Saturday, July 2, 2011

Blogging As Wheat And Chessboard Problem

Hungary being the first EU presidency to allow bloggers into the councils meeting reminds me of the story surrounding the famous wheat and chessboard problem.

The invention of blogging is like the invention of the chessgame. There are several stories of who invented the chessgame, but nobody actually knows for sure who it was. Who was the first blogger? Nobody actually knows.

The story goes that the inventor of chess was invited by the King, who was so impressed he asked him to name his price. The humble inventor asked a very modest price:
"for the first square of the chess board, he would receive one grain of wheat (in some tellings, rice), two for the second one, four on the third one, and so forth, doubling the amount each time."
That happens to be much more wheat than exists in the whole world. In fact, that amount of wheat would probably just fit in a building 25 miles long, 25 miles wide, and 1000 feet tall.

A smart question that demonstrates that Kings or governments can't make our dreams come true. The dreams of bloggers, whomever we are. A small fish restaurant in the heart of Brussels or a diaspora blog on politics in the great lakes region.

The beauty of blogging transcends the possibilities of the EU to satisfy our curiosity, our imagination and creativity. Just like chess, blogging is a game that has it's own gratifications. Off course Europe can give some recognition to bloggers.

The bloggers invited by the Hungarian presidency remind me of the chess players at trainstations in Budapest. You spsend some money on them, and they will play for you.

Herman van Rompuy's speech "revitalising the European dream" at the first State Of the European Union quoted the words of French writer Antoine de Saint Exupery:
"If you want to build a boat, don't give orders to your men and women, but instill in their hearts the desire for the sea"
Herman van Rompuy says in that speech also: "
in order to make the dream come true, you got to live the dream. If on the other hand one lives the nightmare, the nightmare risks becoming true!"
Both nightmare and dream are part of the story behind the classic "Wheat and chessboard problem"
On the one hand the dream of the king who thought he could satisfy the aspirations of his subjects turned sour.

The dreams and aspirations of European citizens might look small like a rice grane, but in reality these dreams and aspirations transcend the imagination and capabilities of policy makers.

This uncharted field of unknown aspirations that are all around us, is a very intriguing subject.

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