OPINION

Ready for the big bang?

The riots in England sparked a flurry of commentary in Greece, most of which, in an effort to understand the complex web of causes that created this explosion, concluded more or less with one common theme: comparing the reaction of the average Greek to that of the average English person to a situation that has diverged from the day-to-day.

Of course this was not the first time that the people of Britain have kept a cool head during a crisis and shown a willingness to contribute toward its resolution.

In the 1970s, during one of the worst financial periods in the country?s recent history, the British were happy to keep their lights switched off and light candles instead, even in shops.

?Keep calm and carry on? is the motto.

For Greeks, in stark contrast to the average levelheaded Briton, any break from what each individual has come to view as his or her version of normalcy, sends shock waves through the entire social and political system. This effect is much more pronounced in 2011, when people are really in the trenches and the changes are coming at them so fast and so unpredictably that even the British are caught unawares.

The important thing, however, is not to do everything you can to dodge the unpredictable, firstly because it?s unavoidable by its very nature and secondly because there is a lot you may end up missing out on in the process.

The issue is about how you react to a situation that comes out of nowhere and changes the tempo of your life.

Here, it is not the leadership of a country that will be judged by its reaction, but the nation.

Composure, it is well known, is nowhere among the many virtues of Greeks. Does this mean that they have some kind of natural bent for self-destruction, just like the British have a natural inclination for balance?

Being drawn to the bad and feeling the urge to destroy anything that has been painstakingly constructed is an intrinsic element of human nature. We have seen both manifested on many different occasions in Europe and we will most probably see them manifested again.

But if the world is in the process of experiencing a big bang, then where will we stand? Huddled in some corner trying to avoid the meteor shower or choosing to do something productive instead?