Why Anastasia chose Glyfada is easy to guess. It was the most coveted in that moment, similar with a select resort. It is on the west coast of Attica, between Cap So union and Piraeus.
At Cap Sounion, only the ruins of Poseidon’ Temple is to be found. Being on a promontory in southern extreme of the peninsula, we may expect to find there a fortress for supervising the sea. This would be in our era, after the inventing of firearms, when Greece of Pericle no longer existed. The temple, a photographic symbol of the peninsula, speaks us about the time when people used to prayer to gods and invoke their help before going to fight. Maybe from this promontory Aegeus, king of Athens and Theseus’ father, threw himself in the sea, when he saw that the mails of the sailing ship of this son coming from Crete were black and not white, as they agreed in case of victory against the Minotaur. Theseus killed the Minotaur, but he forgot the agreement. Aggrieved, his father plunged in the sea and, since then, the sea wears his name, as a sign of people’s esteem. The reason of Theseus’ negligence was the joy of victory, according with the opinion of some exegetes, or the sadness of losing Ariadne, who was took from him by the god Dionysus, according with others opinion. No matter of their opinions, Cap Sounion is not inhabited. Maybe, because the winds are strong here.
Piraeus instead was a seaport for ages, thanks to its position. In time, both it as Athens developed as, today, it is a district of the capital. But, for Anastasia, it activity is far to be attractive. On the contrary, she looks for a quite place.
Between those two extremes, Cap Sounion and Piraeus, Glyfada seems to be the ideal. You recognise it from the forest of the mast of yachts and elegant shops.
A small disadvantage is the distance from the centre. Happily, there are many busses toward Glifada and a tramway line is building by the Italians. They say it will be great.
The apartment is nice and sunny. It has two bedrooms, a living and, of curse, bathroom, kitchen etc. The distribution of the rooms is a little odd. Those two bedrooms are on the corners of the building and each of them has two large doors, which are windows as well. They look well, but are improper for bedrooms. Instead, the living is in the middle of the apartment and has a single one door-window. During the winter, the bedrooms are cold and the living cannot be aerated as it ought to be. The Greeks are preoccupied by the warmth during the summer and less for the cold of winter, but the hot days are not just terrible and are not too long. The cold, instead, left traces on people’s body. It can see on the street: the number of women with problems of the health is surprisingly great. The women prevail, because the stay at home, while the men stay anyway else.
The apartment, though it looks perfect at the first sight, needs some small repairs. She talked with a plumber and he promised to come at ten o’clock. At twelve, he did not come yet, so she ringed him up. He excused and promised to come in ten minutes. Still, at thirteen he did not arrived. She ringed him up again. He answered that he would be on the way and in ten minutes will be in her apartment. Again ten minutes. She remember that, some time ago, a friend said her, but she did not believed, that, when a Greek says he will come in ten minutes, it means that he has this vague intention, but nobody knows when he will be able to do it. Instead, you must wait for him. Then, she thought her friend exaggerated. Now, she really has to wait for the plumber. Meanwhile, she learns on her own experience that, if the plumber really is on the way and there are chances to come in short time, this one could be very long, if he meets someone. A simple “How do you do. How are you?” may last an indefinite time.
The Anastasia’s greatest discontent is the strikes of those who work in public transport. She is not obliged to go every day in the centre of Athens, as everything she wants is to be found in Glyfada. The centre is interesting only in evenings, for going at a performance or visiting someone but, for the time being, she had a lot of other unsolved problems, so that the time allocated to entertainment is reduced. The problem of transport affects Ileana. She lives in Kipsely and need the cross the centre. One day she came with a taxi, but it would be much too expensive. Sometime, the taxi drivers make strike too. Coming on foot is impossible; the distance is much to long. So far she absented two times. Anastasia had to stay with Fotios, abandoning all the others works.
In the United States, people do not make strikes for two hundred years. Why the Greeks do it, she does not realize. Of course, for better salaries, more rights etc. At the first sight, it seems natural. Who does not want more than he has? Or, inverse: not matter how much he owns, man wants more. Who puts a limit and in which way? Is it a question of the good sense? Anastasia herself is a Greek women and she is tempted to consider that her conational people are right but, seemingly, something is rotten here. Here, not in Denmark. In taverns and cafés, people chat a lot about politics. She is expert neither in economy nor in politics, but she realizes they are not better, but talk more acrimony, as they know fewer. Of course, all of them think they own the truth. A thing is sure: the strike disturbs her, and if they disturb her, it means that they disturb a lot of other people. To whom they are useful? A question without answer, at least for her.
In the United States, she learnt that, because of the competition, the employers strive to engage employees as good as possible. In order to attract them, they offer salaries higher that the rival societies. In this stage, the worker cannot emit pretensions, he must persuade. On the other hand, he one already engaged can suggest he is wanted by a rival enterprise with a higher salary. If he is well appreciated, his boss will increase his salary; if not, he will tell him: “O.k. You make us a favour if you leave”. Anastasia did not learn it at the school, but from reality. What is different in Greece? People have a different logic here? What? Difficult to know!
Marshall Plan helped some Europeans countries, including Greece, after the Second World War. Greece continued to receive helps and is still helped, but its economy decay more and more, in contrast with Germany, which, after two lost wars, is in the top of European economy. The difference comes from the fact that German people used correct the money, while the Greek, embezzled it. Instead to invest, he deposed them in foreign banks on personal accounts. They do not want to see it, even if, inwardly, they know it very well. What obnubilates their minds is the believe that they are some sly-boots. Consequently, middle class, that who gives economic power of any nation, is almost absent in nowadays Greece. There are only the classes of poor and very rich persons.
It is said that all evil is toward the well, which sometime comes true; the reciprocal assertion would be taken in consideration as well: too much well may bring the evil. The Greeks forgotten that only a dictatorship could get them out from the miserable situation in which they had been. Now, the same chronic draw-backs were present. Besides, the helps from abroad, incorrect used, taught them lazy.
What would be fit for the Greeks is the verse „Je meurs de soif auprès de la fontaine” (I die of thirst next to the running fountain). Beneficiary of the most generous financial offer of which a country ever enjoyed, they claim of poverty. The verse above-mentioned was the theme that le duke Charles d’Orléans gave at the contest of poesy in 1458, won by François Villon. The duke was himself a poet but, unlike the most of others, he appreciated the good poems even if other poets had written them.
The patriotic pride of the Greeks could help them to find a better way for the economic straightening, but it remains only as amusement for other people. Here is an example. Instead of boiled coffee, for make the difference with instant coffee, they say Greek coffee. They would say Turkish coffee, as all European people say, but the Greeks are allergic to all expressions containing the word Turk. The coffee can be neither Greek nor Turkish. It does not grow in these countries. The expression Turkish coffee appeared in Europe during the siege of Vienna. This one last enough for the Austrian people to take the custom of drinking coffee from the Turks, which in their turn had took it from the Arabian. The express “Greek coffee” is out of any justification.
Another anomaly is the politics of the prices. Some Greek products are very expensive. The olives, for example – a classic Greek product from the few exported – are more expensive in Athens than abroad. With a strategy like this on does not built a prosper economy. Due to the high prices, people need high incomes and the national financial balance lost its poise. “The horn of abundance” could stop to work. Amalthea grown old and they replace the Mythology with the Christianity, which has some different legends.
Today, the dislike of Greeks toward the occidental countries is increasing. It is older. First, the Romans occupied them. The fate was good with them, as – after the fall of Western Roman Empire – the Greeks became the strongest over the Eastern Roman Empire. Not in the best of their dreams something like this occurred. But, in time, the empire receive as a gift was decline more and more, while the occidental Europe were more and more stronger, first economical and then political. The great schism occurred in 1054 and it was fallowed by the crusades. Now, the dislike is concentrated on Germany, the country with the greatest participation in Europe’s incomes, that who help Greece, and ask for returning its debts.
It is difficult to know how hardworking were the Greeks in the past. Those who made possible the independence are to be admired, but these of today are only lazy. The Turks, instead, are not those who stay all day long in the front of the shops smoking from nargilehs, as some of them used to do in the past. After the Second World War, they invaded the occident, particularly Germany, where work hardly. The Greeks did not do it. Consequently, Turkey is in progress and Greece in regress.
The main cause of the economic failure is the ignorance of the middle class. An example is the writing with an archaic alphabet, preserved with the argument of tradition. “If we change the alphabet, people will not be able to read in original Homer’s works”. But Homer did not write and most super-patriots of today cannot read but capital letters. Their commerce is at the level of the small speculator. The mechanisms of the modern economy are unknown by the common Greek. All these allow to those more informed of them to get rich and the country to collapse.
Ileana does not go on making commutation Kipseli-Glyfada every day. She thinks even to return in Romania. Anyway, she will leave Anastasia, so that she must find someone else to care of Fotios.
- I am eager of returning in Romania to eat fresh fish.
o Do you live close to the sea?
- Ah, no, the Black Sea is 300 kilometres far away. I live at the foot of the mountains.
o And then, from where do you have fresh fish?
- From the sea, from Danube, from the lakes, rivers, nurseries. They bring it. There are a lot of nurseries around, particularly of trout.
o And, how do you know the fish is fresh and not congealed and thawed?
- This occurs in Athens. With us some of them move yet. In some shops, there are even large aquariums with fishes swimming there. You can choose the one you want.
o I must understand this is an irony to the Greeks, who have fish under their very nose, but do not take the trouble to fish it?
- An irony would very little. It is a shame for them to eat fish from import and beg for money to buy it.
I mentioned earlier the book “The Quest” by Nikos Themelis, for his description of Smyrna of the end of nineteen centuries. He describes as well the spiritual atmosphere of its inhabitants of different ethnics. The Greeks were active, enterprising, energetic, clever, skilful, informed about the commercial and financial European mechanisms, while the Turks were remarkably only through their passivity. The businesses of the Greeks were going very well in full Ottoman Empire, while the Turks were inactive. Here is a short excerpt from the book. „In Smyrna it was the Greeks who pulled the strings in all the fields, power, commerce, society. They were influential, run business according with their own rules and set the fashion.” (page 285) Maybe, concerning the Greeks, the author’s patriotism induces some subjectivism, but, concerning the Turks, his narration concord with that from universal literature.
