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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 16 July 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 16 JULY 2016 23 GREECE cians on screen and all six seem to think they must speak at the same time (thank the god of mute buttons). The Renaissance was all about discovering past ideas. Could it be that we may rediscover that when one person is speaking the others listen? And not listening just to prepare a rebuttal. No, listening, for the actual purpose of understanding what is being said so that it may help us improve our own ideas. Socrates said: “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.” More apt for the Greek politician on Antenna Pacific is the native American proverb, 'listen or your tongue will make you deaf'. But the challenge of listening to each other is one for Greece to rise up to. I propose a task force of 300 to look at it, led by my uncle Alexi. But back to us; Greek Australians, or Australian Greeks, or half-Greeks, or four-thirds Greeks or any fraction of a Greek you wish to be, like it or not, we are separate from the Greeks of Greece here in this location. We have no control over Greek institutions in Greece, Greek politics, or even the production of envelopes. All we have is ourselves. And the individuals in our community. But the one lesson we must take from the glory of ancient Greece is that this is all we need. As the Greeks of Melbourne and Consider this statement then. The greatness of ancient Greece did not lie in its structures. Athens and Sparta were polar opposites. The greatness of the city states was in the individuals. Therefore, rather than focusing on systemic changes, maybe we should focus on improving the individual. Maybe the Greek nation’s single greatest hope Greece is the 10 million bright lights that are its people. A quick google of what made ancient Greece so great brings up many reasons. I've chosen as many as is practicable for one paragraph. Ladies and gentlemen, Aristarchus of Samos. He spoke against the theories of Aristotle and Ptolemy in relation to the sun being the centre of the universe which the earth and other planets move around. Hippocrates of Kos. He established that disease was caused by natural reasons and not the wrath of a god (who by all accounts were too busy chasing maidens anyway). Diogenes of Sinope chose to live a life with so few possessions and mock people's desire for items. Platon of Athens founded the Academy of Athens and encouraged students to think and disagree with him. Aristotle of Chalkidiki presented revolutionary concepts in many fields. Some of his concepts in zoology were so far off the science of the age that they were proved correct as late as the 19th century. What do all the above have in common? Let's get that they are all Greek out of the way and focus on the common thread; the society in which they lived allowed them to voice their thoughts. More importantly, each of those voices was listened to with the value extracted from all words. So they listened to everyone, extracted what was interesting to them, and used it to build better ideas. To bring this back to modern Greece (which I judge through my parents’ Antenna Pacific connection), the doyen of public discussion Papadaki places six boxes of politi- Victoria we must encourage Greeks here to think and discuss and to strive to reach their peak. The one value we must treasure above all others is the understanding that through discussion we learn and we grow. That if all members of the Greek community have a say it enriches us all. There are many articles written and things said in the Greek community. We normally judge the idea and if we don’t like it, attack the author as an anti-Ellina. A traitor. A prodoti. It is flattering in a way that the lowest form of person we can imagine is someone who is against our ethnicity. It shows that we really do value our culture and love being Greek. If we were to step back, though, is hurling abuse at writers who say things we don't like to hear what built our civilisation? We must look back to the ancient Greeks and relearn the most important lesson, that we must listen to all opinions and use them to improve our own opinion. We must build and construct (which are clearly the same thing but said twice to showcase the importance of developing) the individuals of our community. Let's never discount the sayings of anyone. One of the greatest tragedies of ancient Greece was that Socrates was sentenced to death for certain writings. What wealth we lost from cutting his life short is unimaginable. When we denounce a writer or a speaker so too we seek to end their language. Ending language is the very thing that we should fear. So when you next read an article you think is anti-Greek, reconsider your reaction. Step away, think about what you agree about and what you disagree about, and conduct discussion based on the idea. We are all Greeks and all want the best for our community. Dialogue is the only tool we have to achieve it.
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