Dear citizens of Europe,
I will talk to you, using my Greek perspective, about the Renaissance, the period of time when Europe finally left behind medieval times. Western civilisation discovered philosophy and art, the sense of justice and democracy, the ancient Greek way of thinking and the real principals of being a human. Europeans! We tried hard to understand all of this.
The Germans studied ancient Greek literature better than anyone. The Italians became synonymous to an art so fine that the word "masterpiece" was not enough. The English forced the idea of education to the next level. I will not continue talking about France, Spain, Portugal and the rest of Europe. I will just thank their poets, philosophers and scientists.
The Renaissance was the first step for the combined Europe. Plato and Aristotle are not just Greek. They are the common root of the European philosophy. Dante is not just Italian. He is an example of a European authoring genius. These are only a few examples.
Europe studied and understood Greek literature and the ancient Greeks' lessons to approach wisdom; studied and understood their idea of being human, the period that Greece had stopped giving birth to anything new. The 'woman was barren' but the children found shelter in many Europeans hearts and minds.
And then, something terrible happened. The European citizens were too good to predict it. Do you remember what the Egyptian priest said to Solon? We could read that in Plato's Timaios, "Greeks are forever children". By assimilating every Greek thought, Europe assimilated also this.
But... the ancient Greeks were really the same as children. They create philosophy in order to use it, to live according to that. We learn and create philosophy just to form new ideas and excellent meanings. Greeks created art to make their lives beautiful. Europeans created art in order to just prove that it is possible for the human to do so or because there will always be someone to buy art items. Our modern way of living creates museums, not beauty in our every step, creates books that analyse perfectly the philosophy, but we do not live according to that.
Greeks, as children, very often make the same mistakes... Europe, thinking as an adult, had lost the extenuation of youth. In modern times we perform the same actions and make the same mistakes because we have a goal, because we search for profit.
And the biggest mistake of Europe is that we bring back the medieval ages – poverty is back. The loathful modern culture is a product with which consumption is like the plague and cholera. "Commercial law" and big companies are the new inquisitors.
Too bad that there is no Lord Byron to die. There is no Arthur Rimbaud to teach us how to think. There is no Goethe to explain what "et in Arcadia ego" means. There is no Federico García Lorca and Masaccio or Erasmus and Andreas Vesalius. There is no Kavaphes to tell us "What Ithacas mean".
But, there are citizens with dreams. Let's struggle for the "exanthropism" of our economy, of our lives. Exanthropism means to change something into something else more close to how the real nature of human is.
And let's hope that there are still children in our old continent.
Yiannis K. Tsapanidis, citizen of Greece