There is a similarity with the atmosphere from Athens of today, looking at the cafés full with Greeks all day long. It seems the situation turned inversely. Turkey is a prosper country now, while Greece cannot get out from the crises. A second difference is a minor one: the Greeks are not passive, as the Turks were. On the contrary, they are active, but only at the chats. The effect is the same: null, because their argumentation proves only their ignorance in economic problems. Somebody said: “ The deaf man speak louder than he hear well; the stupid one talk more than the one who understand” (Nicolae Iorga).
At the end of the nineteen-century, the Ottoman Empire was in strong decline. It already lost the most part of its territory. The lazy Turks, described in literature, can be neither these of today nor those who, many centuries ago, started from central Asia and conquering immense territories from Asia, Asia Minor and Europe, ending with the victory on the capital of former Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, in 1453. What happened in the meantime? Simple! They got used to live well without effort, doing nothing but smoking. The fighters, for example, were janissaries, recruited as children from the occupied countries. The abundant life made them lazy. Their only remarkable products were the sweets. The similarity with nowadays Greeks is obvious. Their laziness is an effect of the good life assured by the helps from abroad. Of course, it can be changed, I pray for it to be good, but the Greeks ought to do something in this concern.
If the laziness of the Turks from the past is similar with that of the Greeks of today, still there is a genetic difference: the Greeks are impulsive and avaricious, while the Turks were softhearted and generous. Maybe this is a result of the history and time will equalises the difference. The Greeks, though have allergy to anything remembering them of Turks eat Turkish sweets like baklava, kataif etc., maybe because they do not know how to prepare better ones, and manoeuvre the comboloi, something like the rosaries, but shorter, with the difference that they do it nervously. While a Turk turns the rosaries one after another, probably thinking at the stories from a thousand and one nights, the Greek throws nervously the comboloi from one part of the palm to the other, having in imagination an rival on the ring of boxing.
It is clear that we do not need to find other causes for the decay of the former empires. The laziness due the good life is an explanation satisfactory.
An excerpt from a letter to Nikos, an old friend of Fotios and Anastasia, from Canada.
“Mama died. Without commentaries! At the burial, a fewer people even I was expected. Much more were when my father died. At his burial, enough friends and fellow worker came. Mom never worked and true friends she did not succeed to have.
I discussed this morning with an advocate about the writing down the legacy documents. The house, I will sell it, as I do not want to live there. Not only from psychological reasons, but I catch the taste of the littoral now and this district of Athens liked me more. Besides, the old centre of Athens spoils itself on every passing day. And the strike of the workers and the manifestations in the streets – ah, these manifestations, what imbecilities! – I do not want to see them any longer. They are not only disturbing, but make you to think about the direction toward the Greece is directing. With all my troubles, I do not like to think that I embarked myself in a ship sailing toward a wrong direction.
Where I go? There are not signs of change and maybe there are not wanted. I am no longer young for wishing a prince riding a white horse, inviting me in a golden palace. I want only a peaceful time for me.
Kosty will marry. Fotios will remain in the same situation the rest of his life. The recuperation was partial. More than it is not possible. After the gravity of the accident, it was a miracle the doctors succeeded even so. He can move, but very slowly and helped. He understands and can say only simple ideas of strictly necessities. He needs a social assistant permanently, as I cannot sit all day and night with him; I must deal with all domestic and extra-domestic problems. I will care of him all the rest of his life and al long as he will live I will not have another husband, probably the rest of my life.
In fact, I was alone all my life and will remain alone. I only want to be peaceful.”
She will inherit other estates as well. After a hard life, it is seemed unbelievable to her, but there is the possibility of improving her life, at least from financial standpoint.
Nicky moved in Cyprus for good and all, together with her friend.
After visiting a family of Anastasia’s parents’ friends.
- We need to take immediately an aspirin. I am frozen. My feet are numb with cold.
o While you find the aspirin, I will have a glass of ouzo. If this time we did not fall ill, it means we are strong.
- Give me ouzo too. It is more rapid. Up till the aspirin will make its effect, I am shaking in every limb.
o I do not know what those men have in their mind to stay in full winter without heating.
- They are stingy. And they are not alone. It was our fault not dressing accordingly. Actually, it was my fault. I forgot that, many people here warm the house only two-three hours in the evenings.
o This is a stupid idea. In two-three hours only the air is warm. The furniture, the walls, remains cold.
- Just worse! They become damp.
o They do not think? With cold dwelling, with the floor by marble, it is not of wondering that old women are ill.
- The majority of the inhabitants in Athens are from the county, where people do not stay in the house during the day. They work outside.
o Here nobody read a book? All people go to the café?
- Only the men. The women take care the house, the children. That’s why they get ill.
o It’s terrible what you say. The children, do not have to do homework?
- They do it as then can. Children have more energy.
o Those are not homework well done. It is not surprisingly the Albanians learn better. Probably they have more modest houses and being smaller, they can warm them easily. The Greeks made large houses, as probably they seen in movies, but which are not for them.
- It is true; they are large spaces, difficult to warm….
o And then, they do not warm them at all. Forgive me, but this proves a great level of ignorance. The parents have not intellectual preoccupations. This is visible at distance. It is a great difference to move, even in the kitchen, and stay on the chair. But to keep the children in cold, it means not to know how is to learn. Probably the majority of them do not learn. School is for them a formality.
- They are people from the village who only live in town.
o But it happened some generation again.
- Their mentality is the same.
o It is clear. They are uneducated people. I thought Greece is a civilized country.
- They think it is.
o It is something to think and something else to be. They are only peacock. Still, they could think. With the sun of Greece all the houses would have solar panes.
- These ones are expensive, and they are miser.
o Penny wise and pound-foolish. With an initial invest you have free warm all the life.
- Without the medicines, for which you have to spend a lot.
o Take another ouzo. I hope we will have a normal house.
- I hope too.
There are many Russians in Glyfada. Most of them are businessmen, or at least this is what they say. Not matter which is their job they are rich. Of course, they engage priority Russian women as housekeepers. This one does not stay in Glyfada, but in other districts, particularly in Kalithea. It is not just near, but the road is along the littoral, not crossing the centre of the Athens, Syntagma Square, where frequently are meetings ending with clashes with the police. As Ileana is going to leave and Anastasia has to engage another person, maybe she will find a Russian woman.
She thinks to move from Glyfada. Anyway, she wants to buy an apartment, and Palaio Faliro is a district about people speak that will be soon as elegant as Glyfada. For the time being, the priced are smaller, so that the moment is favourable. Besides, it is nearer to Kalithea; it will be easier to find a person to care of Fotios.
Glyfada is not longer as attractive as it seemed at the beginning. Besides, instead to buy an expensive apartment here, in an old building, it is more advantageous to do it in Palaio Faliro, in full development. She had the opportunity of buying a new one and to arrange and equip it according with her taste.
Athens is all in construction and reconstruction. A lot of great works are done for the Olympic Game, which will be here soon. Everywhere there are sites. It is a problem now the cross the town, but, over one year, everything will be much nicer. It is the case. The littoral will benefit as well by it.
o Sophia is speaking.
- Hello Sophia, how are you?
o Hey! Do not take me with this language. Even if I am now an American woman in documents, English language is not still my language. Speak me in Greek, please.
Sophia, her friend to whom she had met in the United States, had married with an American and moved to him. Now, Anastasia, after forty years, has become again Greek, while Sophia an American.
- I am o.k. Tell me how are you.
o Every thing is o.k. here. I called you as I want to speak Greek with someone, so tell me how are you.
- I am moving from Glyfada in Palaio Faliro, so I am busy with all kind of things
o I imagine what is on you. I suppose you will have a larger space there. This probably is the main reason.
- The space is a problem. The women who used to care of Fotios left me. I engaged an Ukrainian woman instead. She is a cook too and will do the shopping as well. After we well move, she will stay with us permanently. With Fotios, and me as Kosty will marry and does not want to stay with us.
o Who does not, he or she?
- I do not know if he or she. It is not important, as I think it is better if the mother-in-law does not stay with the daughter-in-low. I am the mother-in-low and, though I think I would be a good one, other people may have a different opinion. Besides, the Fotios’ presence does not make pleasure to someone.
o You are right! And in with language you and your Ukrainian woman will understand? Will you learn her language now? This is a kind of Russian, isn’t it?
- She already speaks Greek; bad, but you understand what she wants to say. She is grim against the Russians. She says they are criminal. She relates terrible things about them. After the Bolshevik revolution, as the Ukrainian people were refractory, the Russians besieged with the army several villages, confiscate their aliments and leaved them to die with hungry in full winter. If someone had gone out trying to take out from the earth a root or a comestible plant, they would have shot him dead. Over seven million people died then.
o It is terrible what you said. A really genocide.
- A Soviet theory is “the man could be reduced to what he eat”. And for a little food, a famished man does anything one asks him to do.
o I know that, after the war, the Russians extended the persecution over the occupied countries (Poland, Romania, Bulgaria etc.) and especially in the stolen territories. They wanted to do – and they did – a corridor up till Germany. For this they took from Romania, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary. From Romania they took a whole province and named it Soviet Socialist Republic of Moldavia, though its name was Basarabia. It was a first step for drawing near the following province, named just Moldavia.
- I know you are good in history. People from all these countries wanted to remain Europeans.
o O.k. Let’s the history aside. Are you trusted in your Ukrainian women?
- She is from a small village; I did not memorize its name. They were nine children. A family very poor. She wants to send them money from what I will give her. It impressed me. She seems to be a good girl. A little naïve, but hardworking and honest. She say also the N.K.V.D. – the Soviet political police – was nicknamed “Ni Znaiu Kagda Vernusi Damoi”, namely “I do not known when I will be back home”. This is so, because they used to come during the night, arrested the men and carry them at their headquarter. From there, people could be deported in Siberia or even killed. Only a few of them came back. She would leave long ago. Not only her. Many people would leave, but they could not. They were not allowed. The whole country was like a jail with the walls at the frontier. Only now, after the dismemberment of the former USSR, they can leave. That’s why there are so many Ukrainians in Greece and other countries. And not only the Ukrainians. Even the Russians, as their life was not better.
Anastasia signed the contract for buying an apartment in Palaio Faliro. The block of flats in being to build, so she will be able to arrange it as she wants. She met the entrepreneur, who seems to be a kind-hearted man, so she could talk with him about some changes.
