#week 5 thoughts on europe?
I’ve been living in Greece now for about 3 and a half months coming from the US. These days I have a lot of thoughts about Europe, but of course I’m not sure if the things I’m thinking are so much about Europe or more specifically about Greece, or even just about Athens or just about the people I’m hanging around. Anyway I suppose as this is really a stream of consciousness project I don’t have to worry about being too accurate or thorough
The culture I see here is full of contradictions. It’s very different from America and at the same time it’s so similar. It’s cleaner and it’s dirtier. More progressive and less politically correct. More gay and more machismo. More open and more closed off. What I see now is the mixture of an extremely progressive European view of the world, with a very classical European view.
It’s odd I’m not quite sure how to put any of this into words. When I write it out here it looks so silly, simply stating opposites, but I look around and see it now more and more. But I also understand that some or all of these contradictions are mental projections: creations of my lense rather than the content that I view through it. I feel now a slowing sense of calmness. An unwillingness to analyze, to pick apart the culture. But for today, for tonight this saturday, just to lie in it and peer around.
Oddly my social needs only seem to grow as I socialize. Rather than fulfilling my quota so to speak, socializing grows my appetite for socializing, in a reinforcement cycle. I think this is sometimes also true of isolation, but less so. For me alone time really does act more like a meter that needs to be filled, and is satisfied when acted upon. Ah this is sort of turning into my self therapy session haha. But that’s one of the joys of stream of consciousness writing, you never know where it will go. And I don’t think this project is actually so much about the writing, but rather doing something that is somewhere between leisure and calculated creation. And setting an activity in a specific time space (saturdays) to see how that changes or colors the output.
I’ve always felt more reflective on the weekends. Especially on sundays. There’s something magical about Sundays. It’s the one time where you’re societally allowed to be doing absolutely anything leisurely. You’re permitted to be alone or with friends or family, whatever you want, and you’re permitted to contribute absolutely nothing to society for 24 hours.
This whole paradigm almost certainly comes from the church. I think it’s interesting that there’s a massive world tradition of setting aside a day for prayer. And it’s changed a lot over time. It seems like the old world Sunday was work in its own way. Derivative of the sabbath where work is not allowed, but at the same time it’s not an all permitting time space. Modern Sunday culture almost makes room for sin. For sloth and gluttony, for one day of indulgent null activity.
One of the funny things about greek is the way that the days of the week are named. Monday is called “deftera” (δεφτερα, not sure if I’m spelling that correctly). Which literally means “second” as in the second day of the week. Of course in America and I assume everywhere, monday is technically the second day of the week after Sunday, but I think it’s largely felt as the first, as the beginning of the week, Sunday being the end. Having this so built into the language is strange to me, because I think I have a stronger association with monday as 1 than others. To me Monday is almost synonymous with the number 1, tuesday with the number 2 (which I’m just now realizing is probably no coincidence) wednesday with 3 etc. The day and the name of the number really are like one thing in my mind.