OPINION

Redefining our coordinates

Something is wrong. It is as though an entire category of people, running to and fro every day, minds addled, are permanently on the verge of a nervous breakdown. In this daily grind, you are called upon to step back, acknowledge the irrational and carefully, but most importantly quietly, go about your business. Why the nerves? Is it financial woes that keep growing like tumors, one on top of the other, and the thought of scant holidays? Is it the smog and dust that, among other ills, also frazzle the nervous system? Is it the tax man asking for more money, payouts that never came, broken promises? Finding the reason does not alleviate the pressure, the daily overwhelming anxiety. At the event last Friday marking the 35th anniversary of the restoration of democracy, Greek President Karolos Papoulias said, among other things, that social cohesion in the developed world is under threat, insecurity among the masses causes fear and breeds social unrest. This uncertainly is digging deeper and deeper into our minds as time goes by. According to experts, one-third of the labor force feel insecure about their job. Be they teachers, programmers, freelancers, store clerks, truck drivers or pizza delivery guys, they all feel trapped in vague employment contracts and grueling schedules, in underpaid positions that hold no promise of advancement. The opposite of uncertainly is a regular wage and a steady job. Sometimes this might also be the definition of uncertainty, as many with financial security pay for it with their time, creativity and independence. The inability to organize your own time breeds uncertainty. Papoulias stressed that we need to redefine the rules about what is right and wrong, just and unjust, individual and collective, what moral values we admire, what kind of world we want to leave to our children. We need to redefine the coordinates of our compasses. Otherwise, we will continue to run amok with no horizon in sight, even more anxious, with even more insecurity.