The building is inside of five minutes of walk by the sea. Just on the front of the sea would not be better, though she could see it through the window. Between the sea and the row of the buildings there are Poseidonos Avenue, where the stream of cars is continue on six traffic lanes. The noise and pollution are continue as well. Besides, the breeze can be wind from time to time and, in winter, it could be cold. From her block – she is an owner now, isn’t it? – she cannot see the sea, because of the buildings in front of it but, on the other hand, they offer a perfect protection against the noise, pollution and wind. The street is a silent one, close to a church and the sea is close by. The names of all, or almost all, streets in the area are from Mythology. Her is Alkionis. It is of one of the Pleiades, those seven daughters of the god Apollo (or Atlas in other versions) and the nymph Pleione. The legend says that, because Orion – lover hunter – was following them through the forest with his dogs, Zeus moved all them in the sky. What we can see now are three constellations: the Pleiades, Orion and Dogs. One a year, in August, the canopy of heaven is beautiful light by the glint of Pleiades.
She never was too much church-going, but now, as she is almost to pass beyond the second age, it would be better to be close by God. So far, he did not see her too much, by . . . for now on . . . who knows. As a child, in England, all girls went with teachers to the church. It was, of course, an Anglican one. Later on, in America, like most Americans, she went from time to time to the closest church, irrespective of its confession. There is Orthodox churches in New York, but they were too far away from their house. Now, she will have just an Orthodox one next door. Greeks did not lose their faith. The churches are full and, on holidays, are overcrowded. Maybe she will go more frequently. Not as much during the religious services, when the priests’ incantations dishearten her. In the rest of the time! The Orthodox churches are open every day, for morning till night. In the absence of the priests, when only a few believers come to worship, the church is a space where you can come with your thoughts. The atmosphere from inside does not give to you the answer at your troubles, but render you the trust and peace of the soul, necessary for the struggle with the ups and downs of life.
It is evening now and – after a full day – the sea offers the perfect atmosphere for a relaxation more than necessary.
In Glyfada, their house was relatively far from the sea; she walked about a quarter of an hour. There, the shops were superb, but you do not spend all the time among the exhibits you cannot buy. The closest beach was not very nice and there is not an alley for walking at the seaside. Here, in Palaio Faliro is much different. The large alley is well lighted, with benches here and there; it is special arranged for relaxing. A lot of people come here. Some of them make jogging, other walk or stay on the benches, looking at the sea. At any hour, just late in the evenings, there are persons swimming, even during the winters.
It is already dark now and the lights of the steamships going to or coming from the port of Piraeus twinkle like glow-worms. Among the ships, some boats are, even several yawls. Some of them have a reflector in the top of the mast lightening the mail. In the dark of the night, they seem phantoms moving up and down. Nice phantoms! Among the stars, airplanes and helicopters cross the sky silently. They only complete the play of lights.
And the small Piraeus peninsula, with a hillock in the middle of it, with thousands of lights of different colours, seems a huge stitch with a needle pointed toward the open sea.
Here, in Palaio Faliro, the water of the sea reflects the lights of the town in the small harbour. It is something deserving to be painted. Anastasia did not remember to ever seen something nicer, not even in Miami.
Stop dreaming! It is too nice here. Let’s go from here. Tomorrow a full day will be again.
The choice was inspired. One of the advantages of the district is its inhabitancies; many of them Greeks, came from other countries, after the dismemberment of the former USSR. These ones have nothing moreover, but have something very important in minus: anachronistic traditions. Even poorer, they are more decent and civilised. If in Ano Kipsely – an older district – the taverns and cafés are full of men from morning till night, while the women carry the shopping bags and work all day long, in Palaio Faliro, the cafés are full with clients of both sexes. As for the women, they are sounder. Seemingly just nicer!
Palaio Faliro became just an elegant district, in which is pleasant to walk, both on the main street, with nice shops and cafés at very turn, and the front of sea, till late in the night. From this point of view, Anastasia has all reasons to be contented. From others, on could discuss. Reasons of discontent are easy to found by everyone, irrespective of his situation: financial, social, sentimental or of any other nature. Happy is only the one who succeeds the balance between wishes and achievements. Of course, the dwelling is not the most important thing. It only creates better or worse conditions of life, which is not at all of neglecting. It is a support for the others, but one cannot build something without support.
Through the windows of her apartment, Anastasia see the other four blocks of flats of seven floors plus one of four floors, so she can feel the pulse of the town. A lady from the block just opposite feed a group of cats. There are at least six. When they do not sleep, they magnificently walk on the wall of stones between the blocks. All of them are big and fat, but one of them is huge. Now and again, during the nights, they emit a mewing like a child’s crying. Sometimes, Anastasia thought there is just a child, but she calmed as soon as she eared how the cats spit each other, what children do not know how to do. Probably, the relationships with the cats from neighbouring are not always the best.
The best of them has the head black, feet white, tail striped and back a multicoloured palette from light-brown to dark-grey. She walks like a painting in a showing room, moved by someone for being seen by all the people.
Usually, Miky stays at home. When Anastasia leave with him, she carries him in her hands. She always has a les, but do not want him to walk on the street; he would make dirty his paws. Only when she goes to a friend, she let him down. If she says him “Cati cato” (sit down), he stay there up till she take him in hand. Few days ago, he stayed five hours without moving. If she says “Agapi mu” (my love), not matter where he is, jumps and come to lick her on the face. You see, he is an intelligent dog, not a stupid cat.
- I hope we go by the tram, not by one of those infect and crowded busses. You cannot breathe there. And if a woman making a fuss, you will want to have been got out at the previous station.
o Keep quiet; we will go by tram.
- I am glad. I like these Italian trams. They are clean and air conditioner just runs. Even the passengers behave different. Seemingly you are in other country. Do we go up till the end?
o Yes. From there, we have to go other tree of four stations. We will take a bus or trolleybus, depending which one will come sooner.
In the station of the tram
- It’s odd; there is nobody in the station.
o It’s clear! They have written on this panel: strike 24 hours.
- You see, if we do not watch the TV? We would learn in time and did not make plans.
o O.k. You found a reason to watch the TV. You know I do not like it. You wanted to say that we would some different plans. And now, what plan do you have?
- I come back home. What plan? I have a lot of work to do. I am sorry to interrupt them.
o I would try to go. I promised to participate.
- And how do you arrive there?
o I should take a taxi, but it seems they make strike too. I did not see any passing by. Maybe someone will give me a lift.
- Try it. I come back. See you!
o See you!
Kostas is sorry being late at the literary circle, as punctuality is, in his opinion, one of the main attributes of the civilized man. Still, he hopes to catch the main part. As for Greeks the punctuality is something about which they do not like to hear, he has just great chances. He has the excuse of the strike, about which he did not know. He learnt only in the station. He was lucky that someone took him with his car. Otherwise, it would impossible for him to arrive. By tram he would need a half of an hour. On foot he never tried, but two hours would be a minimum necessary. It would be too much for the driver to carry him up till the destination. Still, he left him close to the centre. Further on, he must walk. He has just passed by the Syntagma Square. To arrive here, he passed between “Olympeion” and “Zappeion”, then about the Central Park, till the building of the Parliament. The columns of the temple of Zeus-Olympian looked stone-still the sky, as if they were wondering “What happened with us?”. Till here, the road climbed a little, he walked fast and began to pant. From here on, the slop is descendent, which is very well, as he does not want to perspire and to draw the attention of those in the others in this way. He wants to enter as discrete as possible. As he will not be present for the beginning is not a tragedy; he is not among the important members of the circle. The most of old members hardly know him after those two of his previous participations. Now, he is trying a moment of satisfaction: the route traversed always placed him. About Zappeion does not know much, but Olympeion and Central Park are able to delight anyone. The first is a page of history: the temple of Zeus Olympian and Hadrian’s Arch. From the temple remained only few columns, but they are excellent put in value by the architects of the city. You do not need to come close. From the distance, they are just more impressive. The distance and environment – vegetation and a small church, the perspective of Acropolis and Lykavittos hill (it depends of what angle you look) – make the landscape more mysterious. As for the Central Park, this is an exceptional oasis of silence in the middle of the uproar, created by the traffic. He fully tasted it more times, when some works obliged him to walk long distances through the centre of the city.
He is passing by the front of the University. Here learnt the grandfather and grand-grandfather. The mother does not escape an opportunity to remind him, every time when they pass by the front of the University. As it is expected, there are several statues here. All Athens is full of statues of the gods and mythological heroes. The most imposing is, of course the Athena’s one, on the fronton of the building. Down, there are those of the philosophers. Among them, more modest, that of the Ioannis Antonios Kapodistieas, the founder of the University, is really specific for the place. He is sitting on a chair, with the left hand leaning upon a book. It seems he was a handsome man. The statue could represent him standing up.
After Omonia Square, the elegant atmosphere of the town disappears. One says that, today, after the built the metro station, the square looks well. I cannot realize how it was before it. It is the space of the merchants of second and third hand. The Patission Avenue is the next on which he must walk. In its first part is called “28 October”, the day when Greece said NOT to Mussolini, refusing the crossing of the Italian army through Greece. It is not clear in which direction he wanted to cross Greece, but the Greeks are proud with their refuse, though it cost them the tragedies of the Second World War. It was useless, as Greece was not an important strategic objective for anyone of the combatants.
A pleasant opening is the building of the Museum of Archaeology. He should visit it one day. He proposed this many time, but other things were more urgent. There are so many museums in Athens. In one of them – he forgot its name – there are some antic statues that preserved the original colours. He is curious to see them, though is convinced they could not be nicer. Only white, as they look like today, they are elegant and underline the statue as it.
He passed by “Pedion Areos Gardens”. Finally, he arrived! Breath deeply, to can enter calm in the room. He only must climb upstairs at the first floor.
There are only a few persons in the room, insufficient to begin. If the strike made him to be late, though he come from the distance, the other abandoned, even if they live closer, would come by their own cars or even on foot. But they supposed the majority will not come and this will be an argument not to come. Were they more intelligent? It seems yes, but they proved in this way their lack of the interest for changing ideas with others.
Those who came are talking in small groups. On literary or artistic topics? No ! Daily trivialités. In a corner, some of them are amusing.
