Daniel reads texts, writes texts, sharing stories and ideas and advice. He wants to help others to live happier lives, and he achieves this goal through his texts Debesyla page. Šviesu.lt has a very similar goal, so we have this in common (apart from the vegan breakfast, it turns out). Daniel shares his thoughts with so much sincerity and enthusiasm, and I'm glad I had the opportunity to ask him some questions.
For your attention - Danielius Goriunov.
What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?
When I was 12, my parents told me:
"Daniel, you have a great future. You will use the genes we have given you, the knowledge you are about to acquire, find your true soul and change the world around you. You are destined for a great future and only you, Daniel, can make it happen."
...Well, could it be that I'm mixing this with the video promise of Fable, which I played when I was about 12. A video game about a boy with a great future that he creates for himself.
From about the age of 12, I discovered video games and their stories; their effects and systems; their worlds and spells. By the time I was 19, I was playing video games and there was only one thing I wanted to do: finish this game.
Finish. Damn it. Because there's no point here, you have to finish it by shutting yourself in the room and locking the door, so that no one disturbs you. Finish it no matter what they say.
There were a lot of games, so I never got to the end. The 99th level of fire in Runescape wasn't the end, nor was the stabbing of LK 25hc in World of warcraft.
I thought I wanted to be an architect. But really, I knew nothing.
What are the most important skills in your profession and how did you manage to master them?
Now, having circled the nearest star to Kaunas 25 times, I work as a writer and teacher.
Perhaps my innate desire to unravel complex systems and put them in place helps. After all, that's why I was so fond of fantasy books - to see how this story of "The Foundation", "Blackadder" or "The Witch" would end.
My job requires:
1) Consume a lot of information;
2) Take it until you get sick;
3) Use it until you understand it;
4) Laziness, digestion;
5) Once digested, extract the information and present it to readers and listeners.
I am like a rabbit. Because they have a very short intestine, they only digest their food the first time, processing it with bacteria, and the second time they eat their poo, they digest it and take in the nutrients for the final time.
My work requires a lot of information. And when consumed, present it in an interesting, memorable way.
For example, maybe in the future someone will imagine me as a pooping writer? ...And then remember the fact about rabbits?
If it remembers, it means I've done my job properly.
What would you consider to be your greatest achievement and what have you done to achieve it?
I don't know.
...I don't know, none of my work feels like a "major" achievement to me. I don't know if they seem "big" - they all seem to have been born out of smaller achievements!
I wrote the book because I was tired of sitting and thinking about it. I didn't want to become my mother, who instead of doing things only complains about problems.
I started a blog because I was tired of hearing my friends complain about how bad their lives were - I wanted to get it over with.
I once loved a girl. And a boyfriend. And my grandparents. I'm not saying I don't love anymore, it just happened once too.
Once I almost died in a car accident. Since then, I've been terrified of driving near the Furies in summer. But anyway, *shrugs*, if I had died, it wouldn't have mattered.
I once went on stage and spoke about what I believe without any preparation. I talked nonsense. Now I repeat it every time - because if I don't improvise, I won't learn.
"Greatest achievement" is a harmful concept, because each of our works is made up of countless smaller achievements.
...A person who has had a "great achievement" in the past will now be sad because he has done nothing greater. He who has not experienced such an achievement will be sad because he thinks he has done nothing...
But everything is made up of infinite meaningless particles!
How does your choice of profession affect your happiness?
This weekend I helped my parents. They were building a new gazebo, and I was invited to paint the balks and boards.
I wanted to run away screaming.
Give me something where I can experience the thrill of improvisation and creativity! Something where I can create once and sell three hundred! A book, an article, a lesson. Please.
I have worked as an insurance broker. The slowness, security and calmness also made me feel tragic.
I guess if I wasn't a writer/teacher, I'd be a military officer or an STT investigator - without a heartbeat, security clamps down on the brain.
What would you do if money didn't exist?
...And do they exist?
