OPINION

Sharing a common fate

What we need is a clear head and an open heart. This is even more apparent as spring comforts us in its pleasant embrace in the runup to Easter.

The three years of the Greek economic crisis has exhausted tens of thousands of households, pushing people to despair. The first concern of the country’s self-proclaimed rescuers should be these people and it should be constant. The victims of bankruptcy have been crucified for the sake of each and every one of us who is not in the same predicament; this was not of our choosing, of course, but their sacrifice should not go in vain. No home in Greece should go without the basics that traditionally accompany the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ. And no one should ignore or forget the less fortunate sinking into poverty beside them, silently, with a stiff upper lip and with dignity. We owe this much to ourselves.

Thinking of others who are less fortunate and who are suffering also helps us think of ourselves in different terms. It helps us envision our own rebirth and explore new possibilities. And this is not just because it allows us to make a better assessment of what we have and what we really need, but also because it drives home the lesson of Isocrates, the cornerstone of collective life: “Taunt no man with his misfortune, for fate is common to all and the future is a thing unseen” (from “To Demonicus”).

Compassion, empathy and sympathy unite individuals as thinking and historical beings.

The future now is as invisible as it ever was. Now even tomorrow is invisible and frightening. The realization that we share a common fate helps us also understand that misfortune is also shared and that it spreads and hits at random. In the same way, we share our intellectual and spiritual energy and our ability to think and act – the things that are so absolutely necessary to stopping the downward slide and to shaping the terms along which we can start heading up again. When everyone is sinking around you, how can you save yourself? Only when those sinking and those floating help each other survive, for the sake of everyone, can the Resurrection come.