- Pascal’s assertion that man would be a thinking reed is of good or bad?
o I think it was for bad at the beginning. He thought that man, like the reed, bents according with the direction of the wind. Later on, as this is not just honourable, he thought to soften the phrase and added the word “thinking”.
- I do not know where he saw a reed that thinks.
o He wanted to say that man thinks as much as a reed.
- Natural, if you think that God made the man with what it remained after he created all the others beings, plants and so on.
§ In my opinion, what rises the man above the other animals was speaking.
· First, the biped position was.
§ So it’s said, but it is not sure this was the chronology, and anyway, the great jump the speaking was.
o If the feet are the owners of the intelligence, the myriapods should be the most intelligent.
· It is not too late.
§ The biped position, not the number of legs. The fact that he rises from four on two.
o That is inverse: the number of legs harm to intelligence. Then, the birds are on a superior level of the evolution.
- There were not the gooses those who saved Rome?
§ I was speaking seriously.
- This is your guiltiness. You were speaking about speech.
§ Speech means communication, and the animals communicate very well.
o Just better then men. They understand each other. As a proof, we try to make them to understand us, because it is clear we are not able to understand them.
§ On cannot talk seriously with you.
- Say that you want to speak and we listen. O. k., speak! Say what you want to say. I see there is not another way for us.
§ I said that speech contributed in the highest grad to . . .
- To men’s domestication.
§ Not. To their evolution . . . though, in a certain measure, maybe you are right.
- You remember the adage “We will never know how much the dogs, through their love and devotion, contributed to the men’s taming.
§ What I want to say is just the speech is that that destroys us.
- The philosopher came out from you. Yes, any good idea becomes bad through exaggeration. This is you wanted to say?
o You have started to think. Yes, in animals, for example, the natural selection has specific criterion: force, beauty etc. The peacock swaggers for impressing the peahen, the lion fight for the territory and so on. The man, who is an animal too, has instincts but, through speech, he denaturised his behaviour. The women, for example, talk about the fashion. But they talk each other and have created their criteria, according their taste, irrespective the men’s one.
- Keep quiet. The instincts are stronger. The fashion will never be a criterion for selection. Any man is interested in what is under the clothes. The women do not realize the ridicule of the fashion not even when it is disadvantageous for them.
§ This is exactly what I want to say: through speech they deviate from the main target.
· You are right here. Every woman would know hot to underline her qualities and grow dim her flaws.
o And the main flaw for most of them is to obey to the fashion even when it disadvantages them.
- Well, the fashion was only an example. The same happens in other fields, more important: philosophy, literature, arts, politics, almost everywhere.
o I knew we will arrive at politics.
§ Not, because he is a philosopher.
- You laugh, but it is real what I say.
They are amusing but, after the effort to come and discontent to find the room almost empty, Kostas has not good humour for their jokes any longer. In another corner, they discuss, of course, politics. These ones have not at least humour. Lamenting is only what they know. Instead, they are full of importance, shudder, each one thinks to be in possession of the truth, only the politicians are incompetent, with one exception – different from one speaker to the other – and, of course, the banks and European Union, which claim for Greece to pay its duties, already reduced many times. Their agitation is now amplified by the coming parliamentary elections. In the same day will be a new moon, Kostas thinks. The parliament will be a new one. Like the moon: the same, but with some parts of them lighted and many others in shadow, for a while. The Eternal Returning is a natural circle, since the world and earth. Sorry, not the earth! Only the world and not just for the beginning; only since the philosophers invented the syntagma “Eternal Returning”. Since we turn ourselves from on size to the other, maybe we will rest better. Have a pleasant rest, good people! God is watching. We will see again at the Final Judgement. Maybe, the Final Judgement already occurred and what happens today are its consequences. For the time being, as I said, God is watching not to happen to you what you want, as you do not know what to want. For the moment! I am optimist. One day you will know. Pay attention, not when it is full moon. Then, one knows, you cannot sleep well and, with the mind tireless, you will be wrong again. One says that, if you put your hand on the money when you see the new moon, you will have a lot of money in the following period. Unfortunately, the new moon cannot be seen, because just then it is close to the sun. “Sic trasit loria mundi!”
Is there anything else here? Yes, in another corner, three elder gentlemen are chatting discretely. One of them tells something.
- Some years ago, I was crossing a very nice area, through the mountains. At that time, that aria was unknown by the tourists. (Today, you must reserve room if you want to stay overnight.) We – my wife and I – new married, had just bought a small car, a FIAT 850 second hand. With us were my sister with her husband with a Renault 10 and another family of friends. I do not remember what car they had. Anyway, it was one as modest as ours. We all were young, the mountains look splendid, the weather excellent, so we changed our minds: instead of crossing the mountains, as we thought at the beginning, we decided to stay overnight in a village, situated in the highest point of the road, on a saddle between two mountains. The evening was setting in. Hardly we found someone willing to house us, of course, paying for it. People from there were not used with the tourist and looked at us, as we were some curiosities.
o Maybe they would had lodged you for a night in a shed, if you had been some poor men. Coming in cars and ready to pay for it was something new and odd for them.
- Exactly. A short and very quick woman accepted our offer. I do not remember where was her husband, if there was one; anyway, none men were there. The house, big and nice, was near the road, on an inclined slope, with a lawn in front. The single pretension of the woman was to put the cars in front on the house, on the lawn. Three cars into line on an inclined plane look like in an exhibition, especially because the road had a curve, so they were visible from the distance. After we fulfilled her desire, the woman was as proud as I nobody ever seen. She had two rooms for quests and offered them to us.
§ Any peasant house has a room kept clean for possible guests.
· There, they deposit the more valuable objects, children’s dowry, the objects without a daily utilisation. Guests could be the children left in other localities, who come to see their parents, grandchildren or other relatives. Not for foreigners.
o Sometimes they remain uninhabited forever.
- This house had two such rooms, just good for the six of us.
o You had luck to find a woman with opened mind.
- Yes, we were lucky. The surprise came the next day. We asked for one or two litres of milk. She was glad to offer us, but claim for it an exorbitant price. After I close my mouth – opened with amazement – I thought: here is what is to be isolated. As we offered money for something she was not expected to receive, for the milk, which she used to sell, she asked a price 100 (one hundred) times greater.
§ It’s clear! For her, you were people that could be speculated. And did you pay for it?
- We were naives, but not so stupid.
With the fright to be inopportune, Kostas plucked up courage and intervened in the talking, though he was much younger then the others.
- Let me tell you a recent happening, not from the previous century and not from the county, but from here. Just this morning, at a corner of a street, an old woman was selling some fruits and vegetables. By curiosity, I asked how much is one kilo of mandarins. She said me a price four times greater that from the market.
o She saw you are a stranger and thought she could deceive you.
- But I am not a stranger; I am Greek.
o You are not a Greek. You do not speak like a Greek.
- I am a Greek, but I spent my childhood in the United States.
o One can see it. I guessed you. But you are right; this is the mentality of the Greek merchant.
It is true, in Greece, the idea to deceive even your friend is not blameable, and the friend is not angry, as he would do the same. And if was deceived, he appreciates the keenness of the one who deceived him and proposes to himself to do the same next time. It is like in a game, and he hope in a return match. Unfortunately for them, such “games” are do not work in advanced societies. A businessman who deceives his partners goes out from the world of business, when the others learn he is incorrect. Is it good? Maybe! Still, in the same modern world, the real games became business. Important is to respect the rules of games.
Another gentleman, who kept silence till then, was visible worried, because the chat was turned from his preferred subject.
- As I said, this democracy, which enters in the mind of all imbeciles, existed in the spirit of the Greeks neither for yesterday, nor since the Christianity; nor even since Plato. It existed as early as in our Mythology, but not so generalized, as every dawdler has the right to pronounce in questions over his understanding.
o Democracy means equality; and if the equality is real, it means all the people to steal equally.
- People protest because some ones steal more the others.
§ With the Greeks things are a little more complicated. Some people can be accused of duplicity, because something think and something else do. The Greeks can be accused of triplicity: they something think, something else say and nothing do.
· I agree with what you said, Iorgos, but I did not understand the allusion to Mythology. Can you do more explicitly? I know you are an expert in this.
- I referred to the mythological variant of the Deluge. The survivor of the Deluge, Deucalion, after the withdrawing of the waters, on his returning way from the Parnas Mountain, had a dream, in which he was advised by the goodness Themis to throw behind all boulders he meet, as they symbolise the bones of the grandmother Gaia, who is the earth itself. From these boulders, men appeared. So, besides the natural followers of him and his wife, Pyrrha – among them Helen, their first son, considered to be the ancestor to the Greeks, the Hellens – a second category of people appeared, obviously inferior.
o The existence of two categories was explicable for those times.
- These two categories were simplistic interpreted by the Marxists to be slaves and free men, because of the slave system. But a slave could become free and a free man could become slave. The following of those two categories after the Deluge could not change their destine.
§ That’s true.
- It’s about the people of two qualities. They are born so and remain as they were born. The truth is, in the real world, these categories exist, even if the limit between them is not accurately traced. There are people born to lead the others, to create new values, to be forwards in their epoch, and people born to be leaded.
§ Correct! The genius is born; this is not a trade to learn in school.
- „Fortuna no mutat genus”.
§ Maybe you will translate it for me. In school I learnt Russian language, no Latin.
- It is from Horatius: the fate doesn’t change the genius.
o he education, experience is added to the initial dowry.
§ The ancient Greece had several geniuses. Maybe other nations would have, but they did not know how to use them. The political climate of Greece of other times allowed the cultivation the erudition and arts.
· I hope not to discuss to climate of today. I feel repugnance at politics.
o Even in our era, but some time ago, the Greeks have spread throughout the world and people accepted them. They did not go with army; they were common people, maybe merchant.
§ Most of them left to get rid of the poverty. They went to work. Everywhere, they were welcome and appreciated.
- Even if they were illiterate, they carried with them the moral dowry, inherited from their ancestors. The poverty did not diminish it.
o Is this any connection with what occurs today?
o You cannot refrain and enter politics. What did not succeeded the poverty made the good life without work of the last years.
§ The way of thinking of the young people is similar with that from a joke for children:
· What is more important: the sun or the moon?
o The moon, because it light during the night, while the sun do it during the day, when it is light anyway.
o A good one! I did not know it.
o Today, people are not pauper. They are poorer than before. What that worry them is not the poverty, but the pauperisation.
