Economics: Greek disburdenment

3 07 2015

Dear Solon,

Friend and poet, to where have you disappeared?

Please rise from wherever you are. We the Greeks, and the whole of Europe, are at a crossroads; we so desperately need you to listen and translate messages from the Oracle.

Is there no pupil of yours capable of immediate travel to Delphi? This is of utmost urgency.

We need you to write us a new poem.

Please can you help us to better understand what you meant when you asked us Athenians to “take the mid-seat, and be the vessel’s guide”?

Because things have come full cycle you see, once again the cycles of economic and political deadlock weigh heavily upon us all.

And it is for Greece as it is for the whole of Europe. Perhaps the whole of the West.

We are once again questioning our ideals around economic growth and prosperity. Questioning whether democracy may constrain and destabilise our national–our continental, our global–stability.

Is it true that the original meaning of the word demokratia was coined by aristocratic members of the Greek public – the rich elite who did not like being outvoted by the common people? Did demokratia originally mean ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’? I do remember that Plato warned us about the economic consequences of democracy–that “democratic leaders would rob the rich, keep as much of the proceeds for themselves and then distribute the rest to the people.”

Although we celebrate democracy today, and over half the world’s population live in a democracy, our modern governments continue to maintain complete control of our economy. The political elite, despite being elected by the masses, remains dominated by an aristocracy of birth. Even in America, we bear witness to political positions of the highest offices, kept within family blood lines, even shared among spouses.

Do you recon John Adams was right when he told us to remember that “democracy never lasts long”? “It soon wastes,” he said “exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide. It is in vain to say that democracy is less vain, less proud, less selfish, less ambitious, or less avaricious than aristocracy or monarchy. It is not true, in fact, and nowhere appears in history. Those passions are the same in all men, under all forms of simple government, and when unchecked, produce the same effects of fraud, violence, and cruelty. When clear prospects are opened before vanity, pride, avarice, or ambition, for their easy gratification, it is hard for the most considerate philosophers and the most conscientious moralists to resist the temptation.”

You may be surprised, but Greece today is not so radically different from your time. There is a loss of confidence in all our institutions–the rich, the poor, the middle, have all lost confidence in the formal structures that are meant to sustain us. The eupatridae (some are simply disguised as others) continue to monopolize government and own the best land; poor farmers continue living in debt; the middle classes of middling farmers, merchants and artists remain excluded and resentful of government. The lack of trust in our political leaders has cast a terrible spell of doubt that leaves us unable to depend upon the institutions we once so desperately believed in. This lack of trust means that despite the passing of so much time, we never corrected our tax-collection system.

What is worse, and most pressing at this precise moment, is that our relations with neighbouring countries are growing sour. As it was in the past, the major neighbouring powers continued to have a strategic interest in ensuring Greece’s stability. Although we have continued to be capital-poor and import-dependent, although we have been unable to rid ourselves of a political culture of patronage, our neighbours have insisted in helping us build up our economy. Build up to what? you might wonder. I too wonder. You would be shocked to learn that we have long since forfeited our fiscal sovereignty to external creditors. Our monetary policy is in the hands of the Germans not the Greeks. At least at the moment.

debt. or to use your words: disburdenment.
i so often wonder how much ideas are worth.
the value of ideas and ideals
monarchy, tyranny, oligarchy democracy:
all borrowed from the Greeks.

Perhaps you would not be surprised, but creating and collecting debt remains good business the world over. Oh, I do remember dear Solon, your first public measure–the enactment for existing debts to be remitted. This act of humanity, and to the augmentation of measures and the purchasing power of money, relieved the poor not by a cancelling of debts, but by a reduction of the interest upon them.

Currency. Do you remember how you made the mina to consist of a hundred drachmas, which before had contained only seventy-three? I wonder if something like that is possible today. The Euro is our modern-day, shared currency, used as mechanism to maintain “stable” economic unity across Europe and grow (“together”). Member states (there are 19 of us) are allowed to issue euro coins, but the amount must be authorised by what we call the ECB beforehand.

Along with a number of other nation states, our most recent debt crisis began in 2009. We Greeks stopped hiding it and came clean about the extent of our indebtedness and openly communicated the imminent danger of a Greek sovereign default.

The future of Greece now rests in the hands in democracy–demokratia.

Dear poet, please shine your wisdom upon us, help us be the vessels guide.

