Here I was watching a movie where the Englishman was proper as we had learned to be while the Greek was, in our value structure, quite a bit improper. And, strangely enough, I liked the Greek better than the Englishman. In the end, the improper Greek even acted carelessly if not recklessly, not only destroying the zip line but also endangering people’s lives. In my value structure, that Greek should have been ashamed of himself. In fact, the police should have carried him away. Instead, the Greek burst out full of life, focused on the roasted lamb and nearly reached ecstasy when the Englishman asked him to teach him how to dance. By that time, it was clear to me that the Greek had the better value structure!
It seems to me that we are witnessing today a battle of value structures among European nations. Some even suspect that there might be a conspiracy to mold a uniform value structure throughout Europe. As though the troubles in molding uniform light bulbs hadn’t taught them a lesson.
This is not an issue of the Greek way of life against the way of life of the North. It is the issue of different value structures and different cultures throughout Europe, not just between two countries. Read Thomas Mann’s book about the Buddenbrooks and you will see that, even within Germany, there are light years between the Hanseatic bourgeoisie and the rustic, fun and beer loving Bavarians.
Many see this in the context of productivity on one hand and living on the other. Alexis Papachelas once phrased this beautifully in a comment in the Ekathimerini: “Maybe at the end of the day the problem will be that the Germans have found the perfect model for productivity, and the Greeks have found the perfect model for living (albeit funded by others)”.
Peter Economides, in an article for the Greek Reporter, sees the North as a world dominated by productivity, efficiency, balanced books and the Protestant ethic to which the essential Greek DNA is the necessary opposite. He gives a beautiful description of what he sees as the essential concept of Greece: