Danes & Cultural Values

The other day I found myself sifting through some old school assignments and handouts, and I fell over the article Danskeren og Værdierne by Anna Libak that really got me thinking.

The article talks about Danish culture and values, the modern Dane’s ego and explores the direction Denmark might be taking in the future. Having travelled quite a bit I have acquired a certain respect towards various cultures, including my own. Therefore it disheartens me that we live in a society that has detached itself from traditions and other affiliations; people change their job, attitudes, political standpoint, social circle and even their partner whenever they feel like it. We do what we want, when we want and no one will persuade us otherwise.

For todays average person most things are focused around themselves: as long as we are happy and content we don’t care too much about the consequences. Danish society is no longer about being solidary, listening to people more educated and older than us, and it is no longer about community before self-interest. These tendencies are hard to ignore and they seem to be thriving.
The question is: What does this trend mean for society and our community, and can we change it?

There is no doubt that ego has a bad effect on unity – something that has always been a big part of Danish culture. So perhaps this is a counter-reaction to exactly that, and if so, is it then possible to imagine a future counter-reaction to this one?
This gradual obsession with ego and individualism seems a revolt against traditional family patterns, nationality and conformism. Then could that not, in future, cause a counter counter-reaction?

If that doesn’t happen, then we could in worst-case scenario end up with our culture abolishing itself, and there might not be much more unanimity to speak of in Denmark. What happens then? Many of our laws and other important things for our societies survival have been built on community and conformity. We might very well end up shooting ourselves in the foot, while we blindly run around in our own cloud of selfishness. Our society will undoubtedly suffer if our sense of community is lessened, and we move a step closer to a time of individualism. We need solidarity in Denmark.

In the article Anna Libak writes that today’s Dane is an unpredictable acquaintance. This gives me the hope that we, in the middle of our celebration of ego, might still make a 360 and return to our traditional solidary society. Of course there should always be room for change and modification, as long as it doesn’t come at the expense of caring for each other and being ready to give a helping hand to people in need.

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