The interview to “FENOMENA” magasine, “Eleftheros Tipos” Newspaper,
corr. Mr. Minas Papageorgiou
published on 26/02/2011
Your group of foreign scientists who constantly live in our country in the last few years. How did you meet and how did you all agreed to move to Greece?
About 20-25 years ago we finished with our activities as scientists in specific areas of knowledge. We got all kinds of diplomas and degrees and an interesting task was born: to collect people of different specialties, for the purpose to overcome egotistical interests of each particular area of knowledge. The chance to collect around the table different specialists pretty fast brought us to realization that the indivisibility of sciences is located in the place of their origin which is philosophy. Philosophy as an indivisible matter exists only in the framework of Pythagorean School. Thus was created Pythagorean School of Philosophy which as we think is the universal source of mastering the world.
We were meeting with each other at various conferences, but quickly realized that if we will not stay together, not work constantly on the idea of mastering life philosophically, we will not achieve anything. That is why we found a place. It had to be in Greece, on Crete, where we could implement philosophy not only in the field of cognition, but in the everyday life as well. For cognition it is necessary that everyday life is also included. Thus, our colony on island Gavdos was born. The building principle of the colony is that people of different nationalities, faiths, of different scientific schools, different psychological temperaments and ages get together.
Can our existence on Gavdos be called life? In some sense “yes”, because we think that life is such way of existence when all questions are resolved not from the perspective of ones inner convictions, but from the position of consent. Consensus is the highest form of existence.
Gavdos happened to be the most acceptable place, because when we came here in 1998 looking for a place, we discovered that the way of life here is not contaminated by the modern idiotic urban myths and it retains some level of antiquity. People, who were about 70- 80 years old, happened to be real Greeks. Their way of life was very difficult and very intense, but in their blood there was a philosophy we were looking for. In front of our eyes many of these people died and the young generation believes in different kind of philosophy. It is philosophy of money and fast life. The speed of life changed drastically. This transition happened in front of our eyes.
Gavdos happened to be the southern point of Europe and we marked this symbol by creating the monument of the chair which has philosophical basis.
There appeared two symbols of Europe, a southern and a northern one. The northern symbol happened to be a glass ball, at the Museum of Exploration of Arctic, which is located in Norway on the island Northcap. There is a six lane high way going there, restaurants and hotels. It is a touristic place. Our chair happened to be the opposite side of the coin in this question. You can get there only by foot with great difficulty. It is a completely wild place. The chair happened to be really the symbol of the southern point of Europe, i.e. of its most inner, intense power. And the veneer of civilization which gradually grows towards the north is a temporary achievement of people. But the depth of life happened to be provided by the southern point, life to be as it is here. The chair symbolizes peace and deep foundation of life.
So, then how our every day life is going and what are our relationships with our neighbours the owners of the island? We are trying not to refuse any request that comes to us. Our qualifications allow us to build houses, to restore churches, to paint frescoes, to fix cars, to harvest fields with sickles as it was done in the 1st century, to collect olives, in short to do all kinds of work that are necessary on Gavdos. We learned to do all these things, we do them happily without any tension, although it is a hard labor. But it corresponds to the philosophy to which we adhere.
Could you characterize you stay on Gavdos as a social experiment? What did you do considering alternative energy sources?
We do not like very much the words “social experiment” since they mean not a life itself, but some kind of made up life, the observation, which means a kind of foreign presence in life. We are categorically against an outsider’s presence in life. “Experiment” is not a word that characterizes our presence on Gavdos. Especially the word “social” is not fitting because we think that the means of cognizing in life circumstances is a personal meeting, and only the meeting. The notion “social” means the possibility of the absence of a meeting, of knowing each other. We think that in the aspect of social life of people, in social sciences, in social notions about life, the man proper cannot be represented, since in social notions he is an abstract notion about the man. We prefer a joint living, living together, in the circumstances when non meeting is impossible. These are very close relationships between people and in that case it is possible to count on real co-existence.
Our qualifications allowed us, starting from the 90s, to evaluate the opportunities of Gavdos for using energy program for our houses in the way that is provided here by nature. Gavdos has a lot of sunny days and winds are up to ten beaufors. That is why a wind generator and solar batteries are the easiest way for solving energy problems. We made a wind generator (photo). Such construction practically does not exist anywhere else in the world. This wind generator works with any kind of wind and provides constant flow of energy (video). Besides, we build our houses in such a way that it is possible not to heat them with wood or oil, because they use sun for providing the heat balance inside the houses.
