Ioannis Alevizos

Like many people who had the opportunity for 2nd or 3rd or belated or protracted adolescence, whether with respect to nerding for several academic disciplines or with respect to  adventures of the California dreaming  type best presented by Tom Robbins, I too was awakened by things like NATO’s “humanitarian” bombings of Yugoslavia in 1999 and the events in Seattle (of the same year) and, of course, was equally affected by the more recent events that awakened the people who were just kids in ’99. It took me some time , between 1999 and 2008, to find some form of  tangible way to apply to the educational  opportunities of my youth (I was a physics student in California in the ’70s) the truism “opportunity confers responsibility” 1 and I was immensely helped in that by the work of the “megathinker” , as he’s called in many  google references, Lewis Mumford, whose work  I had the luck (and opportunity again) to meet, even belatedly, in 2000, through happening to meet his translator  and editor in Greece. On the other hand, the tradition here in Greece is that political education of people is left not to the universities but to activist writers, poets, composers and playwrights, in general activist intellectuals, who, in the previous two generations,  passed through unbelievable hardship to take the weather in a civil war and then in a junta.  So I  had the opportunity and responsibility to imagine, and write in art formats rather than essay formats, what the heroes of Tom Robbins shaping the brainscape of (some of) US’s activism and also the masterMiyaki-type  film  figures shaping the brainscape of US’ values in directions (slightly) alternative to Harry Potter’s academic and ethical concerns, would think and do after recovering from the cultural shock and  from the information overload they would take after briefing themselves on Yugoslavia and after catching up with  the news on bin Laden, neocon planning, throat cutting of hostages and all the unbelievable brainstorm and heartstorm we all received in the last few years (and the shit storm we all received from the lips of Rumsfelds  and Wofowitzes and Perles,  and are still receiving from the lips of Cheney, along with the unbelievable crisis measures and peace measures we receive from Obama). When all this (call it “collective self-psychoanalysis” if an oxymoron can be tolerated) was over  in a long story starting as space movie (watching the Yugoslavia news from a Californian “Overground” position)   to land as road movie (“Oground”) it gave its place to a long farcitradedy in  soap opera format called “Mount Bushmore” 2  and this  I circulated for some months as CD through letters, in the meantime preparing the rest too for a posting. Finally it was posted in the Xmas break of 2007-2008.  All the articles I had read in ZNet these years, and all the books I had read by Mumford and Chomsky, found their way into there, the result one can see by just going to www.johnalevizos.net  For readers who think that  in a CV one is supposed to put more factual stuff, I took a BS (in physics) from California’s Caltech and a PhD (in theoretical physics) from California’s UC Berkeley. Before I anthologized and posted things like one sees in the above site I anthologized (but circulated through Xeroxes, not sites) things related to physics, mathematics, logic, philosophy, biology, neurophysiology, psychoanalysis, poetry, literature. And the homo universalis I was reading before Mumford was Castoriadis of the book “The imaginary institution of society”. The point at which this type of  background  turned toward  what was finally posted was, as we said, 1999. I sincerely apologize to whoever I passed some tone of the “how I did it” type, present in interviews of actualizers of the “American dream”. My actual conviction is that years will pass before anybody has the right to say “I did something” with respect to the  problems  we’re all facing (and that this is the good scenario in which those years will do unroll). However, despite this uncertainty, I  believe that the efforts to those directions can take place in  moods that are not depressed; concerning what this means I can only say that if  I could say it in one phrase I would have done so and would not have written long novels etc on these issues. Oh: The way I make a living is through teaching either English or mathematics or physics, the happiest years of our life, with my wife, Maria, were the years 1997-2008 in the village Glossa of the island Skopelos (where I taught physics in the high school) and the name of the site I have  in Greek is GlossaSkopelosblues.gr. By the way, without that appointment I would probably never had met Mumford’s work since his translator and editor Wassilis Tomanas lived in Skopelos too. PS: After the last few bare necessaries and essentials let’s say some interesting and more relevant things: The ultimate sources that  Mount Bushmore” paraphrases to fit the present data are  Aristophanes’ “Birds” (examining both the relevance and the irrelevance of  overcloud utopias (“overcloudcuckoolands”) and “Lysistrata” (= “she who dissolves the army”). A version of Lysistrata as easy to follow as a skit played by teenagers at a school event… 3  is Lys’strataki (quite googlable)    

1To see some calls by Chomsky for implementation of that truism, google with the words there are really some moral truisms. One of them is that opportunity confers responsibility

2A term due to American cartoonists and political analysts who are easily googlable.

3…and as easy to follow as “Mamma mia” of which, by the way, many parts were filmed  in Skopelos, that chapel especially was five minutes (by car) from our house and from my school.

 



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