By Constantine Michael*
There has been a lot of discussions about the economic crisis that Greece is going through. The unsuspecting, of course, if not innocent, citizen does not seem to understand that the crisis that plagues our country is not only economic. First of all, we would say that it is a crisis of values because the Modern Greek individual has reduced his financial comfort to absolute capitalistic value. In other words, although the economic hardships are unquestionable, it seems in the eyes of Greeks to be truly unbearable because it directly affects the core of our values: money.
The frantic predation of money, as well as the frenzied quest for happiness in the material goods, which has been the ultimate goal of the Greeks over the last decades, has led us to an unprecedented overestimating of things. Nothing is perfect unless it is dressed in the golden coat of money. While knowledge seems to be useless, if it cannot be cashed in Euro, the half-truth is purified when one become rich through it. In the same way, teaching philosophy to anyone who is not rich is unacceptable, while musical education is the subject of mockery and irony if it is not forged in the judging boards of reality shows or if it does not turn into profit. It is therefore easy to see that by making money the measure of everything, we have lost every sense of morality from our lives.
And if all these seem remote and out of our everyday life, it would be useful to consider the change of the Greek value system at the level of interpersonal and social relationships. We would then find out that the Greek citizen has carefully deprived every trace of respect for his fellow man, every nugget of solidarity, altruism and humanity, replacing them with an uninterrupted search for money, accompanied, of course, by intense suspicion. Somehow our faith has been lost, not only in the religious sense, but more so in ancient Greek.
Thus, trust has disappeared, resulting in the depreciation of institutions which for years have been a solid link of Greek society. In the consciousness of the average Greek, all politicians are now traitors, while the religious leaders exploit their flock, real love is lost, and trust in the word of honor has disappeared. The perception of Modern Greeks is limited to a generalization which, despite its realistic basis, acts as a blindfold in their thinking, depriving them of faith and hope in everything. On the scale of our peculiar morality, therefore, we place first everything measurable and then every immaterial value.
The most alarming, of course, is that the crisis of values concerns not only the alienated middle-aged, but also the idealistic young people, even the formerly pure children. From an early age, students become accustomed to the mentality of grading. Thus, they view grades as a measure for the success or failure of each class, without giving any importance to principles, which, while they should be transposed through the educational process, are for most professors out of context knowledge. We conclude, then, that selfishness and ulteriority are taught to children and young people, albeit indirectly.
A youth with such a poor infrastructure is more vulnerable to moral degradation and to the value crisis. But the trained man has the power, instead of panicking, to take advantage of the current juncture, to remember the principles and values he has sidelined over the years. That is why the first requirement of a better society is to pay attention to the education of young people. Young people are the ones who will lead us out of the moral, social and economic crisis. It would be equally important for all of us to realize this: some values entail and presuppose honor and, despite the effort to believe the opposite, unfortunate is whoever tries to find honor written on a tab with the euro symbol on it.