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, Friday’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. On Friday, 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.