The Psychology Of The Romanian People

CHAPTER 12 – THE PRESENT SPIRITUAL CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ROMANIAN PEOPLE Even when the villager's household doesn't come down to the worst poverty image, the house and the things around have an expression of ephemeral, of provisional. It is made of wood, set on the ground and covered with shingle or splinter. The weak foundation and the roof of such houses must rot regularly in 15-20 years at most. Building in brick and stone is something unknown, except in the mountain villages. Covering with tile is completely foreign from the peasants' habits. The way they build the cattle shed: a few poles in the earth covered with stalks or straw is just as improvised. Inside the house, even if the latter is relatively nice, and has 2-3 rooms, or also a storey above, the furniture denotes an ideal poverty, the comfort is totally neglected by the peasants. They sleep on board-bed, without mattress, without eiderdown. In most cases they don't even have proper tables, but a board set on some stakes and instead of chairs they have some long shingles, in which some stakes are again thrust. The kitchen dishes are as simple as possible. Poor or rich, the Romanian villager eats little, quite improvised, things that can be done in a hurry, in a few minutes. The only item to which the villagers paid special attention was the clothes; not the appearance of the house, but their clothes. Especially the peasant women have reached a certain refinement, they dress even luxuriously. The adornments they wear for holidays give them a noble, distinguished appearance. Something like an echo from the Roman noblesse seems to awaken then in their facial features and in their eyes. What comes out, as a general idea, from all these, is that the activity of the Romanian villager, and of the Romanians in general, is made and dominated too much by taking into account the "here and now." We live too much for the present moment and systematically neglect and don't consider the future, the little remoter future. The future, not being included into our plans, ruins everything it touches. It is in our nature to always build things made in haste and which do not last, on quivering ground. Hence, the peasant builds his house with the poorest means, in the shortest time, erecting it in a few weeks, so that in a few years it is already in ruin. Everywhere and in all our activities, we rely only on the present, we neglect the future, time doesn't concern us. "The Romanian peasant, says an anonymous French writer, is satisfied with taking from the land only what he needs in order to pay the master and to feed the family; then, having no confidence in the future, he loses all interest in working for himself." Wherefrom this indifference for tomorrow? Wherefrom this lack of foresight?Looking into things more closely, strange as it might seem at first sight, nobody will fail to realize that this lack of foresight is a sort of upside-down foresight. The Romanian's lack of foresight is a strange form of that sound spiritual trait, the foresight, which characterised deeply the Roman people. The indifference towards tomorrow, towards the future, is the result of the clearest foresight of tomorrow, is the outcome of the most exact calculation made on time, in a country with mobile geography, in which today's work and the work of a whole year is burnt and plundered in the twinkling of an eye. 1907

by Dumitru Drăghicescu (1875-1945)