THE HOMOGENISATION OF SOCIETIES IS DIFFICULT, ΒUT THERE IS HOPE

If we examine the evolution of different societies, we can see how difficult the path towards homogenisation is. Social homogenisation is defined as the assimilation of many specific characteristics of individuals and societal groups and their harmonious fusion into a single framework, which is commonly accepted and decisive for a peaceful path into the future. Τhe slogan “Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood” of the 1789 French Revolution, which was accepted (at least in theory) by large groups of citizens, was a major boost towards the process of future homogenisation. However, it is certain that today there are still several groups of people who do not agree with this these ideas. A careful analysis of situations in modern societies shows that only long-term and conscious actions can guide various societal groups towards homogenised results. Significant homogenised results can be achieved only if there is coordinated common action; unfortunately, this is not always the case, and often actions towards the right direction are undertaken in isolation or are later reversed.

            In Western Europe, the ideals of the French Revolution (even in cases when they were simply slogans or failed attempts at stable governance) promoted the creation of the “nation states” and they strengthened these states. Homogenisation, based on commonly accepted long-term policies, on democracy and on parliamentarism, brought tangible economic results, which helped convince skeptical citizens of the benefits of integration. In these countries, even the challenge of social homogenisation between populations of different cultures of origin has been significantly addressed, i.e., the homogenisation of the native population with people originating from the colonies and with immigrants. It is certain that this type of homogenisation will become even more successful in future generations.

            In our country, the obstacles towards homogenisation have deeper roots. We lack the kind of progress that was achieved in Western Europe during the centuries of Renaissance; at that time Western European feudal societies became acquainted with new ideas about culture and politics. In our country, Ottoman tyrants prohibited the circulation of these European ideas that could harm their authoritarian rule. Here, our ancestors could not expect anything greater than simply maintaining their biological survival. In the 200 years of the modern Greek state, some measures towards homogenisation have been taken, but this happened relatively late. The first such attempts towards homogenisation of the culturally different populations that lived in Greece at that time took place during the governance of our county by Capodistrias (1827-1831). We need, however, to keep in mind that at that time Greece was a very small country, extending to the north only to Arta and the Pagasitic Gulf and possessing only the islands of the Saronic Gulf and the Cyclades. Ηοmogenisation was attempted through the peer-learning school system and through the consistent and strict application of the administration rules.

            In a few Greek areas, such as Mani, where the rocky and mostly infertile terrain was the main impetus towards freedom, homogenisation happened at a faster pace, although the different population groups of the area were more in number and more heterogeneous in their origin than they were in other Greek areas. In fact, to a certain extent, many aspects of the characteristics of the system of small-scale war feudalism that prevailed in most of the regions of Mani were mitigated, and conditions were created to reduce the size of social inequalities between the members of each micro-society. Before 1821, in Mani, from the slogans of the French Revolution, the slogan of Brotherhood was limited only to the members of each patriarchal family; however, during the two centuries of the Modern Greek State that followed, it has been promoted to a significant degree, especially in the societies created by the Maniots outside Mani, at sites inside Greece and abroad where Maniots settled.

It seems that the path towards the homogenisation of societies will be achieved through the process of merging individuality with sociability. The conscious realisation that the individual interest, as a qualitative and quantitative upgrade of the starting point, is often linked to the promotion of common interests, may be the best way to relativise the instinct of self-preservation, which drives towards narrowly self-serving behaviours. Another encouraging element is the increasingly accepted realisation that individuals are mortal, but societies, if not immortal, are at least long-lived.

THE EDITORIAL BOARD

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