Sunday, September 25, 2011

Philotimo/Love of honor and ungratefulness

The word “philotimo” (Lover of honor), which is purely a Greek word, is very difficult to be found in an English dictionary, as the definition of this word has been infused and inherited in the collective unconscious of the Greek culture.
Many Greek friends might smile when reading about the importance of «philotimo», knowing by experience what that essentially means.... 

Eventually the more I get in search for the meaning of the word “philotimo” , the more I consider that its significance is deeper and extending beyond historical, philosophical, psychological and social horizons.

Existence of which I had never anticipated before.

According to the thesis of Ninon Chrysohoos & Robert Porter Lynch (1), philotimo (Love of honor) means “ philo-love + timi-honor” and it is considered as an “extremely sensitive region of men's souls that gives forth gallantry, nobility and moral pride; it is the sense of honor and dignity.” (2) :

Also according to the website of the Encyclopaedia of Orthodoxy (3) : philotimos is someone who lives, thinks and works with an honest and full of virtue way in any situation. 

He who acts with love, kindness, responsibility, pain and compassion for others.

Someone who is generous in a few words.

I would like to add to the above mentioned statements that Philotimos (similar word: generous) acts by heart, because he thinks that is really good (anc. greek : «αγαθόν») for someone to help his fellows, even though they do not recognize or overlook it many a time.... (My personal opinion).

Ancient Greeks believed that someone should be “philotimos” , as the opposition «AFILOTIMIA» ( the lack of value/honor ) was a shame. 

Of course, Ancient Greeks had developed an amazing system of values, so that someone in order to gain understanding must have depth to the very etymology of words and their interpretation, and the fact itself they had comprehended in order for a society being functional should rely consciously on - not imposed by humans - Laws, but Universal Laws (Divine). 

Aside to that implication , Laws and Values are related to Harmony and Order in conjunction with the cooperation (Synergy) –(4). 

By this way they suppressed their fear of betrayal and the possibility of someone putting his merit over the merit of all. 

Even nowadays modern Greeks state that someone has to appeal on someone’s philotimo, to touch his willing to offer help and assistance . 

Philotimia’s or generosity’s true meaning and application has been circumvented and remains on risk of being diminished not only from dictionaries, but from our society we live in. 

Instead of that ,something that prevails in our age is the reciprocation to someone’s good intention to help «filotima» (honourably) with ungratefulness. 

The arc of philotimo is too small to stop the lack of values, selfishness, the little and large merits, and fears of people. 

In front of philotimo a detrimental selfish tendency of people to think and act by mind ( and not by soul ) is heightened .

«Why should I help someone, if not having benefit?», is an intimate question posed by someone who thinks selfishly. 

Or in the worst case to use the phrase : «The end justifies the means» -(5), which is more tragic, because it is used in many ways even for supposed spiritual and holy purposes, such as spreading Spiritual / Universal Laws! 

Of course now we are getting to the abuse of the very good intention for offering and love. 

Then, someone who is philotimos/generous risks to become a victim in the “ altar ” of individual plans and aspirations or of the insatiable foresight for control and supremacy. 

(This is an issue that I will possibly explain in a later newsletter of mine ). 

All this occur in a society that constantly refuses to cut grasps with Matrix, where the co-operators or associates (of the society ) are afraid to allow themselves risk by following a brighter and less materialistic way . 

Maybe that is the reason for philotimos / generous people being paid in the currency of ungratefulness, due to their accordance to laws and values rooted in their subconscious and for transcending the shackles of conventional reality. 

The soul of a philotimos/generous man /woman is full of experiences, ideals, virtues, knowledge and wisdom. 

All these co- exist to create an integrated man, for Knowledge without Wisdom can not exist as well as without implementation. 

Knowledge itself without the «Synergy» of Wisdom, Virtue, Justice, Valour Prudence can not exist. 

The ideas and goods are born and implemented by people who are carrying the legacy of our Creator’s values, because they allowed themselves to listen to the voice of their heart and overcome their “ego”. 

Creator cultivates the image, literally « embroiders » on a transcendental canvas, what is transferred from the human soul, known as “creations”.

Creator not only has spoken within, but was heard too!

Those who work by philotimia (Love of honour) and truly act according to this value, definitely flee away to Light, because they risk their aid for good deeds towards their fellows, even though they do not expect anything in return. 

In contrast to those who watch the Light, but touch it with them fingertips like a distant star in the sky, for they fly bounded to the “dark machine of Matrix”, reluctant to offer and share their love and understanding residing within, due to their fear of losing ....


Copyright Katerina Kostaki
Author-poetess-freelance article writer 
Author of "Cosmic Light", poetry book - Xlibris Publishing and The Angels Planet on


**Translation of the above article in Greek language:

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