Did You Know? You’re An “idiot” If You Don’t Care About Politics. Idiot.

Artwork by Incrediville

Word of the day. 🧐

Greece isn’t just about yogurt and gods in robes fighting each other. It’s a place of origin. Such as the very word “idiot”. The everyday derogatory slang we use today derives from “ιδιώτης” (idiotes). The prefix “idios-“ means ‘private person’, ‘private citizen’, or ‘individual’ and anyone else that has too little to care about. You know how much they loved to gather around and spit at each other all day. (in robes too🤣)

In the ancient city-state of Athens, where democracy was born, the word was used to describe those who don’t participate in the Assembly (ecclesia). It was a big deal. The Greeks valued civic participation, and those who did otherwise sucked. Check out how one of the Greek historians, Thucydides quotes Pericles’ Funeral Oration (a famous speech done after battle): “[we] regard… him who takes no part in these [public] duties not as unambitious but as useless” (τόν τε μηδὲν τῶνδε μετέχοντα οὐκ ἀπράγμονα, ἀλλ᾽ ἀχρεῖον νομίζομεν). 🔎Keyword: Useless. Those who did not care about their public duties were useless. That was intense.

To clarify, the meaning of language shifts with culture and time. While in ancient Greece, “idiot” was a word to condemn selfish people, it’s not to be mixed with the meaning we use today. Chill.

Elections are crazy. Scandals, blackmails, lies are flying everywhere. But do your research, know your history, and call those idiots to care about the world. Now.

What is politics anyways? My favorite quote comes from political scientist Davis Easton, who conceives the idea of politics as “the authoritative allocation of values for a society.” The air we breathe, the land we step on and the water we drink all needs to be shared. But how, is the question. How do we share resources together as a society and maximize its use without having conflicts?

That very process of figuring out the “how”, is politics. As long as we are a part of society, nearly everything needs to go through the process. Politics is the way that people living in groups make decisions.

SOURCES:

Illustrating science since 2017 from Taipei. We serve fast food for the thought in this town. (っ◔◡◔)っ This is where we keep our fact sources and art.