When I was a teenager, I saw myself to turning into a jerk. I fought with people for no reason, said obnoxious things in class and was generally pretty teen-like to my parents.
Even in my jerk state, I could see that I didn’t want to be one forever. I wanted to argue less and get along more. And for some reason, Switzerland embodied all that I wasn’t but wanted to be. Switzerland, above all things, is neutral. That’s good and bad: They skipped Vietnam, but they didn’t do anything about the Holocaust either. But for someone who brought up the fact that Mark Maguire was using steroids when my English teacher was trying to create a class discussion around an inspiring quote of his, neutrality was a worthwhile goal.
For a long time, my motto was “be like Switzerland.” As anal and judgmental as I am now, it could have been a lot worse if my motto had been “be like Germany.” Back then, and even now, I find comfort in the idea of a country that has stayed at peace despite everything happening around it. So often I let situations control me. But from WWII to the EU, Switzerland has remained Swiss, and has been neutral to everything.
Even though I’m sort of obsessed with the Switzerland, I didn’t actually know that much about the country outside of my admiration and two trips there. But I just read a lovely book called Why Switzerland? by Jonathan Steinberg that, at least to me, validated my fascination with the country.
It wouldn’t be very Swiss of me to force my esoteric interests on anybody, but still. It’s a country and an ideal worth considering.