Young People in Greece2 June 2020
Young people in Greece today have a number of weaknesses. They don’t like hard work, they’re indifferent towards matters of real importance, they reject concepts out of hand and they’re easily led astray with trivial ideas. On the other hand, however, they retain a great desire for truth, they hanker for authenticity, they’re sensitive in a good way, spontaneous, bright, self-restrained and humane.
They’re wary of the Church, which they associate with the mistakes of its representatives. They’re somewhat wary of patriotism, after the anti-patriotic harangues of certain modern non-patriots. They make fun of politicians, who have displayed more than enough incompetence and iniquity, but they also include politics itself, which is a pity. The sacred past doesn’t inspire them and they’re rather afraid of the future. To a large extent, the attitude of our young people is justified, since they’ve seen the hypocrisy of the “great and good”, who’ve said one thing and done another.
I don’t have a problem with any question that young people have, but with their silence, induced by indifference. I could help, contribute to any investigation, to monitoring, to discovery, to enlightenment. Concern isn’t a bad thing, anxiety is good when it moves people to learn and find answers to their questions. Young people are likeable, with their sparkling eyes and well-intentioned objections to a variety of servile, fearful, timid and whinging attitudes. Anyone who genuinely studies and seeks the truth will certainly find light, vindication, information, consolation and invigoration.
Some don’t want much, aren’t interested in higher things, are happy to vegetate, not bother, idle their time away, not care about anything and avoid grasping any nettle. Naturally, this isn’t true only of some of our young people. There’s a good few who happily spend their whole lives like that, content to blame others for our sordid society. They’re constantly on the lookout for excuses and pretexts to justify their uncouth state.
Any dynamic resurgence from the tawdriness and the misery of a meaningless everyday life, a loveless low-life, a long, tiring and degrading routine requires determination, directness and audacity. A revolution isn’t throwing Molotov cocktails, breaking windows and burning cars, but a personal breach with your wicked and nasty self, a removal of your false guise, a rejection of your mask and a sober assessment of your responsibilities and obligations.
It’s easy to be a non-believer, an atheist, a free spirit. But it’s actually quite difficult to be a responsible Christian, a true believer, a real man or woman of God. The great Danish thinker Kierkegaard said: “As the arrow, loosed from the bow by the hand of the practiced archer, does not rest till it has reached the mark, so men pass from God to God. He is the mark for which they have been created, and they do not rest till they find their rest in Him”.
Young Christian people have inspired visions, divine aims, sublime purposes and lives imbued with meaning. They’re not easily put off or put down. They’re not influenced by absurd pleasures and black corruption. They stand up to opposing and demonic passions. They desire the virtues and struggle to acquire them. They’re inspired by integrity, sincerity, decency, modesty, gravity and moderation. They may have fewer material gains, but they have a quiet conscience, joy in their hearts and delight in their souls. They don’t suffer from guilt, nightmares, hatreds, jealousies, sheer badness, hostile feelings, calumny or underhand actions.
If people spend their youth in a spiritual void, this will affect them for the rest of their lives. Powerful psychological upsets create new inferiority complexes, boredom, loneliness and even melancholia. A life without morals, ethics, obstacles or any kind of restriction is held to be free, but in the end enslaves, and abundant pleasure merely brings a surfeit of pain.
The most distressing thing is that some people manipulate and exploit the dreams of our young people. Most of the latter have a rebellious streak, an inclination towards making changes- important ones, they would say. Re-evaluation and reshaping aim at something better. And this is no bad thing.
Grown-ups however, want their children to be faithful and accurate copies of themselves, an extension of their egos, their obedient and submissive tools. This is why there’s an organized effort aimed at bewildering young people. They make them vulnerable with new ideas, narcotics, drink, partying and the tragic events at sports stadia and concerts.
Young people are called upon to develop a spirit of resistance and a stable outlook towards anything boring, ugly, dirty, artificial, vile or rotten. As Claudel said, young people are made for heroism. Young people in Greece deserve a better fate, a more courageous attitude, great militancy. They don’t need to be led astray by the unscrupulous, who will deceive and disappoint them. My discussions with young people on the Holy Mountain bring me joy and hope and, in truth, move me deeply.