I think that a lucid way to approach the Greek phenomenon is from the perspective of freedom. Not an institutionalized freedom but the freedom of self awareness and ecstatic love, the liberty of uncommitted observation and reflection on the miracle of the beautiful and painful existence, the observation of the destiny of mankind which moves under the uninterpreted light. Idealistic, mystical and realistic, Greece gives birth to the conception of truth, dissecting the (non) reason of the meaningful light. Hubris and catharsis, fire and flourishing, the Greek light cultivates the civilization which introduced the conception of truth as the non oblivion.
Spiritualizing shapes, colors, forms and archetypes of a promiscuous landscape, Greek civilization constitutes a fresco both transparent and profound which crystallizes the idea of adaptation to the complexity of the ambiguous world. Hence, what we call Greek or Hellenic civilization surpasses the limits of the Greek nation-state since it concerns the perception of the expression of Creation, which leads to an interpretation and an ontology that tie together idea and experience, theory and action, highlighting the way our species relates to the Cosmos.
Discovering the harmony of contradictions, Greek ontology is based upon the coexistence and synergy of heterogeneous aspects of Nature and tendencies of human existence. As the dialogue between Apollo and Dionysus never ends, we balance between Chaos and Logos, between the ideal form and the deconstructive ecstasy. Idealistic and empirical, Plato and Aristotle, logical and sensual, epicurean and stoic, Hellenism arrives to conceive God as the eternal positive nothingness – an ideal as well as paradox notion which extends beyond any historical and natural necessity and characterizes the imaginary of the Byzantine era. Combining philosophical interpretation and mythological conception, as the wheel of time turns, the Hellenic spirit participates in its way in some of the most remarkable moments and movements of humankind’s history.
Curious, analytic and creatively deconstructive, scientific and poetic, Greece is reincarnated in the Renaissance, and constitutes the illumination of the Enlightenment. Polite, political and psychedelic, Hellenism can be found in the revolutions (American, French) which gave birth to modern democracy as well as in the sea of poetry – from Shakespeare to T.S. Eliot and from Rimbaud to Beckett.
Inventor, artist and thinker who delves into the way Existence depicts itself, fragmentary and holistic, technical and critical, metaphysical and realistic, the Greek spirit is manifested in the works of Da Vinci and Rodin, in the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, in the anarchistic thought of Noam Chomsky, in the innovative genius of Steve Jobs as well as in the tragic passion of abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.
Greece is not a land but an open sky. It is a spiritual homeland, and it represents a spiral in the immaterial DNA of humanity.
Naïve and critical, Greece disagrees with the monolithic institutionalization of a pre-defined historical truth and its imposition. Furthermore, the notion of progress, through the Greek prism, does not occur as the necessary product of a linear historical procedure but it constitutes the outcome of the inherent human tendency for discovery, from which tragedy can emerge.
Aeschylus and Aristophanes, Prometheus and Joker, the Hellenic spirit, open to technical progress and technological evolution, at the same time perceives the tragic aspect that every human activity can entail, and it responds with a face of bitter satire to the civilized society’s hypocrisy.
Nowadays, technology challenges the way in which we deal with nature, the world, and the other within the social environment. At the epoch of internet and A. I., with the limits between liberty and emprisonment blurred, notions such as “democracy” and “freedom” misinterpreted or undermined, a techno-totalitarianism dominating, and a nuclear threat always present, Greek ontology can provide us with a rainbow of values in the cloudy sky of our Orwellian universe.
Reminder of the neverending dialogue between destiny and free will, the civilization of self-awareness and self-criticism should be rethought if we want to reinvent an educational system which will encourage creative exploration and independence of thought, an education which will focus on the creation of free, creative and independent individuals able to think critically, without being manipulated by the products of their own creativity, humans who won’t become tools of their own tools.
The eternal Greece can cultivate this creative osmosis between technological evolution, critical thought and artistic expression and we – Greeks have the historical responsibility to invest in the actualization of the perspectives of the cosmotheory which saw the light of the day in our country.
By avoiding embellishments and nihilisms, I consider that if we want to survive within the framework of the 4th industrial revolution, without being stooges of the blind progress, we must re-study Greece and perceive the spirit of its civilization beyond the classical clichés. Being neither an elusive paradise nor an ancient utopia but an existential proposition, beautiful as an alive museum and sharp as a think tank, Greece and its inspiring spirit can become one more time a precious guide for the new episode of our species’ odyssey in the spacetime.