Anything but boring / part 1 ―
On being Swiss
Enter the word “Switzerland” into Google and then type “bor”. Its search engine will automatically suggest “-ing” to complete your search term. Not “bor-der” or “bor-n” but “bor-ing” – algorithmically legitimised. So that is what Google and the rest of the world think of us. However, we gave birth to Dadaism and created LSD. Le Corbusier was Swiss, Jean Luc Godard and Roger Federer still are. We invented nude hiking, the Alpine horn and “Schwingen” (so-called Swiss wrestling). Even the Internet (yes, Google, even the Internet!) was thought up by someone in Switzerland.
Quite a fertile land for ideas then, and not just for our 700,000 dairy cows. Essentially, we are a mixture of anarchists, nerds and “Heidis” – and apparently successful at it, too. The Global Innovation Index has listed Switzerland among the world’s
leading nations for a number of years, including once again in 2014. Nevertheless, we still appear a little “smaller” than other countries. And because the best way to make light of a difference is to make it into a strength, “less is more” has become something akin to our national motto. It is as much a part of being Swiss as the Matterhorn or the summertime traffic jams at the entrance to the Gotthard tunnel. As we have no natural resources, we have to make more out of less. We have little choice in the matter. Our resources are our minds and hands, and we use them on long winter nights in isolated mountain chalets, where there is nothing to do other than think for hours, come up with ideas or perfect the construction of small gadgets, such as watches, for example.
Published on Dec 22, 2014