εν αναμονή συμβουλή σας

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Agape and the habitation of symbols

20 12 2014

One who has control over the mind
is tranquil in heat and cold,
in pleasure and pain,
and in honor and dishonour.
– Bhagavad Gita

 The world is a parable — the habitation of symbols — the phantoms of spiritual things immortal shown in material shape. May the blessed second-sight be mine — to recognize under these beautiful forms of earth the ANGELS who wear them; for I am sure we may walk with them if we will, and hear them speak.
– Maud Ruthyn in Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, Uncle Silas, Conclusion

Dear Anarchist,

My name is Philomena and I am 8 years old. I am writing to you because I think there has been some misunderstanding. A couple of months ago I was walking past this wall and noticed what you wrote: “Fuck Israel, No Controla.” I didn’t know what it meant so I asked my mother. She explained that Israel ιs a country and that the word fuck was possibly being used because you were angry at Israel.

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– – How can a person be angry with a country? I asked.
– Yes, it is a strange thing to be angry with a country. I suspect that this anarchist, like many anarchists, is actually angry with the people governing the country—the people making decisions on behalf of the people living in the country. Because they feel there is nothing they can do about their frustrations, because they feel they don’t have a way to influence what’s going on in the world around them, they make their feelings known any way they can.
– What do we here in Nea Makri have to do with Israel?
– Well nothing directly, but perhaps the artist who wrote on the wall wants to let us know that there are things going on in the world that we should be more conscious about.
– Like what?
– Well leaders often forget that the people of the world all come from one family. When leaders make the mistake of thinking about the world as a game of us vs. them—of winners and losers. When leaders think about the world in terms of absolutes—where there is only one right answer. When leaders stop listening to voices of the people.
– Isn’t it the job of leaders to listen to the people?
– Yes, but they don’t always. Sometimes they become too powerful and lose their capacity for empathy. They’ve stopped feeling what the people feel. They’ve sort of detached from the people. Anarchists, like the one who wrote on this wall, probably don’t trust in their leaders—they don’t trust in their government anymore.
– Can we erase these words? It just doesn’t seem very nice to look at.

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So you see, dear Anarchist, it was my idea to cover up what you wrote on the wall.

My mom and I had an idea for something we would put up on the wall as a message to you to make you feel that your neighbours understood how you were feeling. We wanted to make an art work to symbolise peace. But we didn’t get to it in time and so then you came back to the wall thinking that the police erased your message to Israel… and you were even angrier at the police, angrier at leaders in control. But it was me. Me and my mom who erased your words, not the police. My mom explained to me some of what is going on in the world today. How leaders mix religion with politics and in so doing lose the spirit of God within them.

I’m sorry you were so angry and thought it was the police.

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In response to this, we began experimenting with a number of ideas for a painting for you:

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photo 2photo 3
photo 5And then we finally came up with the painting below. It is meant as a symbol of hope that together we can embrace the spirit of God and find universal harmony somehow by listening to the sound of the earth’s vibrations. We are all children of the earth. We are all brothers and sisters. Please accept this as our gift to you and do not be angry. I pray that together as artists we can help the world to place greater faith in our extraordinary creative capacity for imagination and imagine for ourselves a world of peace.

With love,
Philomena (my mom says my name means daughter of light and love)

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THE BRAIN is drawn as a maze encasing a number of religious symbols. We humans often make the mistake of interpreting God with our minds, which only leads to a fragmentation of the spirit. Perhaps we can strive to find unity through the vibrations of a shared spirit that rests in our hearts instead of our head.

The PACHAMAMA: who sits at the entrance to the maze is the goddess of the Andes region of South America. She is seen as mother earth and mother time.

THE BOAT or OSRAM NE NSOROMMA: “The Moon and the Star” is a symbol from West Africa that is meant to reflect the love and harmony that exists in the bonding between a man an a woman.

THE ANCHOR: The Anchor is a Symbol of both hope and steadfastness. Each time we raise our anchor we leave the stagnant portion of our life behind to begin a new journey, a new era of our life filled with a cleansed spirit of dreams and new aspirations. We are steadfast in our vision of the pursuit of our new dreams.

The moment we decide to drop our mental Anchor once more is the moment we finally say to ourselves “here is where I now stand” and “these are the rules I will govern myself by. We are them able to ground ourselves and feel stable despite the might the waves, tides, and currents. When we are properly anchored we are able to trust confidently in the skills and knowledge that lie in the subconscious realm of our inner-self; our God-within; our Atman. (you can read more about symbolism of anchor here: http://www.aseekersthoughts.com/2012/02/anchor-as-symbol.html)

——————————thank you sweet Σοφία Μ for translation.

