Posted by: bluesyemre | May 31, 2022

Will you receive food as a guest at someones house @WallySierk

This is blowing people’s minds, so as an amateur historian and sociologist I’m going to try to explain this development/ cultural artifact.

We can see that there is a strong correlation with The Northern Germanic cultures and it has to do with various adaptations and reactions to the specific honor /shame economy of the Norse “Empire” (what is commonly referred to as Viking culture).

This correlates with the strength of this practice in the Scandinavian countries, and the mixed practice in Anglo/Norse/Norman England and Norman France.

In Norse culture, hospitality (providing food, drink, lodging) was a duty of higher status individuals towards people of lower status, but the act of receiving hospitality created an obligation or debt on the part of the recipient.

So, hospitality not only brought honor to the giver, it had the potential to bring shame to the recipient. Norse culture, and as it progressed through the Middle Ages, was incredibly personally violent. People fought duels, violently extracted debts and squeezed renters

One of the challenges of the Protestant church in Scandinavia post 30 years war was to create a culture that tamped down on personal violence and civic unrest. Since the root of a lot of the interpersonal violence was competition for status and extraction of payment

The Church , with the framing of early Protestant Humanists began to promote the ideal of the free member of society, owing no one and owed nothing. If the culture could get rid of the interactions that caused friction, people could live more peaceful lives.

This became much more important in the very difficult 1700/early 1800’s, as population pressure, growing inequality and industrialization pushed a lot of Scandinavians out of the homeland and into America and other colonies. As people left and land changed hands,

And people signed colonization and settlement contracts, some elites manipulated the debts in order to extract more value from the average person, which crated a lot of pain. When people were able to escape debt, they felt a lot better. So, for the sake of egalitarianism

And reduction of conflict, they created a society that minimized the creation of debt and obligation, and maximized the ability of the individual/family to be self sufficient. This “not feeding the neighbor kids” weirdness Is about maintaining peace in the community.

You see the same ethic in the tales from Lake Woebegone , the passive aggression is small town Denmark and Minnesota, the stereotype of the Norwegian fisherman quietly drinking to keep from dealing with trauma, the ethics of Janteloven- it’s all about minimizing

Interpersonal conflict and maintaining civic peace. I personally think it needs to be moderated in order for people to live healthy complete lives, but I hope that the revulsion that many people were expressing will be tempered by understanding the source of it.


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