This I Believe
Kyrou, Alexis Adonidos
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And now, This I Believe, a series of living philosophies presented in the hope they may help to strengthen and enrich your life. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. His Excellency Mr. Alexēs Kyrou is a Greek diplomat and statesman. Until last January, when he became the director general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he had represented Greece for seven years at the United Nations and was the chief of the permanent Greek delegation. In the diplomatic service, he represented Greece in various capitals of Europe and at the Paris Peace Conference in 1946. For the past two years, he was the Greek spokesman on the Security Council. Here now is the personal philosophy of Alexēs Kyrou.
Socrates and his modest disclaimer of final knowledge, [spoken in Greek] “The only thing I know is that I don’t know anything,” intended to expose those of his fellow citizens who professed knowledge without realizing their fundamental ignorance. In his mind, however, knowledge and belief were certainly not coterminous. For how could a man, who considered himself vested with a religious mission of improving intellectual and moral standards of the Athenians, ever reconcile himself with the idea of living intrinsically in a moral vacuum that is without a deep-seated belief and a well-defined purpose? Yet knowledge and belief have this in common: that they are not static notions. As years pass, man’s knowledge gains in depth and breadth, not withstanding his inherent limitations.
The evolutionary trajectory of belief is naturally toward maturity. In our early years, emotions, rather than objective reasoning, tend to shape our beliefs. As we mature in age, our vision of life becomes more and more tainted with realism. Happy usually is the man—and this is my fundamental belief—who, although advancing in years, stays young at heart, whose prudence and reason are kindled by youthful enthusiasms, who believes that this life is, after all, worth living.
Proud of my Greek origin, I further believe in the great moral values, which constitute the quintessence of three-thousand years incessant efforts of the Greek nation for the preservation of freedom.
I believe in the preeminence of moral and spiritual values over physical strength and technical skill. I believe in the incentive of free development of the individual. I believe in the necessity of never ceasing to hope for a better future.
I believe in the importance and urgency of the task of conciliating one’s duty to his country with everyone’s duty to humanity. This conciliation cannot be brought about without a degree of tolerance, which in my mind not only requires us to listen to our fellow man’s beliefs, but also to try to understand them.
In this context, my six-year term of service with the United Nations has proved most instructive and profitable for me.
In the beginning of my mission, I considered it my duty to collaborate with my colleagues from the other member states truly and honestly, yet with a constant eye to the possible incidents of the issues involved upon Greek interests. I used to judge situations in the light of my Greek mentality, and divided them with my own Greek weights and measures. Now I know more and better. My angle of vision has broadened and has benefited by my contacts with foreign colleagues.
I have learned that in the long run, my country’s interests will be better served by efforts to promote the interests of the whole international community, of which Greece is only a part.
In conclusion: God, Greece, and ever increasing international cooperation for living in peace, and a growing yearning for [?] in every sense, this I believe.
Those were the personal beliefs of Alexēs Kyrou, director general of the Greek Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Athens, Greece.