There is a long, much too long internet article on Huffington Post, advising Greece to find a “new hero”!? In a rather superficial and irrational, if not ‘naive’ and kind of popularized psycho-spiritual approach, Vanessa Andris, first generation Greek-American, seems to ignore the real Greece’s problems of systemic fiscal mismanagement.
What Greece really needs now is a new hero.
For Greece to achieve recovery and sustainable growth, Greeks will have to make profound changes in their individual behaviors. Overwhelming evidence from failed change initiatives of all sizes shows that rational, “economic” appeals to people’s minds — health reasons, business cases, structural changes to provide incentives and disincentives — are not enough. Humans are incredibly stubborn, virtually irrational, when it comes to letting go of the devil they know, the pain they know, and their dreams, even if they are hopeless fantasies.
Trying to make a reference to a ‘collective responsibility’ and confusing ‘political leaders’ with ‘heroes’, Adris stresses:
To understand why today’s heroes can’t lead positive change in Greece and the forgotten values that a new hero needs to leverage requires understanding the current dynamics and how the Greek psyche became what it is today.
Andris’ arguments are lost somewhere between National Celebration Days, 6th Grade History books and fragment memories of summer vacations in Greece. To tell you the truth I lacked the patience to read the article word by word, so I will stop at the passage dedicated to singer Giorgos Dalaras.
And what Greeks do when they get sick of listening to politicians on the news. They turn the TV off, light a cigarette, and put on the voice of a singer like George Dalaras.
In Greece today, musicians/singers like Dalaras are the truth-tellers and prophets. They are seen as the people expressing real wisdom about the realities of life. Honestly struggling with defining standards of morality and excellence through their lyrics, trying to uphold “doing the right thing,” and still celebrating the unique beauty of the Greek spirit. These are the people who can call the Greeks back to consciousness, their conscience, and set them on a course to build capacity.
Singers as “truth-tellers and prophets”? Apart from the fact that when Greeks are sick of politicians on TV just zap in frenzy to another channel, hardly anyone does listen to Dalaras nowadays. He is considered to be part of the ‘establishment’ nowadays consisting of former freedom fighters, who lost all ‘socialist’ visions while climbing the stairs from the streets to the power.
I am afraid,Vanessa Andris, a change management and leadership development consultant for local and global organizations including the World Bank Group, has been influenced by the much too many religious prophets on US television, inspiring people to soul search and kingdom after real life.
What Greece needs are smart managers, employed and not elected, not bound with clientele relations to their voters – that is my very humble opinion! However, I can’t blame a romantic heart… We are too disillusioned here, I am afraid.
And yet, I hope, she will not work for the International Monetary Fund and advices them that Greece needs Dalaras to lead the country out of debt… then I would favor Manolis Lidakis 🙂
Read Full Article What Greece needs now is a new hero, and don’t let out the comments.
An interesting article because she’s saying what I and many other “foreigners” (I’m British) have observed in Greece over many years; Greece is a “me first” society.
There are countless examples of this attitude but three struck me just this morning; the supermarket manager smoking in his glass cubicle underneath a huge “No Smoking” sign, the man who ignored the orderly (and ticket-numbered) queue at the hospital reception counter and pushed in to the front and the car parked right across the sidewalk outside forcing pedestrians to walk into the road.
I think the key part of her article is this:
“Relative to the state of Greek affairs today, the jerk is someone who works long hours, respects the rule of law, and pays his taxes. This behavior is seen by Greeks as letting someone take advantage of you. This is the anti-hero, the loser, the fool.
The hero is the manga. The smooth guy who has blocked others from access to a lucrative profession or valuable license, gets away with not paying taxes, who over-charges customers and never gets caught.
Assuming anyone is seriously trying to catch overcharges and tax evaders, which is not the case because perhaps the only thing that the collective Greek manga agrees about is that no one pays and no one is punished for not paying.
They also agree that no one should ever be honest about their finances lest that be seen by others as vulnerability or opportunity.
While listening to those all-telling café conversations, one notes that Greeks will talk about anything, disclose the most personal information about heartbreaks, sex lives, errors of judgment, but to honestly discuss your financial situation is taboo. Being dishonest about your financial situation with either your next door neighbor or the neighboring countries of the EU and beyond is not a morality issue; based on lessons from recent past, it’s a smart survival tactic.
These are the kinds of self-defeating behaviors that make sense in the Greek head and precisely the reason that to affect change you have work through the heart.”
What she is saying is that for Greece to thrive in the EU and especially in the Eurozone it’s not just improved financial management that is needed. Greece needs a national change in attitude and culture. Vanessa’s hero is someone who will be seen to be “cool” for being honest, for paying bills on time, for paying taxes, for thinking of others and not just themselves. And I think she’s right.
“Vanessa’s hero is someone who will be seen to be “cool” for being honest, for paying bills on time, for paying taxes, for thinking of others and not just themselves. And I think she’s right.”
In this case and with these hero-attributes, I personally should address the public tonight, at prime time news. Inspire them and be entitled to be their new hero. But I won’t as there will be competition by some of my friends and relatives.
Generalizing prejudices is a wrong approach, I believe, Tony.