Filiki Eteria Initiative
Filiki Eteria: Part of a Bigger Vision
Filiki Eteria is one of the three initiatives announced in The Calling. Despite the initiatives being able to stand on their own, each relates and reinforces one another to create a bigger vision. To highlight that relation I decided to preface each initiative’s overview with a passage from The Calling that makes that clear:
1. To achieve any human goal, you need to have a measure of freedom from necessity. By necessity I mean the basic needs. Without those needs satisfied, any human endeavor becomes practically impossible to achieve.
2. If you find a way to satisfy the basic needs, a question naturally occurs. Now that are you free from necessity, what will you use your freedom for?
3. If you decide upon a certain use for your freedom, given humans tend to live together in groups and/or countries, it’s important to live under socio-political conditions that allow you to exercise your choices.
Regenerating Freedom deals with the first issue. Achieving freedom from necessity in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, depend on the government, or require the servitude of others. Its goal is to use modern technology to achieve that with the minimum amount of labor.
Philosophy Reborn deals with the second issue. By reviving the original meaning of philosophy, it aims to facilitate our quest in understanding our world and what we should do in it.
Filiki Eteria deals with the third issue. For once we do come to some conclusions as to what we should do and why, we want to proceed into building a life that enables us to do that. To have that liberty, presupposes a socio-political framework that allows for that possibility. Filiki Eteria deals with creating such frameworks, finding ways to overcome the theoretical and practical challenges inherent in such initiatives.
These initiatives constitute the vision of Idealism in Practice.
The Filiki Eteria, or Politics Re-envisioned, initiative springs from the considerations outlined in The Calling. The name was chosen for multiple reasons. Historically, the name alludes to the identically named 19th century group of Greek expatriates who initiated the rebellion that led to Greek independence from Ottoman rule and the creation of the modern Greek state1. Therefore it serves as a symbol of the rallying for freedom and autonomy. The words are originally Greek and can be translated in a number of ways. At times it has been translated as “Society of Friends”2. The word Filiki (Φιλική) literally means “friendly”; Eteria (Εταιρεία) may be translated as “society”, “company” or “association”. All these layers of meaning fit well with the numerous dimensions behind this particular initiative, as I’ll explain below.
Freedom, Philosophy, Politics and Economics
As I’ve written elsewhere, while there is mass disillusionment with respect to politics, more and more individuals of the millennial generation are discovering that
“…talent, technical brilliance, moral stature, and above all the possibility and reality of friendship, is not determined by any geographical location or socio-economic status but is to be found everywhere, in human beings of every kind, irrespective of color, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity, many times despite their circumstances and not because of them…this is a realization not merely based on intuition but supported through empirical evidence, a lived experience that unites us and serves as the starting point for a journey of curiosity and the rediscovery of common truths in diverse traditions and rituals. This journey has already gone far enough for countless people that the bonds that unite them with their friends from all over the world are stronger than the bonds they have to their fellow countrymen. This is why the notion of a tribe has been resurrected in contemporary times. Because many in the millennial generation realize that their strongest allegiance is to a shared worldview embodied in concrete friendships and validated by lived experience, and not to a fictitious mass society, propaganda driven consumer brand identities or to the artificial and abstract sense of belonging to a state, party or territory. The new self-determination will be that of friends sharing a worldview they want to live together. Friends would demand to withdraw their consent from social contracts they never signed and reassert their liberty to live under ones they happily would – this being a possibility in their lifetimes and not in some distant hereafter. What will bind the new millennial states, will not be shared past traditions but present friendships and a desire to live a shared vision of the future in common.”3
Filiki Eteria, congruent with the layers of meaning embedded in its name, is the exploration and experimentation, in theory and practice, locally and globally, of the possibility of creating novel and autonomous political communities composed of friends who, disillusioned with politics as usual, are willing to freely associate and exercise their right to self-determination. Moreover, since companies are an integral part of any society, given Filiki Eteria can also be translated as “Friendly Company”, part of the goals of Filiki Eteria is to experiment with designing new kinds of companies with disruptive structures that treat people with dignity while going after more interesting goals than the mere pursuit of profit. Finally, given its symbolic associations with freedom and autonomy, the initiative of Filiki Eteria entails implementing the initiative Regenerating Freedom, which aims at providing a particular kind of freedom and autonomy, temporal autonomy4, that can serve as a precondition for the other kinds, such as political and personal autonomies. However, as Aristotle reminds us, freedom without philosophy leads to hubris5. So in order to avoid hubris in both the temporal, personal and the political, it includes application of the Philosophy Reborn initiative as a necessary component for the wise execution of its components.
Aristotle, Politics, 1334a5-1334b, trans. J. Barnes from The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation, One-Volume Digital Edition, Princeton University Press, 2014.