Are there other groups in the world that have similar intensions? If yes, where are they and are you in contact with them?
People with whom we certainly create unity live not only on Gavdos. It so happened that our School is located in three places. One is in Russia, another one is on Gavdos, and the third one is in South America, in Venezuela. The way of life there is the same. In Russia the school is located in a far-away place in the woods. There we work on the land, we provide ourselves with all our needs by using local possibilities. In Venezuela, our group is located on an island in the Caribbean Sea. It is the same picture everywhere, the same philosophy. It is people with whom we are in an unconditional agreement.
Now a few words about those with whom we are in a conditional agreement. That means that we agree in some things and in some things we do not. Our relationship depends on how close are the philosophical foundations of our groups. There are Tibetan schools that are close to us with whom we communicate. In Europe there is a Rosicrucian school with which we agree on many things. There are also religious schools, like Orthodox monasteries with which we have a lot in common. Also Sufi schools are close to us. There are constant arguments, you can even say wars, but it is all in the framework of philosophy. So, there are contacts.
Can you explain in a few words what is PIFEAA?
We want to create a system that consists of two adding to each other structures. The scientific institute is based on research and application of the way of life for a man on earth. This institute using the universal science of Pythagoras can philosophically predict some option of humanity’s future. We think that philosophy should go before all concrete research, should give them the content, the essence before research has even started. Such wholesome approach is an idea of the institute. Thus, first there should be a philosophical foundation of harmonious co-existence and after that the applications which are limited in their development. It includes limitation in the speed of development due to common interests and rather than to egotistical interests of the parts. For example there is a question: does it make sense to develop electronics. From the philosophical point of view it can be understood to what degree up to which it can be developed, versus the independent developmental needs of electronics itself. This is the one part of the institute.
The other part of the institute is a temple. In some sense it is a religious interpretation of life which we simply photographed from the ancient way of life o f Greeks at the time of Pythagoras and before him. At that time, the participation of gods in peoples’ lives was a fact. We know that gods and people, mortals and immortals, could co exist with each other, and could organize all kinds of mutual relationships, all the way to the Olympic game where gods played together with people. Such type of human – divine coexistence with close relationship between them is possible. What we mean is not religious understanding in pure sense, but a near religious understanding, because religion and science are always moving away from each other. And we think they must be intersected and mutually define each other. Thus, they are not anymore a science and a religion as such, separated from each other. Their intersection we understand as ancient Greek example of such a union, where among the sciences there was theology and in religion, linguistics and science about numbers were studies.
Your decision to build a temple of Apollo created sensation. Where this desire came from? Is it connected with some religious feeling, or the temple will be a kind of large cultural structure for PIFEAA?
This temple will not be a purely religious object since we do not believe in pure religion. The temple is designated for the possibility to organize the behaviour of man, basically for the organization of man’s moral notions about science. Not everything is possible in science and not everything in science must be done. In that case, human morality saves neighbouring kingdoms of animals, plants and stones and the morale does not allow to consider them resources. Rather it treats them as brothers in mutual life. Moral aspects are extremely valuable since the scientific approach has no bounds, and it must be limited. Thus, the existence of the temple and the institute together is a must for wholesome activities and for wholesome way of life. All these things are copied from the ancient Greeks and Apollo is important for us because he is a direct teacher and guide of Pythagoras. Even some parts of Pythagoras’ body belonged to Apollo.
For what reasons did you ask permission for constructing the temple from bishop of Kissamos and Selino, considering that his answer is anticipated?
The second pillar besides the ancient Pythagorean system for us is the Byzantine Church. It is a younger institution but the Byzantine church and state at its basis has in fact the heritage of the ancient Greek traditions. For example, children in the elementary school were studying ancient Greek language and religion. The religious – philosophical constructions were based on ancient Greek canons. Contradictions between Christianity and paganism were not as terrible as they were in the West where paganism was a crime. In Byzantium heritage was observed. In particular the writings of Basil the Great directly state that such a transition from Antiquity took place and that Christianity is a wonderful illustration of the depth of philosophy and religion. That is why our respect to Byzantine Church of its time, does not create any contradiction with our notions. With time however it changed. But this is not the point. We still consider the Byzantine Church to be a place of harmonious combination of belief and knowledge. Naturally, from the Byzantine church originated the Greek church and Cretan church as well as the Russian Orthodox Church, where all Christian canons have byzantine roots. Byzantine church never was in an antagonistic relationship with philosophy. Between them was a common field of harmonious correspondence. That is why we cannot consider that this tradition can be antagonistic to our desire to create such an institute. And any particular description of us and of our intentions is temporary and could be overcome. We found some works of Basil the Great and published them on our site. We think that the commentary to the press release of the Bishop looks exactly like that.
