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in Greece 2011


The Tremors of Summer Happiness

The Tremors of Summer Happiness

Stelios Ramfos

Armos, 1999
259 p.
ISBN 960-527-151-6, ISBN-13 978-960-527-151-0, [In Print]
Price € 12,37

Stellios Ramphos, author and sociologist, emerged at the end of the '70s as the leading theorist of neo-Orthodoxy - a socio-religious current that promoted a return to the Greek-Orthodox tradition as an answer to the problem of identity. Belonging neither to the West, nor the East, nor the Balkans, the Greek faltered in his attempts at self-determination; and oscillating between the clearly western tendency (according to Ramphos) towards individualization and the reaction to the domestic mass culture, he was tottering dangerously. The answer of neo-Orthodoxy - the description and promotion of the Greek tradition as being equal if not superior to the western tradition - constituted an outlet for the contemporary Greek malaise, but caused a series of negative consequences: introversion, total rejection of the western way of life and thought, manichaean ideas, demonology.
In recent years, however, Ramphos has attempted a remarkable turn: he attributed his interest in "tradition" to the need to interpret contemporary Greek society; he made it clear that he never considered Greek culture as being "radically different" and therefore superior to the western tradition, and he stressed that the time has now come for an "organic composition", which will allow societies that are in danger of becoming marginalized, such as those of Greece and Russia, to take their place in the modern world. Ramphos explains: "what concerns me is not that they should simply take their place without losing their character, but that they should take their place, at the same time finding their better self." In this endeavour, he does not hesitate to point out negative elements in the Greek temperament, to describe shortcomings, to accept that Greeks determine their identity in contradistinction to things that are not the same, with the result that they are unable to perceive what they do not know or what is foreign to them. This book is a collection of texts that reveal the new directions taken by his thought and show his anxiety in the face of a wager, the outcome of which he considers decisive for the nation's survival: whether Greeks will overcome their emotional immaturity (which, according to Ramphos, is not an intrinsic characteristic of their national existence, but an age-old historical shortcoming), their intellectual indolence and their fears, so that they might respond to the new challenges of History.

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