Thursday, 24 November 2011
Imagining a new Greece
Above and below are a couple of videos with ideas on how Greece can emerge from the crisis afflicting it.
The first, above, in Greek, has Aristos Doxiadis explaining the importance of ‘morphosis’ to society and bemoaning the fact that the acquisition of morphosis has become secondary to the attainment of the ‘diploma’, which has come to denote morphosis.
Morphosis is traditionally translated into English as ‘education’, but this doesn’t do the word justice. Morphosis, I think, has more to do with ‘cultivation’ than ‘education’ and it also has attached to it a sense of ‘becoming something different to what you were’, to ‘form’, to ‘change’ and to ‘grow’… through knowledge and learning. Think of the relatively new English verb, to ‘morph’.
(I might be wrong here, but if omorphia [beauty] and morphosis have the same root etymologically, then morphosis would also imply ‘becoming beautiful’ through learning/education/cultivation. i.e. beauty is wisdom).
Doxiadis goes on to explain the need for private universities in Greece, the importance of removing bureaucratic obstacles to Greek academics from the diaspora returning to teach at Greek universities and of Greek universities exploiting the natural advantages Greece has at its disposal to become magnets for students from northern Europe (and elsewhere) to take degrees.
Secondly, below, there’s a talk from South African-born advertising guru Peter Economides, in English, on how he believes Greece is desperately in need of ‘branding’.
Now, it’s tempting to be dismissive of Economides – ‘how dare he try to sell Greece the same way he might sell Coca-Cola’ – but, in fact, what he’s getting at, even if he doesn’t realise it, is the crisis of ideology affecting Greece. This has manifested itself as a contest – which is bitter and polarised – over Greek identity and Greek history. Indeed, Economides has a fairly traditional vision of Greece that many, particularly on the Greek left, would not share, preferring a less ethnocentric ‘brand’ or a ‘brand’ that has Greeks as unruly and rebellious Kropotkin-Guevaras. Still, Economides’ passion for Greece and his mission to ‘reimagine’ the country is admirable – even if it is from within an advertising paradigm and I fear his typically-diasporan love for Greece and Greek culture will be rebuffed.