Greeks abandon the Matrix

31 08 2012

This is a heartwarming story…..  because abandoning the Matrix and letting it collapse under its own heavy load of shit is all it deserves.

Two years ago, just as the Greek government was spreading some of its harshest austerity measures, 29-year-old Apostolos Sianos started spreading its program of austerity, 29-year-old Apostolos Sianos threw in his well-paid job as a website designer, gave up his Athens flat and walked away from the Matrix…..

On the Greek island of Evia, in the foothills of Mt Telaithrion, Apostolos and three other like-minded Athenians set up an eco-community.  The idea was to live sustainably, free from the shackles of money and cut off from the grid.

The four sleep communally in yurts they built themselves, they grow their own food and barter the surplus in the village for the necessities they can’t produce themselves.  “What others saw as a global economic crisis, we saw as a crisis of civilisation,” Apostolos explains.  “Everything seemed to be in crisis – healthcare, the environment, education. So we made the decision to try something different.”

Apostolos and his mates first met online four years ago, and after two years of brain storming decided to have a go at putting their principles into practice.  “When I first made the decision to give up the city and move to this patch of land I was a little nervous,” he frankly admitted.  “But now I can’t imagine ever being attracted by that kind of lifestyle again.”

In its second year, the community has 10 permanent members plus more than 100 part-time residents.  In the last few months there has been an explosion of interest in the community from Greeks who feel abandoned by the Matrix and find life in the financially crippled cities impossible.

Last year, Greece’s economy shrank by 7% and 2012 could see a similar dip; in reality this means that thousands of businesses are going bust and tens of thousands of people losing their jobs.

A recent survey by Thessaloniki University suggested 76% of Greeks would like to emigrate, but as most can’t afford to start all over again abroad, returning to living off the land is increasingly attractive.

Apostolos says that 2012 has seen huge movements of people from cities to the countryside, with many contacting his community asking for advice on sustainable living and organic farming.  “The Greek financial crisis is not all negative,” he said.  “It is providing a huge opportunity for people to see that the system they live in is not working, so they can begin looking for alternatives.”

Soon, everywhere, people will react this way and they too will abandon the Matrix….