There are those who call themselves Greeks who are, in actuality, frauds. It truly pains me to witness this hyperinflation of counterfeit egos: those who express an empty patriotism for Greece without nurturing a Hellenic conscience. This Hellenic state of mind is the result of a continuous development of reason; it is a set of genuine virtues; it is learning whatever one can in order to earn Western Civilization’s gold standard.
Everyday, I train very hard to achieve a Greek state of mind. Whether I’m studying educational trends in schools, forecasting the various volatile financial markets, or attempting to resolve a conflict in a personal relationship, I constantly attempt to achieve a Greek state of mind by separating my ego from my ignorance. Ladies and gentleman, this is the foundation of reason. It is the humbling exercise of discovering the undefined thoughts in our minds and differentiating what we really understand from what has been preached to us by “experts.” It is this kind of thinking—this Greek fire—that lit the imaginations of the world and spread to people like Aquinas, Galileo, Thomas Jefferson, and Michelangelo. It is this Greek state of mind that I strongly feel parents should strive to model to their children so that they might nurture the natural genius within.
But how can anybody really accomplish this? To start, it would mean demonstrating the courage to evict our own complacency. We have neglected a few generations with the misunderstanding that it is laudable to think and feel in an orthodox manner. There is a belief common to certain circles that the more orthodox a person promotes his or herself to be, then the more righteous he or she is. Is this belief consistent with a Greek state of mind?
To be both Greek and follow orthodox thinking is an oxymoron; in fact, it is a complete contradiction in terms. Yet, not surprisingly, to choose to be Greek Orthodox is a very Greek decision. So, too, is to choose not to be. Embracing the power of volition is what makes the Greek spirit the powerhouse of Western Civilization. This means that no one has a spiritual or intellectual monopoly on what one should do, how one should spend their time or money, or what ideas should be accepted as sacred.
As I analyze this new world economy, I notice a clash between individuals, countries, and cultures that have embraced a Greek state of mind, and those who have shamelessly ignored it. Also, there are the current schools and universities, the think-tanks of tomorrow, which have become dangerously obsolete refuges for the potentially unemployable. Plato and Aristotle’s legacy has been prostituted to support a toxic environment for learning. These are dark and turbulent times for Hellenistic ideals. Still, those who care to listen might hear the signal from the universe calling for strong virtues to be excavated from the mysterious and exciting depths of our experiences and insights. Igniting some Greek fire may rekindle the dwindled spark of our hearts and minds. It may also assure that we don’t breakdown into bankruptcy.
From the generation of our grandparents, most of us learned the correlation that exists between moral and economic values. A high regard for frugality stands out in my mind as one example. The history of our parents and grandparents has taught us the importance of compound interest, attention to values, controlling one’s emotions, the scales of fear and desire, and the evils of debt. These gems are invaluable heirlooms to model and pass to our children. I realize how extremely difficult it can be to arrest the addiction of spending, compound debt, casinos, and the shallow prestige of being a noble parasite, as some fraudulent Greeks like to boast about. To accept responsibility for one’s choices, and to strive toward integrity, while not transferring debt on to someone else, is a key litmus test for any Greek with honor. Undoubtedly, we have all heard the stories of our elders. Have we truly listened? I am genuinely fearful that these treasures of experiences aren’t appreciated and validated by those who claim to be Greek. To learn Greek is so much more than just learning a language, engaging in religious rituals, and partaking of delicious feasts. It is a state of mind that, as with anything of true value, must be earned.
Ignoring what is the nature of being Greek does have its consequences. There is the potential disappearance of villages as they amalgamate into towns, the towns into cities, and so on. Consequently, Greece amalgamates with the EU. Something is unsettling with this scenario. It is beyond the scope of this discussion to confront this potential crossroads and its economic implications. It doesn’t seem to matter what political or economic ideology a person subscribes to, there is something within a Hellenic conscience that has to shiver with this predicament.
What does Greece mean to you? A place to go for a swim, climb some mountains, or sail boats? Are we the kind of people who sell out for so little? Is Greece’s role in the EU to be what Cuba, Cancun, and Mexico are for North America? Is it to become merely a vacation or resort spot? Is it to be prostituted? A Greek state of mind does not need to devalue and debase into a third world mindset. What kinds of people are rewarded, or who are considered role models to our children, under this arrangement? It is as if many bright Greeks have been afflicted with a sudden case of amnesia as to what is the nature of being Greek. You are not Greek by default. Unlearn ignorance, and relearn what it is to be Greek and discover the golden genius that is within your self, your children, and one another. Before we allow the Hellenic tradition to sink, it is worth investing much time in trying to personify a Greek state of mind, embark upon new voyages, and to resurrect that treasure chest of hope.