Today, for the first time, I visited a meeting of the Estonian Society of Ancient Sciences that took place at the Tallinn Hotel Reval Inn. I was called there by a woman whom I know for years – Tiiu Kolts – an active and strong personality, and mother of two sons.
What is the Estonian Society of Ancient Sciences? – The Society was first established in 1988, thereafter anew in 2000, and is an example of alternative science and regional cooperation initiative.
Alternative science is not academic science. It needn’t be, it is a separate social mainstream.
Somehow, during the meeting, I started to think of the Estonian academic science today. I thought that Estonian science is completing its „transition from Soviet to West“, and that it has been a long and difficult process, since there are many new areas (market economy; competition law; freedom of religion, consequently everything connected with religion (art, symbols), freedom of expression, alternative developments, etc.) that did not exist, or were prohibited or suppressed during the Soviet era. The new generation has forgotten the Soviet period. Me too, since I communicated with mostly the religious people and cultural elite. But our roots still somehow extend to the Soviet era.
For example, I regret that for a long time I did not know how to access the social sciences databases and the contemporary research methods and consequently most of the scientific developments – Such is the price of transitions. Although the shift of paradigm in the society did not demand from me tearing down and rebuilding as much as I have had to build.
I remember the commencement of my studies at the University of Helsinki, where we were required to read scientific articles, without guidance for understanding what and why was important in those articles, what were the research methods used, etc. In addition, I did not have time and place for independently analysing those articles thoroughly. Instead of guidance, I was somehow always redirected to facts and content, rather than the research methods and mainstreams.
It takes an average of ten years to master one’s speciality in the social sciences, therefore I believe that the people who started in the middle of 1990s have reached their top level by now. And I do hope that as the awareness increases, more and more Estonian students will reach excellence on the world stage.