Tuesday, November 07, 2006


And Uranus, son of the primeval night goddess Nyx came every single night to cover the earth and mate with Gaia but he hated the children she bore him. He imprisoned them in Tartarus, deep within the Earth, where they caused pain to Gaia. Not being able to bear the pain and presumably because the claustrophobic confines of the maternal breast were not suited to the vitality of her young, virile sons, Gaia provided her youngest son, Cronos, with a great flint-bladed sickle and Loretta Bobbit style, politely requested that he proceed to divest his father of those parts of his body that denoted his masculinity.
Cronos, also known as Χρόνος, meaning time, did exactly what his mother asked. He severed his father’s testicles and threw them into the sea. From the blood that dripped from them, the three avenging Furies were born and Cronos ascended the throne of the gods. However, he did not do so with impunity. For both Gaia and Uranus prophesied that Cronos in turn would be deposed by his children. In order to guard against that possibility, Cronos adopted a policy of swallowing his children as they were born. Eventually though, one of his sons, Zeus (an Indo-Aryan root word signifying a sky and by implication, supreme god) was able to avoid this fate and dethrone his father.
This Greek creation myth as recorded by Hesiod in the Theogony, has been variously interpreted. Some have held that the function of Uranus is as the vanquished god of an elder time, before real time began. After his castration, the Sky came no more to cover the Earth at night, but held to its place, and the original begetting came to an end. Though barbarous sounding and far fetched today, this creation myth says much about ancient Greek attitudes to power, patriarchy and creativity and surprisingly, these still manifest themselves in Greek behaviour today.
They do so most notably in the succession planning of Greek community organisations. For many years, the founders and firmament of our virtual universe steadfastly refused to permit their children to have any involvement in their sphere of influence. This was the time where all other things, including social class and economic status being relatively equal, involvement in community affairs provided one with a certain standing among their peers. This was a not so distant time when women were relegated to the task of making tea and coffee and looking after their children or to women’s auxilliary committees that posed no threat to the dominant male hegemony. During the benign rule of these forefathers, they resorted to the most ingenious and bloody methods to remain in control of “their” organisations” as to lose such control would be tantamount to a social emasculation. In the process, they managed to offend, denigrate and alienate their wives and those offspring who they deemed to be a threat to the extent where most melted away and refused to have anything to do with the organised Greek community. Those who tenaciously remained either adopted the twisted tactics of the patriarchy in order to survive in that tortuous world of Byzantine skulduggery or were so idealistic and naieve as to be deemed no threat and were accordingly treated as objects of derision, to be manipulated or rather ‘guided’ at will. Those that would not consent to this were branded as agitators and discarded.
What these antipodean Uranoi did not release, was that it was not their children in the strictest sense of the term that were a threat to their rule, but rather Χρόνος itself. As time passed, many came to realize that their time was up and that the works of their hands as well as their tired bodies would soon pass away into oblivion. It was for this reason that a new doctrine was formulated: ‘Let the youth approach and run community organizations. This is their privilege and their right, by virtue of their youth.’ Some were sincere in their desire to perpetuate their conception of what a Greek community should be, others less so. Most adopted a Uranian approach, smothering their offspring as a pretext for keeping them close and monitoring or manipulating their activities to their own political advantage. And in some cases, where youth were actually given positions of responsibility, nurtured, guided and supported by remorseful Uranoi, those Cronoi turned their sickles upon them with such wanton violence and disregard for the elder Uranoi’s feelings, that numbers of them dropped to their knees in pain and holding their nether regions, groaned aloud that they would never let their children do that to them again.
The implication of the myth then is clear. Uranoi are by nature conservative and smother all organic development by their lust for power over their creation. Cronoi, regardless of how impotent they may be at the present time, know that they, representing the forces of time, will eventually vanquish their progenitors in the most heinous of ways: by cutting off their avenue for creativity, thus calling in to question their right to be known as progenitors in the first place. One force represents staid, repressive creativity, the other iconoclastic revisionism. Both are equally as harmful to our future development.
The recent situation regarding the youth of SAE Oceania (Council of Greeks Abroad) is a case in point. Over the past years, while paying lip service to the classical Greek concept of the idolization of youth and making broad and effusive statements about it being the future and of intrinsic importance to the whole, both local and metropolitan Uranian elements have conspired so as to ensure that the youth body of that organization has remained impotent and inactive through various means, including the hand-picking of delegates who could bring the battles of the Uranoi from without and utilize their Uranus-given and defined space as an arena for fighting them in miniature, confusing and constantly re-organising their administrative structure and always, controlling and constraining their every move by fiat, diktat or a tight control over the purse strings. All the while, lip service to the cult of youth is so nauseating as to verge upon the borders of paedophilia. It is so mind-numbing that the Cronoi themselves, ensconced in their mother community’s womb of acclamation and inflated self-esteem, lull themselves into a foetus-like existence where they forget their primary purpose and instead are content to remain out of sight of the Uranoi, giving a kick now and again against Gaia’s stomach, to assure people that they are still there. Meanwhile, the Uranoi gather outside and wonder, somewhat incredulously whether these really are Cronoi that they have enclosed within or whether indeed the real Cronoi have somewhat escaped and are lurking in the shadows, sharpening their sickles. This makes them quite paranoid and contemptuous and much psychological crotch grabbing ensues.
At the recent Melbourne SAE conference, youth delegates were informed that their representation on a world level, without prior consultation with them, would be reduced by 87%, representing 30% of the total reduction of delegates permitted to attend the farcical “World Conference” in Thessaloniki. Unfortunately, the Cronos-foetuses have been fed via an umbilical cord that has convinced them how pivotal to the whole organization they are. The amniotic fluid which couches their slumber is laced with a respect for symbolism and the belief that they can make a difference and shall be heard. For this reason, because they have finally broken through the womb wall and viewed things from a Uranian viewpoint wherein they have no status whatsoever other than the symbolic, they have resolved not to take up the two seats offered to them at the World Conference and the free trip that attaches itself to them.
Sadly, these Cronoi are still in their infancy and have left their sickles at home, causing the astounded Uranoi whose Hellenic frontal lobes have difficulty in understanding righteous indignation and stands of principle to wonder what could possibly have motivated someone to give up a free trip. Obviously, these are not the real Cronoi but agitators and cronies of the real shadowy Sith Cronoi who seek to destabilize the Force. Some, in the force of extreme Uranian pressure and threats are regretting ever emerging from the womb and are groveling before Uranus begging to be admitted within his fundamental orifice, while others are having their characters assassinated by their supposed champions. For immediately, the enraged Uranoi have asserted their rights of paternalism: they are the ones who have brought their Cronian offspring into the world, they will determine where, what and how the Cronoi will act and the Cronoi must be grateful, not protest or spurn their gifts, or agitate against them.
Such conflicts are insignificant in the wider sphere. Today’s Cronoi ought to remember as they rail against the sky, especially in the SAE context, that their Uranoi are generally treated as Cronian poster-boys by the fearsome Nyx of Greece. And exposure, nay gyration upon Nyktian component parts is a fearsome thing that they have been spared. And while it is certain that the Cronoi will eventually find their sickles and inflict their frustrations upon their forebears’ creation, releasing the furies upon the world and ushering a golden age, if the myth is to be believed, both Uranoi and Cronoi should be secure in the knowledge that whatever they do, their epigonoi, the Olympians, will banish them and their memories to Tartarus forever, in the Iron age that is to come.
First published in NKEE on 6 November 2006