Getting a good upbringing

It’s funny, when I was brought up, both my parents and my school and books and TV; everything around me tried to teach me the virtues of life. Do not murder, do not steal, do not covet thine neighbours wife. People told me to be good, to live a good life, to do good things, to strive for justice. The funny thing is that as an adult, I have to say that none of the people who followed that advice turned out to be successful in life (by society’s standards; monetary wealth and outward happiness). Those who are most successful are more often than not criminals, who routinely break the judicial laws of society. Successful people are often sociopaths that have little regard or respect for other humans. If you look at who becomes a boss of a company, it’s not the good guy that everyone likes; it’s the psychopath that does whatever it takes to get what they want.

Having a son of my own makes me think of these things. Should I really teach him to do good things, knowing that he will probably live his life at a disadvantage compared to others?

I always had the dream of setting up my own society. It would start as a company, and then I would hire just the right people, to build up an organization with good guys. It would be a work place where people had fun, and where people got support if they were having a hard time. It would not be a capitalistic blood sucker that brainwashes people into quiet submission. However, even in running a company, which I have now tried two times, I find that my honesty stands in my way. People are not used to someone telling the truth; in fact I find that people are so used to being lied to that they prefer to deal with liars. So my own dream of working my way up to my own perfect little world has always remained a dream.

So what do I tell my son? Should I try to sponsor him to follow my own dream? Or should I embrace the cynic and tell him that you need to be hard and ruthless to get ahead, and then after having stolen and pillaged your way to a good position only then can you consider to possibility of doing some good? Maybe it is weird to wrestle with such thoughts. Perhaps it is a remnant of my Christian upbringing. But I really find this difficult to deal with; wanting to live a moral life and wanting that for my son as well, but also wanting my son to live a prosperous life with all his needs fulfilled. It is difficult for me to see how anyone could have both.

Is a good upbringing the path that leads to a prosperous life? Or is the good upbringing the path that leads to good morals and virtues? Should I work for my son to find the simple pleasures first of money and social standing, and only later go after the higher pleasures of peace of mind and internal joy? Or should I work for my son to go for the higher pleasures first, knowing that he will in all likelihood miss out on more simple pleasures like never having to wonder if you are able to pay all bills this month? It really doesn’t feel like an easy choice to make.

Coat of Arms

So I had some fun with designing a coat of arms for our family. Historically, the coat of arms was the symbol you coated your shield with so that everyone on the battlefield could take one quick look at you and they would know if you are friend or enemy. After a war, your family would have some land under your protection, where protection means the kind of protection that the mafia offers. So it became common for sons and their families to merge the coat of arms of the lands they were holding into one. If there is another war and you lose some lands, then you can later show that you have a strong claim to those lands because the symbol is in your coat of arms.

In terms of battle, the coat of arms should be as simple as possible. A blue field with a gold cross, would be a Swedish coat of arms. However, there are only so many combinations you can make with fields and lines and circles and such, so with the large population of Earth there has been an increased complexity of coat of arms designs.

In terms of inheritance, you should own some land in order to claim the coat of arms of that region. Every city typically has their own coat of arms, but no one today can be said to own or rule a city. We are no longer a feudal society. There are still some families with coat of arms that includes that of a city or other region, but then it shows more of a historic attachment to that land.

I focused on the ancestry of myself and Angsana. Her father stems from Japan, so I used the Japanese war flag. My father stems from Helsinki, Finland, so I used the boat in the coat of arms from that region. Incidentally, the boat looks a bit like a smile from a far, and Angsana’s mother’s family has a surname that means something like “the smiling ones”. Then I put the J√§mtland coat of arms from my mother’s side of the family and a Sing Buri lion holding an axe and rice for Angsana’s mother’s side.

Lindberg family coat of arms

I asked some people what they thought about this, and there were no end to the number of comments of dislike. Some said it’s too complicated and messy, so it should be much simpler. Some said that the Japanese war sun is similar to the Nazi swastika (which is used as a symbol for the sun all over Asia) in that it holds very negative value. Others said that I should not use symbols from a region unless I actually hold land in those regions. And so on and so forth.

Using some of the comments I tried my hand at something much more simple.

Alternative simple coat of arms for Lindberg only.

The Linden tree has heart shaped leaves, so that wasn’t too hard to find a representation of. Swedish colors are typically blue and gold, but white is also frequently occurring. I like the way it looks like the roots are dipping into the water. But this is only Lindberg, it has nothing to do with Angsana. So it’s actually only half of our family.

Including the Keeratijarut family is a lot more difficult than I would want it to be. I could just include the Japanese sun, but that is only a quarter of Angsana’s heritage. It wouldn’t look too bad though:

Another attempt at a simple combination.

There should be more of a Thai influence on this shield. So I went back to playing around with the arms from the beginning and ended up with a new combination.

King of Swedish forests and the king of the beasts, with axes reprsenting both Bang Rachan and Vikings.

Even with this simplification, there are a lot of small details in the horns of the elk, the tail and mane of the lion, etc. I wasn’t too happy about the simplification of the lion either, because kind of the point of the Sing Buri lion is that it has spirals on the body. The spirals represent power. But then I thought maybe I can use that to play around with as the Thai part of the coat of arms.

Why so serious?

In some ways, I really like this weapon. There is the boat on the water and the spirals can signify the winds blowing. The axes are a great symbol both for Bang Rachan when they were fighting off the invasion from Myanmar and also for the Vikings of Sweden. The way the axes are leaning on eachother makes it look like a mountain, which brings your mind to Lindberg (berg = mountain). The colors are both in the Swedish and in the Thai flag. However, it looks ridiculous, it’s like a bad joke of a coat of arms. It looks like a crazy and smiling person with a huge nose.

No matter how I try, I fail. So I am giving up. For now. Maybe I will come back to this project later.