[ExI] two years in the slammer for blammisphy?

Tomasz Rola rtomek at ceti.pl
Wed May 12 14:39:06 UTC 2010

On Tue, 11 May 2010, spike wrote:

> Ja.  Out here in Taxifornia, we don't really know jack about the history of
> Europe.  All Europeans are tossed in with the ever shrinking pool of white
> people.  We are expected to know all about Mexico for some odd reason.  The
> many different brands of Asians have their own intricate histories and
> prejudices, which we white guys are completely unaware.  If I had a million
> years to live, I might spend a few of them trying to master it all, but for
> now it is much easier to just plead ignorance and not worry about it.

Sure, those subjects are wide. But ignorance is lulling. It is also 
deceiving those who choose it.

> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org 
> > [mailto:extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org] On Behalf Of 
> > David Lubkin
> > Sent: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 1:32 PM
> > To: ExI chat list
> > Subject: Re: [ExI] two years in the slammer for blammisphy?
> > 
> > Spike wrote:
> > 
> > >Perhaps Tomasz can clarify, but my interpretation is that 
> > the borders 
> > >of Poland fluctuated wildly over the centuries.
> > 
> > Most of my family came from towns that changed country. My 
> > grandmother, for instance, was born in what was Russia when 
> > she was born and is Poland now. Adults spoke Yiddish and the 
> > kids learned whatever the official language was at the time, 
> > so they could translate for their parents.
> > 
> > Should a Wikipedia article refer to Gdansk or to Danzig?
> > The issue is common, messy, and volatile. See
> > 
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Gdansk/Vote

Sometimes, IMHO, people debating this issue are forgetting about subtle 
details. The one I want to remember is this: for a very long time, Poland 
was really a multilingual, multicultural country. In our cities, for 
example, a big number of people spoke German. However, I doubt they 
considered themself to be Germans (as there was no Germany == Deutschland 
at the time, there was a big number of duchies, city-states, few kingdoms 
and one or two empires consisting of German-speaking people). When the 
time came, however, to choose "nationality", they chose to be Poles. Some 
of them chose otherwise, no problemo with this. This process took place 
some 150-200 years ago. So this not like saying that some or all of our 
cities should belong to Germany or something.

When it comes to Gdansk, for a long time it had been lying on the border 
between Poland (Kingdom of Poland, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth etc) and 
land belonging to Teutonic Knights (later known under the name of 
Prussia). It was an important hanseatic port, source of considerable 
income and we were fighting to keep it, so were the Teutons.

The Gdansk citizens themselves, seem to have been choosing sides as what
pleased them more. However, from what I have been taught in school, they 
more often choosed to be part of Poland than not. No surprise, there was 
quite a difference between Poland and Teutons - for example, I would not 
expect them to be tollerant to other religions, like Jews or Protestants, 
which we had here in great numbers. Teutonic Knights, mind you, was a 
religious order of christian chivarly. Later, when they converted into 
secular state of Prussia, they have also changed their faith into 
Protestantism. Still, I am not sure how they were dealing with other 

Anyway, there were times when Gdansk called for Polish support against 
Teutons (and received it... or not, sometimes we were simply too busy 
with other enemies). At least once Gdansk was strongly pro-Polish, this 
was the place where we had built a fleet that fought victorious sea war 
with Suedes.

As Poland went weaker and weaker, so Gdansk went into being Danzig more 
and more. Not much surprise here. Finally, Poland was no more (for some 
time), so there was not much to choose from. No surprise, again. After the 
WWI, we would have been pleased to get Gdansk back, however it had been 
decided (by "powers") to make it into a city-state. So much for Hitler 
demands "that we give him Gdansk away" - we don't give what we don't have, 
right? For about twenty years, Gdansk/Danzig went on under dual name, with 
two official languages (Polish and German). The intention of all this, was 
probably to wait and see, who becomes stronger in the long run and to give 
the city to a winner. So both countries continued to display their 
influence (no surprise again).

In the meantime, we were in need of a real sea port (we had a 
coastline, but no big port on it, this is why Gdansk would have been 
welcomed so much). So we have built ourselves a city not very far away 
from Gdansk and it is a city of Gdynia. IMHO, this was a great move. 
Gdynia was able to prosper better thanks to the nearby well-developed 
city (there is also Sopot there, too, a touristic hotspot). At the same 
time, our position in Gdansk/Danzig Free City had been strenghtened.

As Hitler rose to power, so Gdansk leaned towards being Danzig again. I 
believe, the majority of people living there were of German origin, and 
since the nationality concept was well developed, they thought of 
themselves as Germans. Well, for over a hundred years they were living in 
Prussia, so not much surprise, twenty years of Free City would not erase 

After WWII, Gdansk is Gdansk again. Nice way to sum this up, eh. A big 
number of Germans have been transported out of Poland and into Germany. I 
mean, those that have not been transferred deep into Soviet Union (they 
took civilians, too). I believe not all of them deserved such fate. This 
was not our decicion, more like it had been decided above our (and 
German's) heads. Actually, those who made it into Germany, probably 
considered themselves lucky. Even if today they may not remember about it. 
The "empty space" had been filled by people moved out from Polish eastern 
territory (our so called Kresy Wschodnie or in English, something like 
Eastern Edge) as it got to become part of Soviet Union.

Nowadays, all that is left from Gdansk' German past are historic 
buildings, old fotos and tales of people once living there. Perhaps I 
would have been able to accept it as Danzig but frankly, I feel much more 
comfortable thinking of it as Gdansk. Besides, there are not many ways to 
make it back. Not in a civilised world. I believe, in a civilisation as 
defined by so called "western standards" (which are derived from "latin 
standards"), there is no such way at all.

> > (I think it's useful for extropians to be conscious of the 
> > fervid ferocity that others bring to so many issues that we 
> > shrug over.
> > If only to restrain our own gush when discussing *our* 
> > passions with them.)

I don't think being conscious hurts. As marine soldier could have said it, 
pulling one's head from one's ass will not hurt more than the other way.

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at bigfoot.com             **

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