future”.
[3:02] Grid Blinker: Margus has graduated from the University of Tartu as historian and he
has Ph.D in General History.
[3:02] Grid Blinker: He joined the Foreign Ministry in 1991. He has served as an
ambassador to Sweden and Germany and currently he is our ambassador to UK and Northern
[3:03] Grid Blinker: Margus has also been one of the Second Life activists and initiators of
creating Estonian representation to Second Life.
[3:03] Grid Blinker: The lecture will be held in English. You do not have to switch off your
mobile phones – which is the advantage of having lectures in Second Life.
[3:04] Grid Blinker: And now I give the floor to Margus Dreamscape, please.
[3:04] Margus Dreamscape: Ladies and Gentlemen
[3:04] Margus Dreamscape: William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer started it all, launching
the cyberpunk generation and introducing the world to cyberspace. The main character of the
novel, Case, was the hottest computer cowboy cruising the information superhighway –
jacking his consciousness into cyberspace, rustling encoded secrets for anyone with the
money to buy his skills.
[3:05] Margus Dreamscape: Then he double-crossed the wrong people, who caught up with
him in a big way and burned the talent out of his brain, micron by micron. Banished from
cyberspace, trapped in the flesh of his physical body, Case courted death in the high-tech
underworld. Until a shadowy conspiracy offered him a second chance…
[3:06] Margus Dreamscape: Does Second Life mean a second chance for my own country,
Estonia? I don’t think so. For small countries it is crucial to be visible in the everchanging
world. Using the words of the American linguist Noam Chomsky we should always be aware
that one can’t stand still on a moving train.
[3:06] Sonia Marksman: jou
[3:07] Margus Dreamscape: Therefore I regard Second Life rather as one possibility
amongst many others to reach where a small nation usually never gets in our physical world.
I would like to see it as a gateway between the past and the future, a possibility by which we
can remember the future. How would it be possible?
[3:07] Sonia Marksman: sry .-)
[3:07] Margus Dreamscape: Historians who are supposed to be specialists in the affairs of
the Past, are always being asked to speculate about the Future. Moreover, one is inevitably
led into the curious field of „the future in the past”.
[3:08] Margus Dreamscape: That is into the everchanging panorama of predictions and
analysis which were made in a Present that no longer exists. To review these predictions and
analyses can be a humbling experience.
[3:09] Margus Dreamscape: One is forcefully reminded of long-forgotten circumstances
that clouded, or at least influenced, one’s judgement. And one can occasionally be surprised
by the pleasant realisation that on one point or two the prediction was accuarate.
[3:09] Margus Dreamscape: The use of the term „History” in popular parlance means often
„dead and gone, irrelevant, passé” as in the classic line from a popular 1980s television series
Miami Vice: „Drop that gun or you’re history!”. Knowledge of history has surely always
been in the main one of two things.
[3:10] Margus Dreamscape: A cultural luxury goods having something of the status of an
acquired taste, or else a would-be- instrument for forwarding the interests and assisting in the
work of actual or prospective rulers.
[3:10] Margus Dreamscape: In the absence of grand narrative, able to give space and
meaning to historical particulars, historical unknowingness becomes something like the
normal human position. Historical unknowingness negates history by declaring historical
knowledge to be irrelevant to the life of the present and future.
[3:11] Margus Dreamscape: To put it another way – it’s easy to imagine that we ought to
remember the past. But we do not remember the past. It is the present that we remember.
That is we construct or reconstruct it on the basis of certain critical procedures. The relevant
motto is: remember the present, think the past and form the future. According to William
Gibson: „History can save your ass”.
[3:12] Margus Dreamscape: Speaking about remembering the future one should also ask –
who owns history? This question is actually not entirely correct because what is really being
asked is – who has the right to control what „we” remember about the past?
[3:13] Margus Dreamscape: The demand that the past should be remembered in the right
way is an insistent one, and historians are expected to do their part by those who pay them
and by those who feel that their own political, social and cultural imperatives are the
deserving ones.
[3:14] Margus Dreamscape: We should also acknowledge that in many situations people
suffer not from a deficit of history but from too much of it. Most notably the „memory” of
allegedly ancient conflicts often feeds into and intensifies violent conflict in the present.
When „past” comes up against „past” in such situations, people are all too often stuck in
contest of memories, i.e. without issue and that cannot be adjudicated in any clear way.