§ And because of it, they talk and talk as much as they little understand.
- But for their ideas they would fight a duel as some knights for the queen of France, but cannot because the Richelieu’s edict, about which they did not hear.
o The most of them not even about Richelieu.
As Kostas cannot refrain, he made the mistake of entering in discussion.
- You had accused people because they talk too much, though they are uneducated. But you speak too. I do not say you are not skilled, but when you talk about the economy of the country you make philosophy. As I already said, I came from the United States and am graduated in economy. Still, nobody asks me about my opinion on the crises.
o America had its crises too.
- From it, Greece did not draw any moral.
o My dear, when you arrive at the age of metals, you have few convictions.
- I observed this. The meaning of the age of metals is not clear for me.
o We, these over the first youths have our jokes as well. Well, the hair is silvery, teeth by gold and other metals, some rods by steel instead of bones, possible a peacemaker at heart . . .
- I understand.
He was tempted to say something about the head, but he refrained. It was being not only impolitely, but other idea he had not, so that the old people continued.
- I do not know what you understand. When I was a child, I thought that old people know everything. At that time, fifty years seemed to me a Methuselahic age. Anyway, 989 years was an exaggeration. It happened that, in the meantime I pass over this age (50, not 989) and notice that I am not enough ripe of judgement for some things.
As any youth, Kostas does not like to be subject of discussion, especially when elder people take him easy, so he took advantage when these ones were bantering each other and left.
On the returning way, the subjects approached by those old people were lingering in his mind yet, probably because they were only touched and not really discussed. Among them, why the Greeks renounce so abruptly at Mythology and adopted Christianity was one of his old dilemmas. He was convinced now that Christianity has a Greek origin more than a Jewish one. The influence of the Greek philosophy on the Jews was more then natural. They were not only neighbours. After 332 BC, that is after Alexander Macedon’s entering in Jerusalem, the Jews was under Greek rule up till 63 BC, when the Romans occupied them. The Greeks could not accept the Judaism, due to its nationalism. It is a pure Jewish invention. There is not other religion speaking about a chosen nation. More that it, besides a chosen nation, they speak about a messianic destine, waited with hate face to other nations and with hope of the most terrible revenge. For increasing the satisfaction of the revenge, they must cultivate the hate as deep as possible.
The Greeks could accept the Judaism; instead the poor Jews accepted joyfully some Christian ideas. That of the chosen nation was much less interesting, as the priests were ready to accept the co-operation with the representatives of the Roman Empire. As a proof, they delivered Jesus to the Roman soldiers for solving their problem.
For this, the Greeks needed to modified the doctrine and eliminate the idea of chosen nation. The Apostle Paul, who studied in Greece, did it.
A pleasant surprise came from Ileana, the Romanian lady who carried of Fotios. As she did not find a convenient job, she renounces to work in Greece and returned in Romania. Now, she came in Athens for several days, to solve some personal problems. She found Anastasia at her old address, learnt she had moved, but none of the neighbours gave her a useful piece of information. Fortunately, a saleswoman from a shop knew her telephone number and so they met. Seeing each other again was a joy for both of them. She is merry and a pleasant presence. She invited Anastasia in Romania, to visit her and her family.
Why not? Here is an unexpected idea! And, as good ideas must not postpone, they applied it immediately. It would have been rather complicate by plane – reservation, there is not airport in her village etc. – so thy chose to travel by bus. Ileana knows several Romanian companies doing this service, as she experienced this mean of transport.
At the departure, the agitation of people for a better place in the bus and the inefficient organization upset Anastasia. If the places had been reserved, the squash would have been avoided. But, as soon as the bus left, she recovered the trust. The bus is good and people relaxed.
From Bulgaria she had none impression, as the crossed it during the night. At the customs, she dozed. What really waked her up in the morning were the jolts of the car. They entered Romania. There were some traces of the asphalt on the road, but they made the pits steeper. Without the asphalt, on the earth, the ground would been smoother, only waved. After several kilometres that seemed to be endless, the route became better, still far for an international highway. She began to think the trip would be an adventure.
Easy-easy, they arrived in Bucharest. It was difficult to make an opinion. They only crossed it. Elegant and miserable districts alternate each other. One can see that the city was coquet in the past. Nice houses were not maintained in good condition for many years. It is clear they are not inhabited by those who built them. There is not the money that lacked them. On the contrary, the courts are full of object new and old, threw or deposited. What lacks them is the love for the house. Where sometimes were beds of flowers, there are garbage now. The centre of the city is also a mixture of old bad maintained buildings with some ultramodern ones by glass and concrete, which make a discordant note with the old architecture, much nicer. An exception is a new district of identical blocs of flats, at the end of which the huge building of the parliament can be seen.
As soon as they got out from Bucharest, everything is different. Suddenly, the route turned into a good highway. A little far away some hills appear, followed by mountains, among which the way winds gracefully. The landscape is beautiful. Through the windows of the car, a castle like those from the books for children was to be seen. She was told that, inside, it is more beautiful. Unfortunately, it could not be visited now. Not only because the bus does not stop here, and the visit would last several good hours. Maybe on the returning way.
Towards the evening, they arrived at the destination. The travel lasted almost 24 hours, with small pauses at every four hours.
The village in which Ileana’s family live is at the foot of Fagaras Mountains, a chain of 80 kilometres a little over 2000 metres high. So they told her. She did not measure them.
The hosts were waiting for them with the table full with all kind of food, particularly from meat. After a travel so long and wearisome, she would preferred to sleep, but is not possible. Ileana’s parents would feel offended. For welcome they received a small glass with a very strong alcoholic drink, something like ouzo but less perfumed. She seemed the need to eat something, but after it she received another glass of drink. Now, she was not sleepy any longer. With the food was more difficult: much too much, especially in that moment. But you could not explain to anyone. Ileana’s parents did not know other language but the Romanian. Their smallest daughter learns English in school, but her vocabulary is limited at the school activities. The teachers did not prepare the children for real talks. She has an elder brother who knows very well German language, but this one is totally unknown to Anastasia.
The sleep was over, after the dance began. It is a way of speaking dance. All people were cheer up due to the drink and now they were hopping face to face, laughing at everything. Important was only the atmosphere, and it was great.
They went to bed toward the morning and woke up at noon, when the table was equally full as it was in the evening. The only difference was a huge pot, from which a sweet-smelling steam was emerging. Of course, it was the sour soup.
Before the lunch, Anastasia succeeded to make a walk of reconnaissance around. The house is at the foot of the mountain, on the bank of a river, upper from it with about 20 metres. Between the house and river, they smoothed the ground and arranged there a nice garden of vegetables and a small orchard.
In the last time, a part of the garden was sacrificed for making room for a pool where hundred of trouts are ready to jump on the table. The water is brought through a sewer 100 metres upstream from the river. The river has much water throughout the year and the sewer has the debit of a good brook. In the garden, the sewer looks like a picturesque brook, without speaking about its utility.
A branch of the sewer supplies an electric micro-hydro-central. With a small investment, they have free electric energy. Such micro-hydro-centrals could be built at every 20 metres on all mountain rivers, where diligent people are for maintain them. In this farm, people proved this is possible.
More than it: though the sun shines here much less than in Athens, these peasants invested in a solar panel for warm water. The house has central heating with the energy supplied by their own micro-hydro-central. To be sure, they preserved the connection at the national net, but their consume is very little, sometime not at all.
A house apparently modest, from a modest village, has the comfort that many pretentious others have not.
This mountain area is poor and offers few opportunities. Consequently, people are not rich, but are hardworking.
From Kostas’ diary
Some days ago, a new statue was unveiled in Palaio Faliro, in front of the sea. Constantin Paleologul, the last emperor of the Byzantine Empire is represented. I cannot say it would be nice. Usually, the equestrian statues are more dynamic. This one is static, very static. The rider keeps an arm up, as he wants to bless. I do not think he wanted to bless the Turks. The horse seems to stop suddenly just in this moment. He stays well stuck on the front feet. The position of the head says that he will not go any longer. Maybe the rider wants it, but more probably the horse wants to do something in very this moment. The position of the tail says what he wants to do. Is this a way to illustrate how the Turks conquered Constantinople?
Anyway, I like the idea of rising monuments devoted to those who pointed the history of the country. Even those of the kings, though the Greeks are allergic to the monarchy. For all that, they respect the history, kings being part of the history. In Central Park, some direction plates say that the park belonged to the former royal park, an alley wears the name of the first king, Otto, and another of his wife, Amalia. Though it is a German name, Amalia is usual now in Greece. The name of the avenue in front of the park is also Amalia, as the hotel from the cross of the street.
At the entrance of the Pedion Areos Gardens the huge statue of the king Constantin guards.
On the Stadiou Avenue there is a statue of someone with a helmet. I do not know who is the man.
Greece, a country of contradictions
The drivers are very politely and understanding each other and with the pedestrians as well. The same men, out of the cars, as pedestrians, are churl. The men, not the women! If two man meet in a narrow space, they laminate and pass simultaneously, as no one want to yield. If a man and a woman meet in the same place, the woman resigned waits until the cad will pass. Every time when I gave priority to a woman, I saw in her eyes that I created her a joy, as she did not meet for long time, maybe never.
From the Occident, they took the custom of walking the dogs on the streets. It offers good opportunities for socializing, especially for women looking for a future husband. But they do not conceive to clean the misery after them. They use the walking for keeping the house clean, which is not at all civilized.
On the other hand, the preoccupation for the vegetation is remarkable. In any day of the year there are flowers on streets and balconies. It may me think that people are men with sensibility. The flowers do not grow alone. They must be cultivated, which implied work and money, namely exactly that lacks to the Greeks. But, for flowers, they are ready to make sacrifices. This is not from Occident. In Florida, the vegetation grows alone and people want to get rid of it. The pleasure of admiring flowers belongs to the Greeks.
There are direction plates on every corner with the name of the streets. Also, in every bus, tram and trolleybus stations, there are plates even with their program. The administration deserves our congratulations. Still, some people stick on them all kind of notices, so that the initial text becomes unreadable. The authors write there their address, so that they could be identified, but nobody punish them.
The Greeks gesticulate a lot when speaking. They do it even when speak at the telephone. This is why the devices hands-free are very helpfully, as they could use the both hands. When they walk it not always clear if they do jogging, speak at the mobile, or speak alone (a frequent custom here).
