Alitheia and Psemata
(Truth and Lies)
Psemata, psemata, ftaio ego pou s'ematha na perpatas stis yeitonyes na les pos s'agapo . . .
Lies, lies it's my fault that I taught you to walk in the neighborhoods and say that I love you . . .
-- From a folk song
One way to characterize differences between one cultural group and another is to examine the relative salience of certain themes -- themes common to the human condition but nonetheless receiving greater emphasis in a particular society.1
In Greece the theme of struggle pervades many everyday conversations. In formulaic greetings, the standard "How are you/What are you doing?" (Ti kanete;) is often met with a shrug of the shoulders and "Eh -- what to do -- I struggle" (Eh -- ti na kano -- aghonizomai) or the more cryptic, "Struggle, struggle" (Aghona, aghona). These answers, although they refer primarily to an ongoing situation in the individual's life, are also rooted in____________________