Thursday, November 17, 2016

"Filotimo" (φιλότιμο)

Our technology is amazing.  Yesterday I watched President Obama speaking in Athens on my computer screen as well as the live stream of responses coming in during his speech.  There were 19.3K comments, 20.3K "Shares" and 1.4 million viewers on FB from all over the world.  I took some time to look at some of the comments (even though retired, I didn’t have time to read them all).  The majority of these comments were positive, praising and thanking President Obama for his service over the past eight years.  There were, also, of course, some negative comments.  Oh, my, how we differ in our opinions!

"I'm not an American, but I'll miss him so much... Obama was the greatest president for USA in my opinion. I'm from Bangladesh!!"

"Ditto from Australia. Obama will be missed. We have fascists running the country here."

"Yes, he is going down in history as the one who destroyed morals and values in this country."

"The Donald will whip your SOUL Obama you will NOT have a Legacy in these states! you did NOTHING for America but ROBBED US BLIND!!"

President Obama gave an amazing speech.  What struck me most deeply was his reference to  the Greek word, ’Filotimo.'  "In all of our communities, in all of our countries,” he said, “I believe there is more of what Greeks call ‘filotimo.’ Love and respect and kindness for family and community and country and a sense that we are all in this together, with obligations to each other. ‘filotimo’: I see it every day and that gives me hope." 

"Love and respect and kindness for family and community and country" that sure sounds something like the "Beloved Community" to me.  I'm all for it! I hope there is a lot more 'filotimo' out there than I can see from where I am sitting this morning.

Like the term, "Beloved Community,"  filotimo or philotimo is hard to explain and even more difficult to translate.  The Greek people seem to know what this  untranslatable word means and for them it is simply a way of life.  Filotimo, for the Greek, includes ideas and virtues such as hospitality, justice, courage, pride, dignity, self-sacrifice, respect, freedom and much more.  Since we have already borrowed so many things from the Greek people, including democracy, philosophy, science, architecture, mathematics,  and so much more, I think we ought to borrow 'filotimo' too.  It would be extremely beneficial just now and would give us all some sense of hope.  


Epiphany Celebration, 1961--Heraklion, Crete, Greece

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