“The Modern Greek Enlightenment and Revolution” – An original history research paper by rootsnwingz

Historical Background

On the 29th of May 1453, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople, was conquered after a long siege by the Ottoman armed forces, led by the twenty-one-year-old Fatih Sultan Mehmed II. The siege of Constantinople by the Ottomans signified the fall of Byzantium and the end an era, that is its millennium-long reign in the Mediterranean region. In addition, it meant that most of the geographical area that is today known as Greece, fell under Turkish rule.   The Ottoman occupation of Greece lasted for the following four hundred years, a period commonly referred to as Tourkokratia (Τουρκοκρατία) (Cogg C 1992, 3). The Tourkokratia is usually considered an oppressive time, mainly due to the imposition of religious restrictions, heavy, unjust taxation and the practice of Paidomazoma (Παιδομάζωμα) or Janissary levy, which translates from Greek as the gathering of children. This practice refers to the enforced obligation of each and every Christian family to surrender their best looking and most intelligent children to be raised as Muslim; the corps of the Janissaries would then conscript these Greek-in-origin youths and train them to be elite soldiers (Clogg C 1992, 14). Significantly, because of the Paidomazoma, Greeks were forced to fight alongside Turks and, most often, against fellow Christian populations.

However, the outbreak of the Greek Revolution, also known as the Greek War of Independence, did not begin until March 1821, after nearly four hundred year of atrocities, economic decline and oppression. The outbreak is celebrated on March 25th every year by tradition not because the revolution actually began that day. In the 18th and 19th century, we observe in Europe the growth of certain liberal movements, including revolutionary nationalism, Philhellenism and the Diafotismos (Διαφωτισμός), i.e. the modern Greek Enlightenment. Furthermore, in 1814, a secret organization, Philiki Etairia (Φιλική Εταιρεία), is founded. Driven by the ideas of the Enlightenment, the goal of these Greek revolutionaries was to overthrow Turkish rule.

In 1828, following seven years of violent revolts and battles, both on land and at sea, the Ottomans surrendered and were forced out of the Peloponnese and Central Greece. In May 1832, the Convention of London takes place, where Greece is finally recognized by the Great Powers (Russia, France, U.K.) as a free, independent, but monarchical, nation. The Greek Kingdom’s initial territory after the end of the revolution solely included the limited territorial gains of the war. Interestingly, Greece did not have jurisdiction over the entire geographical region it controls today until as late as 1947, that is after World War II.

Introduction of Topic & Methodology

            In a nutshell, my project consists of using primary sources in order: a) to assess to what extent the Diafotismos was an anti-imperial and anti-colonial ideology and b) to gain an in-depth understanding of how the transmission of its radical ideas contributed to the successful Greek uprising and revolution in 1821 against the Ottoman rule. These were my central initial research questions. Therefore, my intention is to take advantage of my knowledge of modern Greek and use the writings of the key intellectuals of the movement, i.e. Adamantios Korais and Rigas Pheraios, with the goal of forwarding my central argument, mainly that the Diafotismos was vital to the Greek uprising. Since there is notable overlap between the Greek Enlightenment and the Philhellenism in Western Europe, I also intend to use the writings of second-generation English Romantic poets, especially Lord Byron. The aim here is to better comprehend the Western powers’ attitude towards Greek nationalists as well as the Turkish rulers. In effect, the literary work of these intellectuals, both the philhellenes and the proponents of the Diafotismos, prepared the grounds for an uprising and influenced the outcome of the revolution. Finally, I will attempt to determine whether one can rightfully speak, in general, of a subaltern, anti-colonial Enlightenment. Secondary sources on the Philiki Etairia and its role are also implemented. Moreover, some secondary sources are used on the humanitarian intervention at the battle of Navarino to better comprehend the Western powers’ a) sympathetic attitude towards Greek nationalists and b) their problems with the Turkish rulers.

Thesis & Original Contribution

Essentially, Greece’s successful revolution was not an isolated event but more of a seven year long process. It can be attributed to numerous anti-imperial factors, both internal (e.g. Philiki Etairia, Diafotismos) and external (e.g. philhellenism, the decline of the Ottoman Empire, military and navy assistance, other European intellectual movements, complex diplomatic relations, etc.). So how important was the Diafotismos really? Would Greece have gained independence regardless? In this essay, I will argue that, as a matter of fact, the Modern Greek Enlightenment’s most important accomplishment and contribution to the War of Independence is that it served as the awakening instrument, which laid down the intellectual foundations for the Greek struggle of independence by exacerbating nationalism and by planting the seed of freedom. Beyond that, other factors led up to the ultimate success of the revolution and Greece’s recognition as an independent nation. In this light, my essay’s original contribution to the subject of Empire is the challenge to the notion of a general anti-imperial European Enlightenment movement, whereas its chief goal is to delineate the roles of philhellenism, Diafotismos and intervention within the framework of the Greek revolution. Continue reading

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The Structure of Guilt, Anxiety & BOREDOM!!

