Oi Polloi: How the Greeks, classical and contemporary, can show the way
We seem to be on a Greek theme at the moment... We encountered a firework called Mary Valiakas the other day - a young social entrepreneur of Greek background, who believes that her home country can take the lead on audacious solutions for democracy and the planet. The creative survival lessons taken from her country's forced austerity, plus the best insights from its classical philosophers, are the main driving forces of her new organisation, Oi Polloi.
Oi Polloi, from the Greek for 'the many', or the English for 'the riff-raff', is an innovation think-tank and socioeconomic movement hitting the reset button in Greece. Think of us as the Uber or Airbnb of social change. What does this mean? Using technology to solve social problems and by-pass sclerotic systems. While leveraging the power of the arts, philosophy and the love of the good life to reimagine society. Because with Trump, Brexit, and who knows what else, the world needs a new model for society, and practical hope more than ever. We're starting with Greece because it's our home and folks are suffering. However, our aims put all people and planet first – and our services are designed to adapt to, and help, any culture. Already we have takers who want to bring what we do to Australia.
Fusing cutting edge thinking and innovation, with Greece's heavyweight cultural heritage and the ancient virtues of hospitality and 'filotimo' (common decency), we aim to show the world what it means to be human in a world that is overpopulated, with finite resources.
From actively trying to shape what a postcapitalist society looks like, to using tech, philosophy and heaps of fun and imagination to tackle unemployment, cultural stagnation, and the paralysing sense of citizen helplessness. From turning Athens into the new Berlin (the defacto destination for digital and analog nomads), and establishing an ecosystem that nurtures start-ups and the production of art, to Burning-Man style festivals and artist residencies, innovative platforms, hackathon retreats, and philosophy initiatives... We have all kinds of amazing in store to bring about this positive change. Not to mention lots of incredible collaborators partnering with us to make stuff happen.
We're thinking big. Because big problems require it.
This is an international team effort. If you share our love of beauty, wisdom and imagination, as well as optimism for the future, we want to hear from you. After all, we are 'the many'. And it'll take all of us to make it happen.
Mary writes on Medium here, and her most recent post urges us to "turn our broken heart into art". Another one says that Greece can "bring philosophy home". (She is also a copywriter in the creative industries).
For more on Oi Polloi, contact Mary here: firstname.lastname@example.org