In the last decade, especially after the economic crisis, which began in 2008, Estonians (along with the other nations residing here) have been searching for the meaning of life. I have read most of the Estonian Human Development Reports, but could not find the meaning from the latest Estonian Human Development Report for 2016/2017, “Estonia in the Migration Era”, either. 

Researchers and the authors have done a lot of hard work to write down everything, which is already known to us through the media. The document is kind of like a media monitoring piece of the most important news stories with a conclusion about the patient’s condition. For example: “The population of Estonia will not be lower than today by the end of the 21stcentury, provided that two conditions are met: the birth rate will increase and immigration is higher than emigration.” Any Vello, Pille, Toivo, Liisa or Jaan, Triin, Katrin or Janek could have figured that out. But who is supposed to make sure that these conditions are met?

A public discussion is pointless, unless we will attempt to suggest a treatment or therapy plan. It is even more pointless, if we cannot or do not even want to diagnose, what disease is ailing Estonia. 

Perhaps, the 100-year-old, elderly Republic of Estonia is in a very good shape, it only suffers from minor, age-appropriate problems, which cannot be treated and shouldn’t even be bothered with? My assessment to Estonia is: completely fine.

Strictly between us, I cannot think of a single very good, commonly known policies in Estonia, which would improve the welfare of the entire population, which I would like and believe in, but which has not implemented so far and is not planned to be implemented. There are some things, such as the Helsinki tunnel, but the arguments for and against the policy have been widely discussed in public. We know what can be done. And that’s what we’ll do.

What are they looking for there?

In debates, however, we are describing generally known problems, cursing the government for not solving the problems, while we don’t have any efficient ideas, the implementation of which would be keenly awaited by the society, ourselves either. Or at least the kind, which could be sold to the society.

The mindless wailing of “we are becoming extinct, help, what now” is very exhausting. Just like the “I don’t want to give birth, why do I have to?!” I am not at all concerned about Estonia. I am not concerned about the people emigrating and becoming Finnish. I do not think that we can beat historical processes and the reasonable mind adjusting to these processes.

My great-great-grandfather, Peeter (1851–1923), and great-great-grandmother, Miina Grossbaum (1864–1962), sold all their belongings in Estonia in the end of the 1800s, took their four children, stepped on a train and moved to Russia, because they were promised free land there. Of course, they returned a few years later, of course, they did not get any land, but they had the total of 12 children.


And seven of their daughters and one son lived to see adulthood. Here, in the poor Estonia. Well done.

We are in search of welfare today as well. If only we could get some land, if only we could get some money! But there is no country that could make us all happy. Because our happiness lies in having more welfare than others. The reputation of entrepreneurship is poor in Norway, as entrepreneurs earn their profits at the expense of someone else. Profits are evil, but everyone is demanding huge wages. And benefits. To ensure eternal life on earth.

Give from what you’ve been given, break from what you’ve been broken!

Unfortunately, a human life is very temporary. It has a beginning and an end. “People die — nations won’t disappear, the people live on,” wrote Johan Laidoner in prison in Kirov. He died, but his people live on. It doesn’t even matter whether every single person has successors, what matters is that the nation does. Laidoner’s son was killed, Konstantin Päts’s successors, however, must still bear with hearing their forefather being praised, criticized, and battered. Hopefully, it’s not bringing them down.

Miina’s granddaughter, 83-year-old Evi Soots from Karksi-Nuia, tells that her grandmother used to say: “Give from what you’ve been given, break from what you’ve been broken.” Miina, one of the daughters of whom, who came to age in the days of Nicholas II of Russia, aunt Anni, who used to babysit me as a child and lived to see the second term of office of Lennart Meri, was right. The meaning of the life of a person, Estonian or anyone else, is to share what they have been shared. If you were given life, give life. If a piece of bread was broken for you, break some for others.

Physicists are studying whether there is even such a thing as free will. “Local reality means for the physicists that everything, between which there is a causal relationship or which are related to one another, must be in contact with or at least in the vicinity of one another. Quantum mechanics, however, shows that entwined particles have an impact on one another even if taken to separate ends of the universe,” wrote ERR Novaator.

We may discuss, it is “intellectually interesting”, but to what extent can our Great Ideas change something? Perhaps, any kinds of efforts are fruitless?

The purpose of life is to exist

I dare to claim that looking for the meaning of the life of one’s nation (by politicians) is even shameful – they should at least first succeed in finding the meanings of their own lives. Because the thoughts expressed in words are extremely limited. When people are speaking, they able to express approximately 10% of the thoughts, which are generated by their brains at the same time. The 90% remains concealed from the conversation partner even in the case of the best wordsmith.

A person says: “I love you!”, but his or her conversation partner will never know what they actually meant by that. Since most relationships end in ruins (much more than a half, as most relationships never even end up in a marriage), it is clear that people do not understand one another anyway and do not even want to, they change their minds more often than they care to admit to themselves.

After the economic crisis of 2008, the amount of donations to the Tallinn Children’s Hospital Foundation dropped significantly. The members of the Council asked whether there was even a point in preserving the foundation. We came to the conclusion that the point of the foundation was not economical, but emotional – to be there, to give those interested a chance to donate. To heal the society, not just the ill. And this strategy has brought remarkable success in the last few years. We have received several inheritances, which could be donated by the donors because the foundation existed.

All people are motivated to live by different things. There are those who get a gleam in their eye from seeing a bottle of alcohol available at a favourable price (I just came from Riga by car and saw a SuperAlko store by the Riga-Pärnu Road).

The purpose of nobody’s life can be deemed insignificant, because the life belongs only to the person. The faith that bandying can turn around collectively occurring compulsions, such as make the rivers in Siberia run against the stream is, of course, blind.

Things happen whether we like it or not. I once asked Heinz Valk in a TV talk show: “Heinz, if we had not sung, if there had been no Singing Revolution, if we had, for example, danced instead, would we have not become free?” “Of course, we would have,” responded Heinz. “It was figurative.”

The purpose of my life is to exist. Others, including my children, may do what they like. And be as they like. Laidoner was wise: we die, but the people will live on.