Αγαπητοί Αναρχικοί,

Ονομάζομαι Φιλομένη και είμαι 8 χρονών. Γράφω σε εσας επειδή θεωρώ πως έχει συμβεί κάποια παρεξήγηση. Μερικούς μήνες πριν, περπατούσα μπροστά από έναν τοίχο και παρατήρησα πώς είχατε γράψει “Fuck Israel, No Controla.” Δεν ήξερα τι σημαίνει οπότε ρώτησα την μητέρα μου. Εκείνη μου εξήγησε πως το Ισραήλ είναι μια χώρα και πως χρησιμοποιήσατε την λέξη “fuck” eπειδή πιθανόν είστε νευριασμένοι με το Ισραήλ.

  • Πώς μπορεί ένα άτομο να είναι νευριασμένο με μια χώρα? Ρώτησα
  • Ναι, είναι περίεργο πράγμα να είσαι νευριασμένος με μια χώρα. Η αλήθεια είναι πως αυτοί οι αναρχικοί, όπως όλοι οι αναρχικοί , είναι στην πραγματικότητα θυμωμένοι με αυτούς οι οποίοι κυβερνούν αυτη την χώρα – με τους ανθρώπους οι οποίοι πέρνουν αποφάσεις εκ μέρους των ανθρώπων που κατοικούν σε αυτή την χώρα – και επειδή νιώθουν πως δεν υπάρχει τίποτα που μπορούν να κάνουν , επειδή νιώθουν πως δεν υπάρχει κατι που μπορουν να κάνουν ώστε να επηρεάσουν τον κόσμο γύρω τους , εκφράζουν τα συναισθήματα τους με όποιο τρόπο μπορούν.
  • Τι σχέση έχει το Ισραήλ με την Νέα Μάκρη?
  • Λοιπόν όχι άμεσα, ο καλλιτεχνης που το έγραψε ήθελε να μας ενημερώσει για τα γεγονότα που συμβαίνουν στον κόσμο για τα οποία πρέπει να προβληματιστούμε …
  • Όπως ?
  • Λοιπόν οι αρχηγοί των κρατών συχνά ξεχνάνε πως οι άνθρωποι του κόσμου προέρχονται από την ίδια οικογενεια. Κάνουν το λάθος να πιστεύουν πως ο κόσμος είναι ένα παιχνιδι για χαμένουν και νικητές. Όταν οι ηγέτες βλέπουν τον κόσμο με όρους και προυποθέσεις – τότε υπάρχει μόνο μία σωστή απάντηση. Όταν οι αρχηγοί σταματάνε να ακούνε τις φωνές των ανθρώπων …
  • Δεν είναι η δουλειά τους να μας ακούνε?
  • Ναι αλλά δεν το κάνουν πάντα. Καμιά φορά γίνονται τόσο ισχυροί και χάνουν την δυνατότητα να αντιλαμβάνονται τις ανάγκες μας. Σταματάνε να νιώθουν ότι νιώθουν οι άλλοι άνθρωποι. Οι αναρχικοί όπως αυτοί που γράψαν αυτό στον τοίχο πιθανότατα δεν εμπιστεύονται τους ηγέτες .
  • Μπορούμε να σβήσουμε αυτές τις λέξεις? Δεν φαίνεται πολύ ωραίο να το κοιτάς.

Οπότε όπως βλέπετε, αγαπητοί αναρχικοί, ήταν ιδέα μου να καλύψω αυτό που γράψατε στον τοίχο. Η μητέρα μου και εγώ είχαμε μια ιδέα για το τι θα μπορούσαμε να βάλουμε στον τοίχο για να καλύψουμε αυτό το μύνημα για να κάνουμε τους γείτονες να καταλάβουν πως νιώθετε. Θέλαμε να κάνουμε ένα έργο τέχνης με μυνήματα ειρήνης. Αλλά δεν το ετοιμάσαμε στην ώρα μας και μετά ήρθατε εσείς στον τοίχο και νομίζατε πως το μύνημα το έσβησαν αστυνομικοί, επειδή ήταν θυμωμένοι με τους αναρχικούς. Αλλά ήμουν εγώ. Εγώ και η μαμά μου σβήσαμε αυτές τις λέξεις. Η μαμά μου, μου εξήγησε τι συμβαίνει στον κόσμο αυτές τις μέρες και πως οι ηγέτες συγχέουν την θρησκεία με την πολιτική και πως με αυτό τον τρόπο χάνουμε την πίστη μας.

Συγνώμη που θυμώσατε και νομίζατε πως ήταν η αστυνομία.