Looking an object of oriental art, for example, you appreciate its aesthetic qualities, but the object is strange. Instead, a Greek temple, a statue or a simple object of popular Greek art makes you to feel at home. Not in your apartment, but inside you. The object represents you and you are inside it.
There are several persons that do bathing in the sea every day, including winter. If it rains, they shelter under a penthouse, or an umbrella, where they play backgammons, eat, talk, or do nothing and, now and again enter the sea. Some of the one time, others more times. Their daily program contains several hours at the seaside, for some, almost all the day.
A lady of about 50 years old comes by bicycle, sign she live a little far away. Not very far, as I saw her in the market of our district. She undresses under the open sky and leave the clothes there. If it rains, she has a mantle and covers the clothes with it. Anyway, they are wet even during she undresses. She makes a little gymnastics, swims at least a quarter of an hour, runs on the sand, dresses and leaves by bicycle. On the bottom half of her body has a suffering, visible when she runs. All time she is alone. Rarely I saw her speaking a few words with other people.
Aphrodite appeared from the foam of the sea, but not the foam created her. The sea did it, and not alone, but fertilized by the sky, through the Uranus’ penis, threw there by Chronos, after he had cut it from him. The sky and the sea coupled for creating the symbol of the beauty.
When Zeus and Hera embrace each other a storm will be in the Universe. Today it rained torrentially after a strong storm. Nobody knows this couple would make children in the last time. Probably they are too old. Consequently, it rained vainly. Oh, no! It was not vainly. It washed the sidewalks, making what the cad people did not: removed the dejections of the dogs.
I learnt: on Stadoiu Avenue, there is the statue of Theodoros Kolokotronis. He was not a king, but field-marshal in the Greek army, during the War of Independence.
I am looking at the balconies of the buildings in front of me. They have racks for laying out to dry the underclothes mounted on the balustrades. The underclothes hang outwardly, although there are mobile racks in the shops, which can be installed anywhere inside. From some balconies, the bed-sheets hang over the windows of the inferior floor. I am wondering how is the Greeks, - hot-blooded and petulant – are tolerant face to the lack of civilisation of their neighbours? The only explanation is they are people of the same kind, proceed in the same way and dare not to reprimand their neighbours. The few others are in minority and must endure.
They probably were inspired from the Italian movies, but they omitted the cineastes used such images for suggesting the place of the action: a suburb, populated by people without education. My Greeks would not be happy at the idea they have mentalities of people from slums, but this is the situation.
That’s why the Americans do not put windows at the high buildings. Only glass, which cannot be open. From a block with over 100 floors, someone would throw something through the window in every minute. The streets would need net for protection the passer-bys.
Walking through different districts of Athens, you have the sensation of crossing different towns, even different epochs. Not only because of streets and buildings. This happens in most old towns. In Athens, the inhabitants are different. In old districts, the autochthonous population of Greece, with short people, prevails. The men are more vigorous. The old women walk with difficulty; they have infirmities in the lower part of the body. Most of the young women are terrible fat. If you ever thought knowing everything about the fat man, now you learn that you knew nothing. On says about the Americans are fat. It is true, but they are tall, and the supplementary kilograms are distributed. At one and half metre – sometimes even less – several added kilograms turns the body into a balloon. This is a happy case. Sometimes, the number of the kilograms is much more. The result is a mass of grease. The skin hardly can keep it inside and you expect to split in any moment. When this mass begins to move, you must look in other direction. It is unbelieving, but what seemed to be a balloon is a human being. The image is terrible.
How they arrived in such bad plight I do not know. The simplest explanation is a combination between laziness and good food, with which their ancestors were not used. It would be a wrong treatment during their childhood, when the parents wanted they to be tall but, instead of high, the diameter increased. I have compassion for them, but the gluttony cannot be eliminated. It is visible at most of them. They eat at a single meal more than me in the whole day. And they have at least four meals a day. It would expected that, between the meals to do some movement. Not at all. They stay in the cafés, where … taste something, usual sweet. When they talk – though usually sleepy – the preferred subject is “what to eat for grow weaker.
But I wrote about the fat women and forgot where I left from: about districts. Glyfada and Voula are two snob districts on the seaside. There live rich people, many foreigners. Forests of masts of the luxurious boats occupy the most part of the littoral. There is nothing Greek there. Kifisia is another luxurious district, at the opposite end of the town, toward the airport. There are also people with money there.
Still, I like Palaio Faliro. There are many Greeks here, came from other countries, where their parents mixed with other people and made children taller, some of them even blond. There are such exemplars in other districts, especially in central ones, like Kolonaky, but there are ambassadresses, banks, the Parliament there. Some of them come in Palaio Faliro to make jogging on the seaside. Some people make jogging by bicycles. They come with them by tram, bus or cars and run here. Besides the bicycles and more important than it is the equipment, like that of the professionals. The most amusing was a little girl of 3-4 years old by child’s scooter and helmet. There is a place for all the people: old and young, lovers, young mothers, fathers or old grandparents pushing prams, people of all ages making jogging, all you want. You feel here like in a resort in every day of the year. During the summer, there are some tourists, but the area is equally full with the inhabitants of the district. Piraeus looks very nice in the night, with its lights reflected in the water of the sea.
Christmas is after the corner. On many balconies appeared Santa Clauses in different position, suggesting that he is coming with presents for children and is ready to enter through the window. It’s nice.
A lady said that Greek people do not give much importance to the Christmas, as some customs are of German origin. They wait for the New Year.
Choosing 25 December as day of Christos’ birth is a compromise between the Christians and the adepts of the cult of sun. The emperor Constatin the Great himself, the first one who accepted the Christianity in Roman Empire, was an adept of this cult, in which Mithra, the god of the light, the “Invincible sun”, was born from a stone on 25 December. He fought with the sun and captured the divine bull. From the blood of the bull the plants and animals useful for the man appeared. Crossing the sky, Mithra see and hear everything, as he has 10,000 eyes and 1000 ears. He is armed with a bludgeon and drives away the demons (clouds) with it.
We must make distinction between faith, religion, church and the priest. Faith belongs to the individual and depends on his personality. Every man must believe in something. Religions are attempts of answering to peoples need to believe and depend of the society in which they were born and their historic evolution. The church is a social organization of a religion. It is an institution. The priest is a person as any person. The relationship between a priest and the parishioners depends on his culture and talent for this profession.
The need of believing is natural. It will exist forever and, through it, the religions.
People need a psychological support, a motivation for their struggle for living.
A divinity is like the sun. He gives us without pretend something for us. It is our problem if we are able to use his gifts. If we stay too long under the sunlight, is possible to suffer unpleasant consequences. Also, trying to join with God, may be similar with the wish to move our house in the sun. We would burn before arriving there.
Religion is like a window nice coloured. From this reason, it is not transparent, any longer. There is nothing to see through it.
It’s a day of spring on 1 January. Lots of people are at the seaside, walking through fresh air and sun. Some ambitious persons are swimming in the sea. Unlike Miami, where is humid, and New York, where is cold, in Athens is dry and warm.
While I was walking, I met an elder family, my mother’s friends. They live some block upper. He is a Greek from the children refugee in Romania because of the Civil War. Unlike the majority of such people, who has communist opinions, he is an intelligent and equilibrated man. I did not hear him saying their standard phrases. Odd enough, more dashing is his wife, Athenian by birth – she affirms it – though seems more rural.
I told them that last night, just before twelve o’clock, I came here, at the seaside, to see the fireworks and the joy with which people enter the New Year. In Omonia, where I was several years ago, it was very nice. The city was bathing in the light of the artifices, the streets were full of people of all colours from all continents. After a small joke of him (The sparks, not matter how many, do not give light), they said how people from the New York celebrate the New Year in Time Square. They watched it at the TV. I answered that there is not fireworks to see there, because of the high buildings and the crowd in Time Square is terrible. You must come much earlier for penetrating there. But, the joy of people, high spirits, maybe the drink, makes an atmosphere that compensates any effort. In Miami, the fireworks were beautiful, but there were not people on the streets. Here, in Palaio Faliro, I was expected to find both fireworks and merry people. There were nothing from these. I was extremely disappointed. The streets were deserted. Even the restaurants were closed. Only at distance, in Piraeus and from several ships some artifices were launched at twelve o’clock. As for the people, I met only a group of six young boys and girls, speaking an unknown language. She explained the fear of burglars is the cause. People stay in houses to guard it. I thought to say the joke with what some people do when they have nothing to do. (They undress and guard their clothes.) Of course, I refrained. The gentleman helped me: in Romania, I heard a adage: “you was sleeping with the purse with money under the head and was afraid not the steal yourself”.
Anyway, the lady’s argumentation cannot be true. Maybe it works for old people. The majority of those walking on the streets and launch artifices are young people, some adolescents.
Soto voce, hoping that his wife will not hear, he opened his heart saying that one of those six youths I saw last night was their son, along with his friends.
In front of me, there are about twenty pigeons pecking grains. One of them does not eat. He is preoccupied to draw away the others. The ones threatened by him fly one or two metres and continue to peak. He chose another victim and so on. Grains are a lot and on large surface. I do not know why Picasso chose them as symbol of peace. The pigeons fight each other pitilessly. Even if there are grains enough for one hundred years to food all pigeons in the world, there is one who wants to keep all grains only for him. On the other hand, they make couples for life.
My mother and father are Greeks. Both of them kept Greek nationality, though the were educate in the United Kingdom, received English citizenship and then the American one. O was born in Australia, but spent my childhood and received American citizenship. Still, I considered to be a Greek and Greece was for me an ideal, the country that spread the culture in the Europe and, via Europe to America. I was proud to be a Greek and, sometime I probably was exaggerated with my classmates: “we, the Greeks, made you what you are.” Now, I am a Greek from Greece. Still, I am not adapted, yet. Each time when I want to do something as I used to do in the State, I learn that it is not possible. Greece is different. And this occurs in the simplest situations. In those more complicated things can be just grave. In economic problems, I am confused. I am graduated just in economics. What Greece does in economy is exactly the opposite with what I think it ought to do. There is not a single economic doctrine, beginning with that of the Adam Smith and ending with the most modern ones for what the Greek economists do. K.K.E., the Greek Communist Party, speculate the “democratic” inclinations of the Greeks, stirs them, provoking anarchy. There are many people with communist conceptions, but Marxist doctrine was only a propagandistic support for the former communist regimes. Its only purpose is the instigation of the mob against the leaders of the society. If Marx was a philosopher, he was the first that built a doctrine based on hate and crime. He appreciated that, in full development of the industry, the worker will be the majority and they will lead the society. The idea was stupid; they are not a majority even today; on the contrary, modern industry needs less and less workers. In the past the farmers were in majority, but they never leaded the society. What it counts is not the number of those who could be rallied, but the idea that rallies.
