1163 – The smart person accepts, the idiot insists

(also see 1112) Michael Lewis, a financial journalist, published last October in Vanity Fair an article about the Greek financial crisis. New York columnist David Brooks choose this article as the best essay of 2010 (The Sidney Award). It is called: beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds.

In the words of Brooks: “His specific subject is Greece, a country that plundered its public institutions while spoiling and atomizing itself. Lewis’s genius was to show how the moral breakdown spread into one of the most remote institutions on earth, a 1,000-year-old monastery cut off by water, culture and theology that, nonetheless, managed to put itself at the center of the great plundering.”

Father Arsenion of Vatopaidi

Father Arsenios, Photograph by Jonas Fredwall Karlsson

Lewis visits Vatopedi and informs us about his meetings with Father Arsenios and Father Ephraim, the abbot of Vatopedi. He quotes Father Arsenios: “There is more of a spiritual thirst today,” he says when I ask him why his monastery has attracted so many important business and political people. “Twenty or 30 years ago they taught that science will solve all problems. There are so many material things and they are not satisfying. People have gotten tired of material pleasures. Of material things. And they realize they cannot really find success in these things.”

Father Arsenios points to his slogan he has tacked up on one of his cabinets: the smart person accepts, the idiot insists.

The article gives lot of information about the background of the Vatopedi land scandal. Read the article here.

Bas Kamps

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