Σαν απάντησε σε αυτό , ξεκινήσαμε να πειραματιζόμαστε με διάφορες ιδέες για να ζωγραφίσουμε για εσάς

Και μετά επιτέλους καταλήξαμε σε αυτή την ζωγραφια. Η οποία είναι το σύμβολο της ελπίδας όπου μαζί με το πνεύμα του θεού θα βρούμε κάπως την αρμονία ακούγοντας τα μυνηματα της γης. Όλοι είμαστε παιδιά αυτού του κόσμου. Όλοι είμαστε αδέλφια. Σας παρακαλώ αποδεχτείτε αυτό σαν δώρο για εσάς και μην είστε άλλο θυμωμένοι. Προσεύχομαι πως όλοι μαζι σαν καλλιτέχνες μπορούμε να βοηθήσουμε αυτό τον κόσμο να βάλουμε πίστη στην δημιουργικότητα μας και να φανταστούμε τον κόσμο με ειρήνη.

Με αγάπη,

Φιλομένη( η μητέρα μου λέει πως το όνομα μου σημαίνει κόρη του φωτός και της αγάπης)

Ο ΕΓΚΕΦΑΛΟΣ: είναι μια μάζα η οποία ανακαλεί έναν αριθμό από σύμβολα. Εμείς οι άνθρωποι συχνά κάνουμε το λάθος να ερμηνεύουν το Θεό στο μυαλό μας, το οποίο οδηγεί σε καταστροφή του πνεύματος. Πιθανότατα χρειάζεται να προσπαθήσουμε να βρουμε αρμονία μέσα από τα μυνήματα για ομαδικό πνεύμα τα οποία θα ξεκουράζονται στην καρδιά μας και όχι στο μυαλό μας.

Η ΒΑΡΚΑ : « Το φεγγάρι και τα αστέρια» είναι ένα σύμβολο από την δυτική Αφρική το οποίο αντιπροσωπέυει την αγάπη και την αρμονία τα οποία υπάρχουν ανάμεσα σε μια γυναίκα και έναν άντρα.

Η ΑΓΚΥΡΑ : η Άγκυρα είναι ένα σύμβολο για την ελπίδα και την σταθερότητα. Κάθε φορά που υψώνουμε την άγκυρα αφήνουμε πίσω ένα κομμάτι της ζωής μας για να ξεκινήσουμε ένα καινούργιο ταξίδι, μια καινούργια εποχή της ζωής μας ξεκινάει με καθαρό το πνεύμα των ονείρων και καινούργιων φιλοδοξιών. Είμαστε απτόητοι στον τρόπο που βλέπουμε τα επιτεύγματα των ονείρων μας.





Beauty: Valley of Astonishment

7 12 2014

IN the middle of the journey of our life, I came to myself, in a dark wood, where the direct way was lost. – Dante 

peter brooks

http://www.visitgreece.gr/en/greeceonthespotlight/municipal_theatre_the_jewel_of_piraeus_is_open_again





Clinging to Summer in Nea Makri

29 11 2014

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” – Albert Camus

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Consciousness: Home is where the heart… longs to be

25 11 2014
 
When you are in your home, you don’t glorify home: you don’t feel its importance and its intimacy, but when deprived of home, it turns into a need and a lust, as if it is the ultimate aim of the whole journey.
Mahmoud Darwish (1941 – 2008).
 
“Look at Athens and Sparta. Athens was an open city and Sparta kicked people out. Go and look at the ruins of Athens and Sparta now and ask which of the two cities made the greatest contribution to civilisation.” – Boris Johnson (Mayor of London)
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Philomena – Mummy, I want to go home. 
Luna [interrupting] – Which home? Greece or London?
Philomena – London, that is our proper home.
Luna – No, Greece is because this is where we are right now. This is where our family is.
Philomena – Our family is in lots of places–in America, in Bolivia, in Mexico, in Austria but London is our home because we were born in London. That’s where we’ve lived all our lives till now.
Luna – But we’re not English. We speak like English people but we’re not really English.
Philomena – Yes we are.  
Luna – No, Philomena, we’re not. And we live in Greece so this is our home. Right now, this is our home. With the turtles.
 
Poetry and exile 
works by Abdallah Benanteur, Ipek Duben, Mireille Kassar, Mona Saudi and Canan Tolon
http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/poetry_and_exile.aspx
1 October 2014 – 29 March 2015 (Free)




faux FREEDOM

5 11 2014

“I can’t explain freedom, Mummy. Its just something you feel when you’re being free.” – Luna

“I will say this about the abstract concept of ‘freedom’; it’s possible you are freer if you accept what you are and just get on with being the person you are, than if you maintain this kind of uncommitted I’m free-to-be-this, free-to-be-that, faux freedom.” – Jonathan Franzen





LOVE: “The game of life is love.”

18 10 2014

“let’s be love.” – Υ.Π. Σ.Κ.Τ.

(Graffiti in Nea Makri)

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