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Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Greek and - Great Greek Info

To some it may seem that I am obsessed, constantly writing and talking about things Greek. I am admittedly a poor excuse for a Greek. I wasn't born in Greece, neither were my parents or grandparents. I don't live in Greece, I am not a Greek citizen, don't have a Greek passport nor do I own property in Greece. 
You may be surprised to learn that I quite agree with you. Greeks are not better than any other nationality. I challenge you to find anything I have written that says anything of the kind.  
This of course does not mean that the innovative and exceptional brilliance of the Greeks does not stand out in sharp contrast to that of other civilizations. It was their curiosity,their relentless questioning, their drive to explain human existence that was the starting point for achievements in logic, criticism, history, philosophy, rhetoric, dialogue, tragedy and analysis.  
It is the critical consciousness handed down to us from the Greeks that is responsible for the ascendancy of the West.  Science, technology, individualism, liberal democracy, natural rights, no matter how they have been influenced by other factors, came to us originally from the Greeks.  All those "great and powerful" countries you talk about owe their success to the Greek values that they adopted. We are all Greeks.
The West has also been predominantly Christian. Christianity is a hellenized Hebraism.  A development and completion of it. It was the Greeks who made the spread of Christianity possible. It was the Greeks who brought it out of its birthplace into the known world. The Greeks made possible both the rationalism that fueled modernity and the moral counterforce that fulfilled the very real spiritual needs of human beings. 
Unfortunately, the modern West, despite its wealth and technological accomplishments, has morphed into a barren spiritual wilderness with a mediocre culture where appetite and its gratification are the driving forces. Its values may be your values but they are not my values. The people of the countries you speak of have not only abandoned Christianity in large numbers, they have abandoned the critical consciousness of the Greeks.  They have lost the understanding that Greeks had for the limits or inherent destructive implications of unbridled rationalism and freedom. 
Greece is a puny country, small and insignificant. Perhaps that is because they too have abandoned the wisdom of their ancestors in exchange for the illusory and transient wealth of the mighty.  Yet, even the puny can sometimes teach the mighty valuable lessons and Greek history, throughout the ages, is replete with such examples. 
Greeks are not constrained by boundaries and by the small minds that create them. Our values are timeless. I will continue to teach my children Greek values: to question and look at the world critically, to value the dignity and worth of the individual, to love freedom. More importantly, I will teach them the central importance of a loving God in their lives. 
You see Ardi, Greek values are universal values that we ignore to our detriment. They are not the  exclusive possession of the Greeks who gave them freely to the world nor are they something the mighty can buy.  A country's worth is not determined by its possessions or its power, it is  determined by the content of what is in the hearts and minds of its citizens.  Poverty of the soul is poverty of the worst kind.

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