Re­lent­less de­vel­op­ments

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - BY COSTAS IORDANIDIS

If our tra­di­tions

were still alive to­day, the kallikantzaroi, or malev­o­lent gob­lins, would be mak­ing a mad dash to re­turn to the un­der­world. And re­lieved by this life­sav­ing turn of events, to­mor­row’s Epiphany would be the sym­bol of mankind’s re­birth. How­ever, given that we are the chil­dren of En­light­en­ment and God’s word, free of myths and su­per­sti­tions, we will carry on be­ing scan­dal­ized by the kallikantzaroi – in other words the po­lit­i­cal party lead­ers on both a lo­cal and Euro­pean level, the tech­nocrats and ex­perts and all other re­lated bells and whis­tles in our daily lives. There were those who were sur­prised re­cently to see the coun­try’s “athe­ist” Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras at­tend mass on New Year’s Day. A rare phe­nom­e­non in Greece’s re­cent his­tory, some an­a­lysts com­mented. Of course New Democ­racy leader Kyr­i­akos Mit­so­takis also at­tended. To­mor­row, the day of Theo­phany and the Bless­ing of the Waters, po­lit­i­cal lead­ers, min­is­ters and deputies will all gather to ob­serve the cross be­ing thrown into the waters for tele­vi­sion’s sake. One could say that the coun­try has turned into a land of pi­ous Chris­tians. How­ever, the es­teemed purists of mod­ern­iza­tion have noth­ing to worry about. This is not the case; we are not about to ob­serve the re­vival of Byzan­tium. Our lead­ers have not been over­come by spir­i­tual soul-search­ing. This is be­cause all the way from the ex­treme right to the ex­treme left they are singing the same song. While our lead­ers may high­light the huge ide­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences be­tween them dur­ing the ex­er­cise of power, if these truly ex­isted then the en­tire sys­tem would have col­lapsed a long time ago. But in re­al­ity, while walk­ing par­al­lel roads, ev­ery­one is mov­ing to­ward the same goal, which is none other than the mech­a­niza­tion of hu­man life and ev­ery­one’s sub­mis­sion to the “logic of the econ­omy.” The “road to slav­ery” was not just the aim of the Soviet sys­tem, it seems to have spilled over into Western so­ci­ety. The re­ac­tion to what is hap­pen­ing to­day comes from the new right, which sim­ply preaches the myth of time­less re­turn. But to­day’s lib­er­al­ism is not a kind of mod­ernism, but a re­turn to tra­di­tional 19th cen­tury lib­er­al­ism, with all the nec­es­sary tech­no­log­i­cal ad­just­ments and a larger dose of cyn­i­cism. So­ci­ety, how­ever, has reached the point of sat­u­ra­tion, say those who con­tinue to hope that some­body else will per­form a mir­a­cle. But the prob­lem, per­haps, is that we have be­come ac­cus­tomed to these po­lit­i­cal crea­tures; some­times we even like them, de­pend­ing of course on our in­cli­na­tions, our fam­ily his­tory, our self-in­ter­est or at least our es­thetic pref­er­ences. What’s more, new lead­ers might be sought, surely even more lu­di­crous than the ex­ist­ing ones. De­vel­op­ments are bound to be re­lent­less.

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