Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Education and Globalization

On Tuesday 29th of January a Lecture was given in Greek by Professor Marios Begzos , Dean of the School of Theology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens at the Hellenic Centre, in the centre of London.. The topic was "Education and Globalization". This lecture was part of the celebrations for Christian and Greek Literature, organised by the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain. The night began with a number of hymns by the Choir of the Archdiocese of Thyateira, followed by a brief introduction by Archbishop of Thyateira and Great Britain Gregorios who introduced the speaker, commenting also on the them than globalization affects our society and our education. 

The Professor began by explaining the meaning of education. What we need is to promote happiness and not success. Every young person is looking for happiness. The ultimate objective is happiness, that can be achieved through success. There are two modes of happiness: 
a. possessiveness, which is promoted during the modern period, after the Renaissance epoch. This mode claims the idea, the more you have the better you are.
b. participation, which is promoted during the pre-modern period. This mode claims that happiness is evident through sacrifice and love for the other person. You, therefore, leave from the feeling of loneliness. 
It is evident that today the Western type of life is promoted, whereby prosperity in ones life is achieved via technology and individual freedom is achieved through politics, i.e. Human Rights, the government etc.Hence, people involved in technology and politics rule and will rule our modern epoch. However, these ideas can be argued and seem problematic. 

This relationship is understood as we comprehend the bad and the good, which do not exist but they coexist, just like the light and the shadow. We cannot separate them but we can distinguish them. The Professor quoted St. Makarios the Egyptian who stated what Hell is, which differs from the Western understanding of Hell. Hell is to not being able to see the other person, just like being in a queue where all you can see is the back of someones head. A modern paradigm would be being in a bar, where everyone has turned their back and all you can see are the objects in front of you. Therefore we understand that we need to leave aside our modern possessiveness and become participants in our modern world, between our fellow people. 
The second part of the talk was dedicated to the importance of Globalization. There is a positive and a negative part to it. 
The positives are that it comprises the best medicine for any division and isolation. It is the antidote to any isolation. It is the opportunity for any society to take and partake in the openness that it needs. How can a society be open without globalization?
The negative side, however, is that globalization is a new type of colonialism. Globalization means that the world becomes more westernised, following the American paradigm, i.e. one culture and one civilization imposes itself on other civilizations. This inevitably means that other cultures can disappear or become exhibitions in museums. America is a globalized country, due to its character and people, who are all immigrants. The same applies to the Diaspora, which is more globalized. 

The Diaspora was another topic of this talk, examining two examples - the Greeks and the Jews, how they progressed in their history and the importance of their respected Diasporas. Both these peoples are unique paradigms, since the current states of Greece and Israel are not the best depiction of their identity and culture, that they have to show. The states might be small, but the ethnoi are massive. 
What these two have promoted is Ecumenism and not Globalization. The first promotes respect for diversity whilst the second emphasises an imperialistic attitude to diversity; hence Globalization needs Ecumenism. Ecumenism can be promoted through the Greek identity and culture and through the Church, where the Greek language is performed. That is why the Greek language and literature is also identified as Christian. 

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