The Law of Jante

It is hard to find anyone in any of the Scandinavian countries who does not know this law. Although the law exists since the beginning of civilization, it was only officially declared in 1933 by writer Aksel Sandemose in the novel “A refugee goes beyond limits.”

The sad truth is that the Law of Jante is a rule applied in every country in the world, despite the fact that Brazilians say that “this only happens here,” and the French claim that “unfortunately, that’s how it is in our country.”
Now, the reader must be annoyed because he/she read one paragraph and still does not know what the Law of Jante is all about, so I’ll try to explain it here briefly in my own words:

“You aren’t worth a thing, nobody is interested in what you think, mediocrity and anonymity are your best bet. If you act this way, you will never have any big problems in life.”

The complete Law of Jante (thank you Lars!)

Don’t think you’re something
Don’t think you are worth the same as us
Don’t think you’re smarter than us
Don’t think you’re better than us
Don’t think you’re wiser than us
Don’t think you’re more than us
Don’t think you’re good at anything
Don’t laugh at us
Don’t think anyone care about you
Don’t think you have anything to teach us

The Law of Jante focuses on the feeling of “power”. And this law is accountable for the world being manipulated in all possible manners by people who have no fear of what the others say and end up practicing the evil they desire. We see a huge abyss between the rich and the poor countries of the world, social injustice on all sides, unbridled violence, people being forced to give up their dreams because of unfair and cowardly attacks.

Mediocrity may be comfortable, up to the day that tragedy knocks at the door and people start to wonder: “but why did nobody say anything, if everybody could see that this was going to happen?”
Simple: nobody said anything because the others did not say anything either.

So in order to prevent things from growing any worse, maybe this is the right moment to write 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, go on living without fear and in the end you will win.”
(taken from “Like a flowing river””)