After a few months of planning Campfire's Athens Beacon was launched on Thursday at The Abhaya Yoga studios. (Thanks Sophia for your help and hospitality)
The evening started with a discussion, introduced by Beacon founder @Mary Valiakas who was making a virtual appearance via Zoom. She talked about her work with Oi Polloi and in lighting fires and passing on the Homeric flame. her talk focused on innovation, education and bringing philosophy back to its natural home.
The Athens Beacon and Oi Polloi are proud to promote the idea of The Homeric Games: an Olympics for innovation, a hope for the future, and – in these dark times – a way to reignite Greece as a beacon of civilisation.
I gave an introductory talk about Campfire and its origins and ethos, its features and its plans, which turned into an open discussion about the platform, with some thought-provoking and lively questions especially coming from Alexia. We also talked about our events and that followed with a more general discussion about Greece and how it feels at the moment to be in Athens and whether the protest techniques that were working for Extinction Rebellion elseehere might work in a different way to the customary Greek protest methods. We noted that Athens currently has no XR group.
I talked about social change and in response to @Jonathan Leighton's plea for solutions to how we can get moving on social change and making the world a more compassionate place. It was put forward that we shouldn't underestimate the effect of every meeting, conversation, article or 'broadcast' that we are involved in . The change starts with us and the way we act, we way we listen and talk to others and how we talk all that into the wider world. In essence, a lot comes back to defining values and principles as a core reference point.
The conversation with Jonathan carried on the next day, and we will be looking at options for how we develop our values and principles to incorporate attention to ethics and how we develop a new blueprint for a compassionate global society through the methodical, rational application of a holistic ethical framework and an understanding of human nature and systems. His work at Opis ( Organisation for the Prevention of Intense Suffering)
We moved into a discussion on connection and I suggested that @Annabelle Macfadyen's article on People's Meetings was a good reference point for moving towards the art of good conversation. George Chatzis, a long-time musician and actor friend, stepped in with a singing circle, pinpointing how we resonate with each other and how our breathing and the tonal qualities of our voices gives away much about our well being and emotional state. We then went around the circle holding notes which were mostly (and somewhat surprisingly!) in tune.
From there, it was a chance to do some ecstatic dancing as I DJ'd a short set...
We need to get a game plan together for another Athens meeting - Mary? and also how the team can be involved in working on September's Paros Retreat
This is the nucleus of the Beacon meeting team in the early hours of Friday morning after carrying on the conversation in a local wine bar