I rarely see money anymore. I need about 250 euros a month (for food, electricity, water and transport); I earn a steady income of about 400; I only pay by bank transfers and cards... So, hmm, I don't have a connection with them.
Yes, I'm afraid for the future. I know that if I don't try, I won't earn a penny. This is not like a job at Sodra, where you get paid to sit around and make life difficult for writers/teachers. But anyway, ai.
I'd love to set myself a new challenge!
What new skill (career-related or not) would you like to acquire in the next year?
I'd like to write better headlines for articles and letters, because they make a big difference to how many people read my articles and letters, and how much I earn.
So, yeah, I've been looking for some time now for a better person to learn these secrets from!
If you could say one sentence to yourself as a 12-year-old, what sentence would it be?
"You will become something you never thought you could become. Your future is blurred as the world rushes past you at breakneck speed. Observe your surroundings, be with them, go with their rhythm, and inevitably God will put everything in its place."
What is the lack of teaching in schools?
Philosophies. I don't understand what idiot, to put it mildly, included Ethics/Science but left out Philosophy?
Of course, it goes without saying that all those exact sciences (and strictly formulated Religion/Ethics themes) help to educate the "whole" person. But isn't philosophy the basis of all science and creativity?
Isn't it because of the thought "But it could be different!" Elon Musk focused on the vision of electric cars? Wasn't it the same idea that led Martin Luther King Jr. to fight for equal rights for the world's citizens? Wasn't it the same idea that led Adolf Hitler to choose the path of murder?
Yes, philosophy alone will not help. Ethics is also needed - after all, killing or committing a holocaust is not very happy or fantastic.
...But it is only through freedom of thought that new things are created. Good or bad, important or not so important, but definitely new.
Philosophy is the foundation of creativity. Philosophy empowers the weak and tames the too strong.
(The second most important discipline, by the way, would be ethics. History would be third, because it is the one to learn from and not repeat bad ideas.)
If you were to give a lecture to all Lithuanian universities, what would it be about?
It would be about why you don't need university science if you don't believe in it.
If you're studying for a diploma, you're better off going for a diploma instead, and gaining social skills to get into a hotter job. If you are studying for skills, why are you learning skills through books instead of practice?
Diplomas are not important now.
More important is discovery and the creation of new original works. And only by studying what you love and believe in (even if others don't) will you achieve much! Just like LSU Rector Albertas Skurvydas, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė or many other people who believe in what they do.
Well, at least that's what I believe. I may be completely joking, which may well be the case, so you'd better ask me that question in 20 years' time when I'm older.
If you could read one book for the rest of your life, what book would it be?
"The Sloth Manifesto is a book about the benefits of laziness for our lives, health, creativity and productivity. It's a book that I wrote and it was advertised here.
* Wide grins *
Okay, and on a more serious note, I would probably read "Who am I?" by Richard David Precht. - an introductory textbook of philosophical ideas, which I recommend everyone to read. I myself keep reading it every few years.
What would your perfect day look like?
1) Wake up
2) Get dressed
3) Wash your face and comb your moustache
4) Play a piece of classical music, a good place to start is with Beethoven's "Ode to Joy", a variation of the European Union anthem
5) While you're singing "Freude, schoener Goetterfunken..." make a breakfast, vegan
6) Eating while watching a new episode of Kurzgesagt
7) Answer a few of Migle's interview questions
8) Sit down to prepare new articles
9) After writing about 4 hours of reading, watching, listening and gathering information
10) Finish answering interviews
11) And likely to go to bed. Until morning!
Every few days, go to one of the countless cafés in Kaunas, chat with their baristas, and enjoy the out-of-home atmosphere. Sometimes to go to the sea or to the Lithuanian forests.
Other than that, I'm pretty happy with what I have, and I don't have any big dreams. I could probably live in Vilnius, although I don't like that damned rushing city, the New York of Lithuania. Give me books and ice-cream, and that will be enough for me. :))