Still, there is an optimistic variant: my opinions are naïve, as I have not enough experience.
Nothing is lost; everything is mislay.
From the morning I look for a paper on which I put down something and I do not find it. It is not lost; I am sure for it. Nobody handles among my things and I do not throw but the very old ones, after a rigorously checking, making at least a copy.
Maybe the assertion from the beginning of this note is not just original. It looks like with the principle Lavoisier-Lomonosov. This one was not original too. Ovidius did it also in “Metamorphoses”: Omnia mutantur, nihil interit” (Everything changes, nothing is lost). The old Greeks used to say: “Nothing is born from nothing; everything become from something existing before”. In oriental religions, there is the principle of successive reincarnations. But first, the man felt from the Universe and finally he will return there. So, nothing is lost.
In comparison with these principles, mine is more general. That’s why I think that, if Lavoisier-Lomonosov became the principle number one in thermodynamics, mine would be principle number zero. If its value is zero too, it means that I reached the perfection.
Maybe until tonight I will find the paper.
Speaking with the neighbour next door, an old Greek gentleman, about the plumber who is to make a common reparation, he asked me if he is a Greek. My positive answer disappointed him.
The difference between religions is not some simplicity ones, like mono, bi, tri or polytheist. The criterions are subtler. Also, their born is not linked but symbolical with a name, like Buddha, Akhenaton, Jesus, Mohamed or anyone other. As for Jesus, he never wanted to produce a schism inside the Judaism. He only wanted to correct the bad behaviour of the priests. There were Christian ideas before him and other ones appeared after him. The Christianity as we understand now is a complex of ideas formed in time. The religion, philosophy, people’s mentalities continuously evolve and influence reciprocally.
Shakespeare is great not because he put the question “To be or not to be”, but because he was se clever not to give the answer.
The Greek, if he does not know, he confabulates. He never says, “I do not know”.
- The helicopters and jet planes, though have different propulsions, utter a similar noise.
- The air cries, feeling struck.
- Were you sleeping?
o You have just interrupted me by reading. I was dreaming to read.
- Was nice your dream?
o It was about a perfect society.
- Then, I did a good deed waking you up.
o Wait a little. That is…, let me see what I thought sleeping.
- The sleep of ration birth monsters.
o Look! Theft, swindle, corruption and all the others are universal temptations. But they are possible only where the society is permissive. In small rural traditionally localities, the public opinion is strong and hinder people from doing bad actions. There, because everything is open, the shame is a curb.
- How do you know how it is in the villages? You never lived there.
o I know. From literature, from movies. At the opposite pole, in the large urban agglomerations, the civilisation could work, but the reality proves this solution is not viable. Only the fear of law could work, but again we see this one does not work.
- The modern justice is based on a code of laws that must be perfect and the judges, like computers, apply it. Of course, nothing is perfect, but is perfectible.
o It would be great, if it not be a utopia. The “dictatorship of law”, implying a perfect code of laws, is like the communist society, with central planned economy.
- I think the best solution does not have to deal with the justice. Now, stand up! We have work today.
Some days ago, at a café, Miky jumped from Anastasia’s hands and run to smell the dog of a gentleman, talking with a friend. It was a nice dog, with a clean wait fur, much too big – almost huge – for Miky, a small jewel of twenty centimetres, Yorkshire terrier. Miky had not interest for the muzzle of the other dog; he only wanted to smell his back. Unfortunately for him, this one was too high. He had to stand up on the back feet, but this was not enough, so he must spring up. He was very amusing as he was hopping. From time to time, he turned his head toward Anastasia, barked short and hopped with more élan. All people around, clients and passing-bys, were amusing by looking at him. Mike was applauded at open stage.
- You speak about people’s sentiment as regards the animals. I still have in memory a case, as I lived it. Many years ago, in the building cross the street from our block of flats, a family of old people lives. For not spoil those few beds of flowers and vegetables, they kept the dog that they had – an old one – in a fold of 2 x 1.5 metres. During the nights, the dog used to yelp at every 30 seconds. It was lugubriously. The owner, probably with a weak hearing, did not care for us. Our nights became sinister. Finally, the dog died, but after few days their son brought another don. This one was young, so we had silence for several years, but, in time, the dog started to yelp almost in the same way, proving that the conditions was guilty. I do not know what happened on, as we moved from there.
o Even the dogs can fall ill with asthenia, if they are human condition of life.
- Yes, I knew this joke. The assertion “The man can make sick with asthenia even a dog” is more true, unfortunately.
o I have a memory with people, not with animals. It was not a dog, but a child. It was summer and someone used to put a child under one year on a blanket on the lawn in the back of our block of flats. She leaved him there alone without any supervision. He was not able to walk, so he was condemned to stay there, on the blanket. The area was safe, but the child was alone. He yelped like the dog about you said, also at every 30 seconds. The only difference was the sound: something like with a “mama”.
- I am cannot comment on this subject. It breaks my heart. Sometimes the men are not human.
- It seems that ouzo makes me stupid.
o I think the contrary; it makes you clever, as you have just found it.
- Ah, what a necklace has you dog! There is even a cross hanging from it. Is it baptized?
o Do not be acrimonious. Pay attention, Anastasia could hear you. It is her present.
- Is its birthday?
o It is the child of Dixi, her dog.
- Not Miki’s?
o No, Miki is a boy. Dixi is a girl. She gave it me as a present, but she loves it, as it would be her any longer.
- Yes, her love for animals really is formidable.
o As soon as she sees this ugly one, kiss him everywhere, from head to back.
- You must not judge her too hard. She has to love someone.
o You are right! Anastasia’s behaviour might seem odd, but she must be understood. Someone who never was caress, comfort, did not receive presents but some insignificant ones in childhood, feel the need of doing for others what nobody did for her. And now, at her age, instead of people did it with animals. Her sentiments did not blunt. On the contrary, they are amplified now. Looking her the way in which she caresses the dog (Miki mu, agapi mu), you understand there is nothing formal; there are her authentic sentiments, very strong. It is impressive that the animals answer in the same way. I never saw two persons with the same sentiments.
- About the lovers of animals, they said that they have not a surplus of love for animals, but a need of love from the others toward them. They do not keep any animals, but only those who can be trained to manifest attachment face to the one who caress and give them food. These people need to be loved by others. There is not the love for animals, but the need to be loved.
o This is what Anastasia did not enjoy to have.
It would seem natural to think that people who had a happy childhood and good health at the shelter and protection of some loving parents will become at their turn generous and good with those around them. Also, we find excuses for those with a different fate. We forgive them misdeeds, avarice, the lack of scruples and others like these, thinking their unhappy childhood was the cause. He must struggle for his rights and the struggle renders him grim, formed his character. Sometime so it occurred, but not always.
Anastasia is the opposite example. She was almost blind by birth and need long treatments for see, never good enough. He was directed to sports, for which she had some physic qualities, but an accident – due to the weak eyesight – her evolution stopped. Her first dream felt suddenly. If her father gave her some attention, her mother was lacking of maternal instinct. She never smiled to the child and, instead of caresses, she gave her several slaps every day. Probably she did not want this child. After a childhood in tears, she spent the adolescence abroad, among the strangers, in a boarding school for foreign children with problems. Her problem was the eyesight; the others’ were graver. She was married without been asked. It’s true, the husband was handsome, graduated, but he never loved her. He had many gallant relationships before the marriage and much many after. They were within an ace for divorce several times. Before the accident, he lived with one of his former secretary more than his wife and the separation was imminent.
For all that, she care of her husband with all attention, loves their children, educated them and is known as a generous person; she intuits the others’ needs and help with what she thinks it would useful for them. She did not give money to the beggars, especially the minors; this would be a gesture of hypocrisy, even harming for the future of a child. She helps the active ones, wants to improve their life when they cross a difficult period.
There are enough arguments for demonstrating that the assertion according with a happy childhood models a generous man and reciprocal is not true in all cases. Anastasia’s case shows that, on the contrary, an unhappy childhood made the child more sensitive, looking with condescendence the others’ troubles, has understanding and to help them.
Axel Muntel, in “The book from Sant Michele”, relates the assertion of a beggar, according with the poor Italians are the most generously, unlike the rich ones, from which he receives nothing.
Maybe, sometimes, Anastasia was wrong. Anyone can be culprit or innocent in some cases. The pretension of being absolutely innocent is graver than some accidental guiltiness, especially when they were made unwillingly. That’s so, because the intention is first. The one who proposed to himself to be innocent, first he thought the bad, but refrained to do it. The one good intentioned never thought to make a bad deed.
The criteria, according with we judge, are different from a person to the other. That’s why, we can be wrong. Here is an example. The similarity between dolphin and stark seems to be greater than between dolphin and mouse. This is true, if we have not in view Linné’s classification of the species, according with the dolphin and mouse are mammals (viviparous) and the shark is fish (oviparous). Of course, Linné could find other criteria. If he had, we do not?
In her mature life, Anastasia remember many times a fable learnt as a child. She did not deeply understand then its moral. Maybe this is the reason she kept the fable in memory. In the meantime, she applied it many times. Here is the fable. One day, a peasant’s donkey felt in a well. As the donkey was very old and the well was dried and must fill up, the peasant thought to do it just now. As it is not useful to try to get out the donkey he will do two things in the same time, burring the donkey and fill up the well. So he begins to throw earth in the well. But, at every shovel of earth, the donkey shook the earth from his saddleback and stepped on it. Easy-easy, he got out.
Maybe, life will throw on you with all kind of troubles. The secret is to shake on them and go on. Life deserves to be lived, not matter how we think it would be, bad or good.
