An experiment on trust was conducted by dropping 192 physical wallets in 16 cities.
Helsinki, which also boasts that it doesn’t believe in comparing itself to neighbors, seems to be very proud that 11 out of 12 wallets there were returned to the owner.
As the famous Finnish poet Eino Leino once wrote: “Kell’ onni on, se onnen kätkeköön” (Don’t compare or boast about your happiness).
Kell’ onni on, se onnen kätkeköön,
kell’ aarre on, se aarteen peittäköön,
ja olkoon onnellinen onnestaan
ja rikas riemustansa yksin vaan.
Ei onni kärsi katseit’ ihmisten.
Kell’ onni on, se käyköön korpehen
ja eläköhön hiljaa, hiljaa vaan
ja hiljaa iloitkohon onnestaan.
How can you trust the Finns if they boast about happiness while telling everyone they’re so happy because they don’t boast about being happy?
“Being honest is a characteristic of Finnish culture – at least if we compare to other cultures,” said Johannes Kananen, a lecturer at the Swedish School of Science at the University of Helsinki.
Uh huh, compare to others again?
Returning a wallet in Finland might be symptomatic of something besides trust, such as a security that comes from sustainability (lack of want).
How about this for a translation of the poem?
If there is luck, let it be your luck,
when there is treasure, may it be hidden treasure,
and let him be happy with his happiness
and rich in joy alone.
No luck comes in being seen as lucky.
If you’re lucky, let it be
and live quietly, just quietly
and silently rejoice in your happiness.
Accepting where you are, what you are, means something quite different from cities where people go to acquire, change and become something else.
In that sense, Finland may feel secure about things happening to them, rather than having trust to make things happen. They reject change, if you’ll pardon the easy pun.
They return wallets as symbolic of things they have come to believe should and will happen (as a matter of faith), not because they have more trust.
Compared to 11 other European countries, Finnish residents with African backgrounds experience the most racism, according to a new EU report.
Racism is clear evidence of lack of trust, and also can be resistance to change.