The following is my comment on the text of Professor Takis Alexiou located at AthensArt
I have been reading with pleasure your: Prof. Dr. Taki Alexiou
The Power of Friendship/ From the Tyranny of Markets to the Society of Citizens
Below I make a few beginning comments.
First I would like to say that your text needs to be savored slowly and I am already beginning to read it for the second time. This is, of course, my great compliment to you. Your text's multiple references to history: both events and people make it wise in term of the past, timely, and also prophetic and all points in time occur simultaneously in your text. I am very impressed with these aspects.
This is not an easy text to absorb if one still has blinders on, and, unfortunately, many in our world do wear these blinders: as a means of defense, as a means to remain and apathetic, and as a means to maintain the status quo. A second group is perhaps more innocently in the dark due to the penchant our educational system has for "dumbing us down". (See John Taylor Gatto: http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/bookstore/dumbdnblum1.htm)
As a long time artist and educator I have worked hard with this second group to perhaps broaden their outlook regarding the nature and power of art, creativity, and their own artistic process in THEIR lives as opposed to mine) for many years. For example see my work: www.youtube.com/watch?v=QjFx-OlXT10
An artist whose work I deeply admire for a wide variety of reasons is Joseph Beuys who said, "Every man (woman) is an artist" and I quote him often often. Like Beuys I believe that art belongs to every man, woman, and child (to the people) and not only to a privileged or gifted few. See my work: http://peerseminar.blogspot.com/2009/09/photograph-of-original-muraldemocracy.html
The notion that every man (woman) is an artist is a central idea for me, as a working artist, as a teaching artist, and as a community activist artist (socially-engaged) artist. It means that every human being can unlock his/her own art and art making. Then, art can be freed from the stifling classifications that usually assign it to the realms of politics and the economy (as you mentioned) thereby removing its possibility as a transformative vehicle for society. My interest in "socially-engaged" art comes from my deep belief that each human being by birthright has the power and the capacity to make great art. Of course I am hardly alone in my thinking. (See also artists: Tim Rollins/ KOS; Suzanne Lacy, and many others; See text: Education for Socially Engaged Art by Pablo Helguera; See http://www.democracy-in-motion.eu/en/tour-program/athens/ ;See this current exhibition at my alma mater, The Museum School in Boston: http://www.smfa.edu/egypt-dialogue Takis, your text is inherently related to these ideas and situated in the midst of them. Or perhaps it surrounds them?
With regards to your words on art:
"When poetry, like any other art form, can be something anyone can do then the poet will be a human like everybody else, liberated from all the psychological misery of our catastrophic greed, exacerbated individualism, and deified ego…" I am not sure I agree with the totality of your statements regarding whether the artist can be truly freed from suffering all the sins of the worst aspects of human nature. Here, I speak based on my experience as a lifelong artist whose demons have not always been external. But, yours is a hopeful vision.
Takis, I think that your ideas on friendship and brilliant and powerful. For example you write, "Friendship...accompanies the sum of man's functions". It requires...knowledge and participation which is the most important prerequisite for the foundation of a better society."
I agree wholeheartedly with you.
You say several times that "A new beginning can be made" (with the realization that the old way is transitioning out). In this, I find the hope and the lightness and the joy that is possible in reading your text, Takis. For if you are correct, and I do believe you are, then we can all of us look forward to a better future together in friendship and civility one day soon, and not bother to waste our energy bemoaning the loss of an out-of-date, often violent, antiquated and selfish system that has run its course in the history of humanity.