Anastasia’s weak eyesight made her parents and those around her to consider she has a handicap and, consequently, without perspectives and cancelled any possibility of affirmation. Nothing more false! In reality, Anastasia is a clever woman and her handicap enhanced her mind. In spite of her bad lucks, she did not let herself defaced.
Although later, the fate smiles to Anastasia. Besides the insurance received from the U.S.A., she inherited other estates from her parents and relatives, so that, now, she is, if not a rich woman, at least one without financial problems. Of course, she is proud of her wealth and displays it ostentatiously. Still, on her face one could read the discontent of a life without soul satisfactions. Kostas has his family, so she sees him fleeting. Nicky is in Cyprus. Fotios is alive, but he is a vegetal more than a man. “Odiseu” came back not with his shield and spear in hands, but carried by hand by Anastasia. The shield and spear were, this time again, in the hands of the woman. Athena, the goddess of intelligence and skill, warfare, battle strategy, handicrafts and wisdom is represented with shield and spear. Yes, the wisdom must be defended. It does not impose by itself; it is vulnerable.
How love appeared, we do not know, but we pretend to know. According with a known myth, the divinity made man without sex. From some uncertain reasons, he cut it in two and, since then, those two halves seek for each other without find. It is the myth of the android. It explains the desire. So, for it we have an explanation. Not for the love. When the mother of Bulă (a fictive personage in Romanian jokes, symbolising a stupid man) asked to her husband to make sexual education to their son – but in a delicate way, with examples from vegetal and animal world, as he is a sensible child - the father, after one of their usual visits in a brothel, said to him: “Well, my son, learn from me that in animals and even vegetables it is the same”. Of course, there are other explanation as well, not much different. And still, the reproduction of the trees, for example, is not by kernels or fruits, but through the flowers. It is there where the two sexes are to be found and, maybe their love, the one that we try to understand with rational means.
About the kindness we are poor in myths. How much truth is in the assertion “man is born good, but the life makes him wicked”? The first characteristic of every being is the instinct of survival. The man is born as a fighter; the struggle for life is his characteristic. Good or ill nature – as we define them in the world nicknamed civilised – will take form in the relationships with the other people. Every living cell tries to develop itself on the account of the environment; its evolution stops at the meeting with another similar cell, which do the same thing.
More than other beings, the man is a social one. For him, the relationship with the other people is added. That’s why, to be civilised means to respect the others. The translation of the word “Omonia”, the name of one of the most important squares in Athens, is “harmony”. Probably it is there where people used to conciliate at a glass with ouzo. It sound well, but today is better not to be there during the nights. How is that that, after centuries of Christian education, people became worse and worse?
The most mythology has at the base the Chaos or a symbol of the evil; the god of well needed to come, to defeat him and created the organized space in which the man can live. Marduk made up the world from the body of Tiamat, a marine monster. It means that evil is primordial. The will appeared through civilisation. The man only imitates the deeds of the gods. If gods needed to overthrow a monster or a primordial being and only after this to make the world, the man, in his turn, must to do the same when he builds a citadel or a house. This is the justification of the sacrifices – sanguinary or symbolic. The Christianity, speaking only about God, avoiding the primordial evil, lost the philosophic vein. In Mythology, there were good and evil gods. The faith reflected the life. The gods were among the people. In Christianity, there are only good saints.
The malefactor is, in a certain measure, a suicide, because he must hide a part of his identity. As a social being he is not entirely integrated in society, namely he kills a part of his being. Is he free? Not even the freedom of speech. Most time he whisperings, with his mates. He hides his face and look even when he doing nothing ill. The usage and conscience of his incorrectness make him to isolate himself. He build an artificial jail around him even he is free. He is not open toward the society. As part of the society, he is its corn-cockle. Even if people did not identify him as a malefactor, he knows who is and does not risk to be put at his place. He does it by himself. From the social point of view, he is a dead man.
Christian religion, starting from the idea that man is born evil, preaches the goodness by the fear of God, hoping that the man will improve his position between the two extremes. As expected, the result is null, because the arguments are not persuasive, and an ideal – as any ideal – is impossible to be reach. Preaching a realist solution would have been more successfully.
So, man is born evil, but the contact with the others tames him. Maybe the word evil is too hard. He is born monopolizing, greedy, rapacious. On the other part, society does not make him good, but only tolerant. He accepts the other, learn to break his bents, not because he became better, but because he learnt this is the single way. The parents are tolerant with the children when they are bored to vainly make them reproof, or they never did it: “let him doing it; he is only a child”, as if he will be educated at old age.
We should define the good and ill nature in a different way. I do not know how, but not this is the problem. The fact is that they exist in our being, and not only in us, but in some animal too, in different proportions. Another word that we use but is not definite is the soul. In the past, people tried to explain by it people’s character and the source of life. Some of them placed it in the liver. From here, the expression “I will eat him liver” appeared. Some tribes even did it, with the defeated enemy. From here, the idea that people from such tribes were cannibals. This was a lie. The gesture was only a symbolic one. In Etruscan mythology, the macro-cosmos has a correspondent in a micro-cosmos laying in the liver of every man.
Of course, the soul is not in the liver. Then, where is it? The bookshops are full of books with occult subjects. As the booksellers are merchants, it means they sell such books, so there are buyers, namely people having such questions and hope to find the answers in these books. If some scientist had done it, there would been well, but only people unable to solve simple problems have such preoccupations. (Metaphysics – the science of these who ploughed in the examination of physics.)
Watching the TV, I see a crocodile eating something with open mouth, though the water is miserable, full of other repulsive beings. This is not a problem for the crocodile. But we do the same. The air is not pure, but full al lots mineral, vegetal and animal particles, died of alive. We do not grasp them. Another example: medusas that we see in the water of seas are almost transparent and gelatinous. If they had been more transparent and jelly-like, we would have not grasped them. And still, they exist. So, some objects, beings, mediums could exist around us that our organs of sense do not perceive. A more eloquent example is that of the light. With all efforts of the scientists, we do not know much about it. There is an undulatory theory, but a corpuscular one as well, we can speak about photons, but they are useful only in technical applications. What the light really is we do not know. It is the same with the waves of different kinds. We only noticed by experiences their behaviour and know how to use them. For radio and television we make different antennas, though we do not know what these wave are, not a question to put our hands on them.
In all this incertitude, something is clear: we will never know where is the soul, but it does not mean that it does not exist. So, what is the difference between the faith of the people from the past, according with the soul would be in the liver and our conviction that genetic program is in DNA (dezoxi-ribo-nucleic acid)? Maybe only the fact the expression “I will eat his liver” has no longer any signification, as we cannot eat our enemies’ DNA.
A serious problem is how we educate the young people to find their way in the society? How will he know to put in value his natural inclinations, to choose between well and evil? His soul will finally be his personality, and this one is mouldable.
As all meridionals, the Greeks are passional people. Among the passions, the love is present. Latin people had Amor (amour); the Greeks had Eros. I do not know how was at their time; today, the word amour is used for a platonic love, while erotic for a carnal, sensual one. As a matter of fact, in Greek language, eros means desire, so the difference is clear. Only Plato gave it a different interpretation, as a play of the hazard, symbolized by the play of the knucklebones. It is true that love does not obey to the ration and, from this point of view, the philosopher was right, even his interpretation has not link with the initial sense of god of desire. Besides, in our world of people of letters, we can wrong easily writing Eros instead of Eris. The mistake is grave. Not because Eros was a god and Eris a goodness. We are not misogyny, but Eris was the goodness of feud. It’s true, the feud is aleatory too; one never knows when, where and why it appears. As usually, Zeus conceived her, during one of his escapades, more erotic than amorous.
We must exercise the admiration both for Voltaire and Rousseau, as they are among the great spirits of the humanity. But we cannot take as models both of them. They did not agree each other, as their conceptions were opposite. And still, sometimes, we are tempted to render justice to one or another, according with our mood and situation.
Reasoning and sentiments could be conciliated each other? We want it, but it is not possible. And then, how we should to do? Are we condemned to be . . . in two boats in the same time? Reasoning and sentiments must coexist. We have to find a modus vivendi.
The wish of creating a non-contradictory philosophic system is absurd, as time as life itself is made by ontological contradictions. Not only full of them but also born from them: positive and negative, well and evil, black and white, devil and divine and so on. Only the one who does not think enough may think he is a philosopher with such pretensions.
The same is with the dichotomy between Apollonian vs. Dionysian. There is an Apollo in each of us, but also a Dionysus. As the peace between the two ones is not possible, an armistice is the only way for our quiet. But it means the mediocrity in the same measure.
And then, which is the wise solution? If the squander son from biblical parabola had knew that he would come back, he would has not left. A certain measure of ignorance is necessary. Those two brothers had the same knowledge, as they had the same education, but one of them was more obedient, while the other more naughty. He did not have enough trust in counsels. The difference is only of mentality. Finally, the squander son could say: “Thank you God that you gave me the test of voluptuousness, the thirsty of pride, and the envy, and double-dealing, and hate. With them nobody is great. But without them nobody is alive.”
Ration is predictable. That’s why it can be counteract by those who have interest to do it. Only passion is unpredictable. Sometimes it has success just because the surprise. That’s why is well to know that, in hidden nooks, it lies in wait.
Anastasia has friends, because she is good-natured. Besides, she is correct and a conversation with her is pleasant, as she is an intelligent woman. Only wicked people have not friends. They have only comrades for their ill-deeds.
Not matter if they are two different characteristics or values on the same scale, the kindliness and wickedness depend on man’s nature. They are genetic. The life offers him the opportunities in which his nature will be manifest.
After a lost battle, you must have the courage to start again. Anastasia lost many battles and, after all, she recovered. Her courage became stronger, fortified her.
There are sorrowful some people because they are “in duty with a death”. The death is only the end of the life. You do not listen a good concert waiting for its end. You enjoy listening it, while it is played. When it finishes the joy finishes too. We should consider “convicts to life”. In this case, we should obey our penalty as is right to do.
The kindliness should be cultivated like the cleverness, which we have in different quantities.
Fotios, ironical means “to light” in Greek language (fotizo), so the opposite of what happened with him. Instead to light, he lost his own organ of sense: an eye.
Anastasia means resurrection, revival. Was it a predestined name?
Many women want to preserve al long as possible the passed beauty of the youth. Wrong! („Forma bonum fragile est” – Ovidiu) The secret of the life is to know who to get old on a beautiful way.
End of the roman