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The cunning and democratic mentality of Greeks

By Demosthenes Kyriazis

 

To people who have lived and live in Greece, two important and contradictory features, the cunning (πονηρή ) mentality and the democratic mentality, have developed to a large extent, to a greater extent than to peoples of other countries .

The cunning mentality

In the Greek language dictionaries, as cunning mentality, it is defined: "One's ability to achieve his goal with tricks, often not honest that contains deceit, deception, misrepresentation."

Of particular interest is another definition, which I read many years ago in an article of an English journalist, who visited Greece and wrote reportage with his impressions of the cunning mentality of the Greeks

In this reportage, the phlegmatic English wrote about the following: "I tried to understand what the word cunning (πονηρός) means and so I looked to dictionaries. But I did not find a definition that explains everything I saw. Finally, I realized that the Greeks define someone as cunning, one who uses whatever powers he has for his own benefit.  Cunning is not the smart one, so the Greeks also have the word stupid-cunning (κουτοπόνηρος)”

 Indeed, if you look after well, all decisions of the cunning one aim to maximize his own benefit. The benefit of society, the fair and the logical are words spoken loudly by the cunning ones, but they are not a criterion for their decisions. The criterion is just the own benefit.

For example, cunning man is him  who making a number of formally legitimate rackets  achieves:  To be paid by the state without working,   not paying his taxes, not doing his military service although he has no real reasons for that,  to struggle for the his own benefit and to claim that he is struggling for the benefit of society’s set.

The cunning mentality of the Greeks, as defined earlier, refers to situations of danger and panic, where the principle applies: "Save your own life”.  The experiences of the Greeks from Turkish slavery and authoritarian governments - let's not forget that until the 18th century there was only authoritarian governments - explain the development of this mentality. But this mentality also existed in ancient Greece, as it is mentioned in Homer's poems. Odysseus, for example, used the cunning trick, the Trojan Horse, for the fall of Troy.  

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The democratic mentality

Democratic mentality means high appreciation, love and respect for the individual power of all people; means belief in citizens' equality of rights and the guarantee of equal opportunities and equal shares of social benefits. The current mentality of assuring power and benefit to a small subset of "our own" citizens is not a democratic one; is an oligarchic mentality, which is the deeper cause of the development and maintenance of the cunning mentality. Democratic mentality exists when citizens do not distinguish their private live from public life; when citizens do not distinguish the "I from We”. This was the case in the Athenian Democracy in accordance with the conclusions of scholars of ancient Greece history.

From the above it becomes clear that cunning mentality and democratic mentality cannot coexist because they have diametrically opposed goals. The cunning aims to the own   benefit, and the democratic one to the benefit of society’s set.

This raises the logical question: How did the cunning Greeks succeed in developing the regime of Democracy? How did they succeed in making Greece the cradle of Democracy?

In this difficult but basic question there is only the following, logical and prima facie absurd answer: "The democratic mentality and the cunning mentality are, in essence, the two faces of the same mentality, of the same entity." That they look like a coin that on one side is written the word democracy and the other the word cunning.

For 5000 years, since the heroic years of Homer's poems, the Greeks loved their individual power and by extension Democracy, more than other peoples. Because, however, many times their power has been limited by non-democratic regimes, they have developed a mechanism to protect it: the cunning mentality. Odysseus used the Trojan Horse for the sake of the whole and not for the his own benefit. Over the years, however, this mentality has changed and evolved into a biological feature of protecting only individual interests. This mutated mentality is registered in the DNA of today's Greeks

If this emotional intelligence romantic theory holds true, then there is hope that the Greeks will invert the coin with the two faces. There is hope to regain their stolen individual power, to cancel their cunning mentality and to regenerate the genuine Democratic mentality that existed in the old times. If the Greeks do not succeed in canceling their cunning mentality, then their future is very bleak. See what did  the phlegmatic Englishman say about this issue:

““The Greeks look like dancing sirtaki having their right hand in the pocket of next dancer and while dancing the one steals the other one, without remorse and inhibitions From their cunning the Greeks sooner or later will self-destruct. There is only one way to survive. To eradicate this mentality and to delete the word πονηρός (cunning ) from their dictionaries. "

 

Conclusion.

The today Greeks are the people whose DNA has been registered with two biological characteristics;  the cunning mentality and the democratic mentality.  Today the democratic mentality is hidden under the very dangerous cunning mentality. Nevertheless, it would not be incompatible with the history of the Greeks to once again make a miracle. To revive the principles of the Athenian Democracy,  apparently adapted to the social, political, economic and technological data of the 21st century.  To implement the Regeneration of true Democracy.

 

Digital technology of information and telecommunications, of Internet, is an important tool and a great opportunity for such a revival. It is a great opportunity for the establishment and operation of a new Pnyka, the Digital Pnyka, in which the cunning mentality will be transformed into a democratic one; into culture where the social and the individual benefits are identified.

I wish to take effect in present case what Nikos Kazantzakis, the Greek thinker and writer, has written:

 

“More true from the true

are the fairy tales”.

 

 

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