[3:15] Margus Dreamscape: In many cases the contests are unresolvable. One group
„remembers” in this way, another in that way. But what is more important is that these
contests are, or ought to be, irrelevant to whatever real issues lie at hand. The real issues
almost always pertain not to ancestral conflicts, real or imagined, but to differences in the
present and in the recent past.
[3:16] Margus Dreamscape: I think that one cannot have a memory of the past without, at
the same time, mourning a certain number of illusions, but also of hatred, or of love lost. The
idea of loss is important: there are no people in Europe today who cannot complain of having
lost something.
[3:17] Margus Dreamscape: Let’s say that to mourn is to learn to narrate otherwise. To
narrate otherwise what one has done, what one has suffered, what one has gained and what
one has lost. The idea of loss is fundamental to life. To live with loss, to mourn someone or
something that was lost – this also means forgiving oneself.
[3:18] Margus Dreamscape: Reconciliation consists in exchanging roles: each party
abandons its claim to be the only one occupying the train. Thus each party must renounce
something. This is difficult to implement in the real life but it is of utmost importance in the
process of remembering the future.
[3:19] Margus Dreamscape: Every nation has its formative moments, periods when new
metamorphoses are launched, when individuals and groups tell new stories about themselves
and when new sets of rules emerge through which identities are classified.
[3:19] Margus Dreamscape: Concerning Estonian history, one of these formative moments
took place between 1918 and 2004 and had the phases of emergence (1918-1939), oblivion
(1940-1991) and rebirth (1991-2004). We should take into account that the last phase may
not have ended yet.
[3:20] Margus Dreamscape: Hence history has assigned the task of creating and sustaining
identities of various kinds, making „us” who we are. Crucial to this task is the related
enterprise of commemorating the actions and sufferings of the groups that are thus identified.
[3:20] Margus Dreamscape: In order to find out whether a particular constitutive story is a
valid description of us, it must first be tested in interaction with others. Confirmation of
stories of the self cannot be given by just anybody, but only by those others whom the self
recognizes and respects as being of a kind with itself. To a state the circle of major
importance will therefore be made up of other states.
[3:21] SCDA Vestonia Guest Chair 1.2: Touch chair to change position.
[3:21] Margus Dreamscape: Special attention should be paid to cases when others deny
recognition to the self’s constitutive stories. In this case, the stories itself have three options:
to accept stories told about it by others, to abandon the stories that are not recognised in favor
of others or to stand by the original story and to try to convince the audience that it in fact
does apply.
[3:22] Margus Dreamscape: Thus, while the first two options mean that we accept the
definitions forced upon us by others, the third option means that we force our own definition
upon someone else.
[3:23] Margus Dreamscape: Meetings with „the other” have a timely, historical dimension,
in as much as the other, because of its associations with death, that ultimate other whose
coming is certain, define the future.
[3:23] Margus Dreamscape: Until we learn how to recognise ourselves as the Other, we will
be in danger and we shall be in need of diplomacy. This is important because the
confrontation with others causes fragility in that the other is truly different and this difference
is a threat to collective as well as individual identity. Therefore one must know how to tell
one’s story as seen by others. This is to say, for me to let myself be narrated by the other.
[3:24] Margus Dreamscape: History’s focus on what is dead and gone not only offers us
alternative concepts concerning how we might think and live. It also very often offers a
respite from the instant demand that the results of the inquiry into the human world be
tailored to the political demands of the moment.
[3:25] Margus Dreamscape: The 21st century world is far more dynamic and fluid than the
relatively stable and predictable period of the cold war. Such uncertainty will make the
practice of foreign policy more, not less, difficult.
[3:25] Margus Dreamscape: The world is being overtaken by a highly complex network of
networks, each consisting of interconnected and partially interlocking organisations. This sort
of set-up is very different from the old system of rival blocs and alliances where a country
had to belong either to one group or the other.
[3:26] Margus Dreamscape: Alliances require predictability – of outlook, obligations and
threat. But it is precisely this characteristic that is likely to be in short supply in a world
defined by shifting threats, differing perceptions and societies with widely divergent
readiness to maintain and use military force.