“The Structure of Awareness”, 1969, Thomas C. Oden

Part III, the structure of boredom, analogously, is as follows: The self (1) relates to the now or present actuality in the mode of immediate experiencing (2). When that present (3) is symbolized as being devoid of values regarded as necessary for one's existence, one experiences boredom (5). Boredom is the awareness that the essential values through which one fulfills himself are not able to be actualized under these present circumstances. To the degree to which these limited values are elevated to absolutes which appear to be unactualizable (6), one is vulnerable to intensive, depressive, demonic boredom.
Part III, the structure of boredom, analogously, is as follows: The self (1) relates to the now or present actuality in the mode of immediate experiencing (2). When that present (3) is symbolized as being devoid of values regarded as necessary for one’s existence, one experiences boredom (5). Boredom is the awareness that the essential values through which one fulfills himself are not able to be actualized under these present circumstances. To the degree to which these limited values are elevated to absolutes which appear to be unactualizable (6), one is vulnerable to intensive, depressive, demonic boredom.

Epistemology: Belief, Knowledge & Pragmatism, an original essay by 420randomness

Guest Post by 420randomness, translated from Greek into English by rootsnwingz for our English-speaking readers!

Epistemology: Belief, Knowledge & Pragmatism

According to recent scientific evidence … living within reason … we find ourselves in a blind existence without any archetypes, where everything seems to happen anyways, for no reason at all !

~ 1.1 Expression ~

one stimulus makes you twice as stimulated becomes one stimulus does not stimulate you at all

In other words, “Once bitten, twice shy,” becomes “Once bitten, never shy,”

But what can we do, if we can’t learn about a subject when we lack the relevant experience in that subject matter?

~~And thus, the rhythms of the natural world are still unappreciated~~

However, let us take a closer look

Passage from: “How We Believe”, Michael Shermer. Scientific American,

‘’I argue that our brains are belief engines: evolved pattern-recognition machines that connect the dots and create meaning out of the patterns that we think we see in nature. Sometimes A really is connected to B; sometimes it is not. When it is, we have learned something valuable about the environment from which we can make predictions that aid in survival and reproduction. We are the

ancestors of those most successful at finding patterns

This process is called association learning, and it is fundamental to all animal behavior, from the humble worm C. elegans to H. sapiens.’’

~ 1.2 Scientific Reference ~

Using evolutionary modeling and having a demonstration through it, Harvard University biologist Kevin R. Foster and University of Helsinki biologist Hanna Kokko in ’08, tested the theory and tried to have a gist out of it:

They begin with the formula pb > c,

where a belief may be held when the cost (c) of doing so is less than the probability (p) of the benefit (b). For example, believing that the rustle in the grass is a dangerous predator when it is only the wind does not cost much, but believing that a dangerous predator is the wind may cost an animal its life!!

 <.Think about it as you consider the following image.>

wer 

natural selection will favor patternicity

Continue reading

Ernst Mayr on questioning ‘eternal truths’

ernstmayr“The study of the basic philosophies or ideologies of scientists is very difficult because they are rarely articulated. They largely consist of silent assumptions that are taken so completely for granted that they are never mentioned …..[ But] anyone who attempts to question these ‘eternal truths’ encounters formidable resistance.”
– Ernst Mayr

One of the 20th century’s leading evolutionary biologists, taxonomists, tropical explorers, ornithologists and historians of science.

Guest Post by 420randomness

Philosophy: on Musical Mediocrity and the Role of Instincts

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Source: “Shenker’s Interpretive Practice”, Robert Sharrenberg, Cambridge Studies in Music Theory and Analysis, 2005. (page 146)

“Schenker’s Interpretive Practice” is the first comprehensive study of this century’s most influential music theorist, Heinrich Schenker, written by Robert Sharrenberg, recipient of the 1998 Young Scholar Award from the Society of Music Theory. 

Guest Post by 420randomness

Video of Aldous Huxley discussing female bosoms !!

Watch the genius philosopher and writer of “Brave New World”, Aldous Huxley, briefly discuss female bosoms from a historical and social / cultural perspective during an interview.  In this rare footage, Huxley makes some insightful and witty points on the subject.   Educational and hilarious at the same time; notice how he’s struggling not to laugh.  I loved how he was smiling good-humoredly as he analyzed the issue…

Can’t believe this only has 100 views on YouTube…