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On Ancient Integrity and Modern "Filotimo"
Regarding the emphasis of the ancient Greeks on "integrity," I think over the centuries their idea of integrity crystallized into the modern "filotimo".
In ancient times, there was great public pressure to behave uprightly. It would be unthinkable that someone without integrity (honesty, justice, truthfulness) is admired. Occasionally people might have forgiven some of a person's "weaknesses," as in the case of Alcibiades, because of his other outstanding characteristics. This emphasis on goodness is perfectly encapsulated in the ancient inscription "kalos k' agathos" on numerous Greek artifacts. Kalos k' agathos means, literally, "good and good," with one "goodness" referring to the social and personal "beauty" of the person being depicted on the artifact, usually an amphora, and the other to his moral and humanitarian excellence. One is inwardly looking to personal improvement, the other outwardly to the quality of his social relations. Incidentally, this kind of artistic depiction is another example of "responsible art," in the sense of artists underlining moral excellence.
This emphasis on integrity has arguably survived today in Greece as the proverbial filotimo. Almost every Greek will lay claim to possessing filotimo, since it is almost identified with being Greek. Although probably much less discussed, or philosophized about today, than was its corresponding "kalos k' agathos" in ancient times, nevertheless its connotations electrify people just as much. I submit that after centuries of hammering the idea of integrity on the people since ancient times, even during the 400 years of Turkish occupation, "filotimo" finally gained the status of a Jungian "collective unconscious" in modern Greece, where people no longer philosophize about it, or try to impose it on the masses, but simply assume its widespread existence.
The term "filotimo" is difficult to translate literally into English, as are most terms that are pregnant with a variety of meanings that no one English word can capture exactly. Some writers that I have read even claim that it is literally impossible to translate. For our purposes here it may be translated as an internalized inclination to do good, with a strong sense of social responsibility.
Etymologically, filotimo means "love of honor" (=philos+timi), although the honor referred to is not merely external, or for "show" purposes, but a psychologically internalized yardstick of goodness, as in the ancient "kalos k agathos." (see Tegopoulos-Fytrakis, Greek Lexicon, 5th edition, p. 821).
Filotimo places perhaps less emphasis on personal appearance than the ancient kalos k' agathos, probably as a result of the long Christian era that de-emphasized everything worldly or material, including personal beauty. Nevertheless, even in spite of the many centuries during which Christian ideology changed considerably the thinking of the Greeks, in matters regarding the exercise of integrity it seems that on the contrary, the Christian period may have actually reinforced a widespread ancient trend to act with integrity. This is so because of the emphasis that Christianity places on being intrinsically good, if not self-sacrificial, especially regarding aid to the poor. Incidentally, it may be said that Christianity continued the heroic tradition of ancient Greece to the extent that it encouraged self-sacrifice that often bordered on martyrdom. Overall, though, as we shall see when we examine Ulich's theory, below, this type of heroic behavior was usually limited to morally desirable deeds, especially those which followed Christian doctrine, than encompass the whole spectrum of human endeavours.
Few will deny that among modern Greeks, filotimo is not only widespread, but also highly desirable. By now it is considered almost a cliche that if you want Greek men to cooperate with you, then somehow you must appeal to their "filotimo," including their personal worth, or the degree to which what they are about to do is lofty. Modern Greek culture puts inordinate pressure on young people to acquire filotimo, often through their teacher's rhetorical exhortations to "act with filotimo." At others times, anyone may be asked by someone else such embarrassingly castigating questions as, "How could you act that way? Don't you have any filotimo left in you?" By making them confront the possibility of their "afilotimia" (=lack of filotimo, or integrity), they are at once chastised, or, worse, threatened with virtual exclusion from civilized company! It is considered very insulting in Greece to chastise someone as "afilotimo" (=lacking "filotimo"). Furthermore, and perhaps most painful, to be branded as "afilotimos" is sometimes even equated as being dispossessed of your true "Greekness."