Do you know that in our country there are many organizations and societies for restoration of the ancient Greek religion? Do you want to send them a message?
Yes of course we want to send them a message. Pythagorean teaching of course does not lead to Greek nationalism. This teaching was based on Egyptian, Babylonian and Greek traditions and cultures. Of course all these are the earthy thing, considering that from it originated the sciences, the arts and many other things. We are saying that a shade of military relationships between nations or religions is a deathly thing. With all the groups which are involved in ancient Greek traditions, we shouldn’t have any arguments and there will be none. They are our allies and friends. The mail that we are getting from all over Greece in response to publishing our intentions, inspire us and make us happy and give us strength. Literally we agree with every letter which we received.
What materials are you planning to use for building the temple? Is there an architectural model from which you are going to work? When the completion of the temple construction can be expected?
Materials that are stored on Gavdos in the last 10 million years allow us to build a temple. There are wonderful stones here. All the outer decoration of the temple will be done in stone. But the contemporary technologies allow to withstand earthquakes. That is why we will use concrete with iron, reinforcement, in order to prevent the destruction of the temple from the natural forces. Our architectural research for the model of the temple originated from ancient Greek temples. But still it is a contemporary construction and we are looking for the balance between a possible modern look and its ancient prototype. The key words in describing architectural model is light and air. That is why there will be no walls in this temple. There will be 24 columns, and the space of the temple will be open to all the winds. So it will be the place for conducting mysteries under the open sky. If not for the obstacles about getting permission for the construction and other interruptions, technically for building the temple we need two months. We have materials. By summer we are planning to conduct the first mystery in the temple. But if the opposition will happen to be of military kind, it will be necessary to introduce corrections to our plans. We are planning to build not only the temple, but also a building for the institute, a conference hall for the scientific conferences and for meetings of scientists whom we invite for discussing questions about the way of life of the human being. It can be seen that the conference hall provides a 360º view. All these things are in the plan for construction.
What are your relationships with locals on the island? What is their attitude towards your initiatives?
Thanks God locals have different attitudes about our initiatives. In general during the 12 years that we are here, we have not had conflict situations with the locals. And with Gods help there will not be any in the future. The obstacle to the quick and easy construction of the temple is, as strange as it might sound, the fact that the local are very law-abiding citizens. The difficulties for getting permission for construction on Gavdos, are associated with many laws, that do not consider the specific construction but are declared in general. For example, the forestry and archaeology are serious obstacles for construction. We found a place for the construction of the temple and it is practically a bare rock which protrudes on the precipice above the sea. No archaeology and no forest can exist on this rock. But on the map this rock belongs to the A zones according to the Archaeology and Forestry departments. That is why to get a permission for construction on this rock is not easy. And locals, from our point of view, are too law-abiding, in spite of the very strange way these laws are applied. Besides that, there are religious aspects. There is interpretation of our ideas in the extreme way, where we look like we are against orthodox church and we even are trying to change the orthodox religion. We think that all these are temporary obstacles. All this will be clarified by gradual explanations and convincing and we will overcome that. We have no intention to reform religion. By the way, on Gavdos we restored about 10 orthodox churches and some of them we saved from ruining. So, the question about religion is not a simple one but it could be overcome.
How do you comment on the announcement of the association ‘Sovereign Council of Hellenes Ethnikoi” of the 7th of February 2011?
About the ideology of this group. We totally share all the words and cannot but support what is said there about the respect to the ancient Greek tradition. But the aims of this group also include a search for enemies. They found a worthy enemy in the Orthodox church, but it seems it is not enough for them. We cannot agree that the main activity of an organization with cultural purposes is fighting. Greek gods did not have enemies and they never said anything against the Christian Church.