[3:26] Margus Dreamscape: Perhaps the main source of optimism lies in the existence of the
European Union. Unfortunately the most positive aspect of the EU is seldom noticed. It is
obscured by the misplaced obsession with purely economic considerations. But it gives a
place in the sun to Europe’s smaller and middle-sized nations.
[3:27] Margus Dreamscape: There’s a lot to be said about being small. Small countries
generally don’t start wars. They usually don’t have the arrogance of larger states. There are
also disadvantages. Taking the EU, for instance, will only move forward if there is a strategic
coalition of the willing that includes the key big states and at least some small countries.
[3:28] Margus Dreamscape: Nothing will happen unless the big countries agree to it. This is
a moment of opportunity for any small European country prepared to think big. It is my
sincere hope that my own country, Estonia, is ready for that.
[3:29] Margus Dreamscape: Actor John Wayne has written: „There’s a lot of things great
about life. But I think tomorrow is the most important thing. Comes in to us at midnight very
clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned
something from yesterday”.
[3:29] Margus Dreamscape: It is easy to remember the past – it has already happened and
you cannot change it. We can, however, change the present and the future. In fact, we are
living in the days of future’s past – something we call „the present”. We must remember that
we have a future and our decisions affect it. Do not forget your past, be aware of the present,
but remember the future. Thank you.
[3:29] Grid Blinker: Thank You, Margus. Now it is time for questions. You can actually ask
in Estonian or in English and you can ask about everything not only about the lecture.
[3:30] Grid Blinker: I can start myself - is Estonia visible in the United Kingdom? Is it big
in sense of visibility?
[3:31] Margus Dreamscape: It is asways a big challenge for a small country, but we try our
very best
[3:31] Grid Blinker: Any other questions?
[3:31] Ozzy Wozniak: great meeting :D thank you when is the next one ?
[3:32] Ozzy Wozniak: gerat talk
[3:32] Ozzy Wozniak: great talk
[3:32] Margus Dreamscape: End of Feb
[3:32] Grid Blinker: What is the first word people in the UK associate with Estonia?
[3:33] Margus Dreamscape: Perhaps the word would be "Poom"
[3:33] Margus Dreamscape: And of course I am talking about our famous goalkeeper Mart
[3:33] Grid Blinker: How many brits know this word?
[3:34] projekt Avro: How His Majesty Elizabeth II like to Estonia?
[3:34] Margus Dreamscape: I hope millions
[3:34] Grid Blinker: If I may change the topic - today we had sad news about Estonia’s
reputation as e-country fading. What can we learn from United Kingdom?
[3:34] Ozzy Wozniak:
[3:35] Margus Dreamscape: To Arvo. At her New Years reception Her Majesty mentioned
her State visit to Estonia in a positive light
[3:36] Kristjan Euler: what do you think about Estonia's future immigration problems?
[3:37] Margus Dreamscape: To Blinker: Best would be to address the question to the Brits
themselves, but I think that they are more flexible than us in many ways
[3:37] projekt Avro: When Estonia Embassy in Uk build sold?
[3:38] Margus Dreamscape: To Kristjan: Estonia is an open society and in many areas we
need professional workers
[3:38] Margus Dreamscape: To Kristjan: workers who are welcome
[3:39] Margus Dreamscape: To Arvo: our pre-war embassy in London was sold in late
[3:40] Grid Blinker: More questions?
[3:40] projekt Avro: When next to new Estonia Embassy? New aadress?
[3:41] Margus Dreamscape: We hope to move into our new premises during next couple of
[3:41] Ozzy Wozniak: interesting meeting do you have a web or blog to follow ?
[3:42] Margus Dreamscape: The embassy has a blog
[3:42] Ozzy Wozniak: ok got it
[3:43] projekt Avro: Thank You Mr. embassador Margus!
[3:43] Grid Blinker: If there are no further questions, thank you all, and especially
ambassador Margus Laidre. It was great pleasure having you with us here in Second Life.
[3:43] Ozzy Wozniak: thank you Mr. Embassador
[3:44] Margus Dreamscape: Thank you too, the pleasure is on my side.
[3:44] Taavi Kondor: Thank you, good bye!
[3:44] Grid Blinker: Next time will have other ambassadors talking to you in the end of
February. We will keep you informed.
[3:44] Ozzy Wozniak: thank you Estonia
[3:44] Tang Republic: Thank you

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