Today I am at a very important school in Greece with a rich and strict educational curriculum. In parallel, a similar event unfolds in Corfu. As I chat with students in Athens, I say, put your faith in your teachers. They can help guide you to the future by helping you learn new things, stimulating your imagination, and preparing you to meet future challenges. They can inspire you. Today we also speak of opportunities presented through the Youth’s World Parliament. This idea of young people may be a new thing for you; embrace it. Similar events are taking place in Bulgaria, India, and Mexico, organised by UNACC India, Mil Mentes Por Mexico Association International, Mexico Juventudes Academy Mundial, and Argentina.

Youth must continue to shape their next generation and the route humanity is now taking. Youth must take even greater interest in protecting our only planet, Mother Earth, from global warming and in the state of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goal 2030, and ask of politics why they will not be achieved. Youth must be nurtured and provided with an education in non-scholastic philosophy, and education should receive greater investment. A more active youth population within world society can improve the chance of humankind’s survival in a hostile future as well as reduce the risk of the unravelling of millions of years of evolution and of human consciousness disintegrating over coming generations.

The issues implicit in my title speak of a big nuclear bang exceeding the power of the original big bang that set in motion the evolutionary processes from which life and its environment have emerged. It speaks of climate change that is leading to the unravelling of complex biological systems and the destruction of incredible feedback mechanisms that prop up human consciousness, as well as artificial intelligence capable of precipitating a technologically manipulated future of limited free will and relegating an individual to the status of a node in a network. We have to ensure that a nuclear bang capable of causing the destruction of awe-inspiring outcomes billions of years on from the original bang never happens. Do not run the risk of becoming a node. We have to ensure peace. The outcome of the pupil’s work relating to peace as part of the Youth World Parliament project was cited in the 14th Dialectical Symposium, WPF 6–8, 2023, and when Nicola Tesla was celebrated.

You young students of Greece are privileged to learn in a language 4000 years old—the language of philosophy. You have a good knowledge of English. I believe that you have some advantage as a result of knowing early in your education about the golden mean, Homer, Thales, Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato. I take it as a given that your answer to my title’s question is yes, we need philosophy. You have some exposure to Shakespeare. You are at reasonable ease with such quotes as:

Even in our sleep, in our despair, against our will, pain drips from the heart - drop by drop, reminds us of our sufferings, and whether we like it or not, punishes us, punishes us, until through the awful grace of god, wisdom comes.

I speak of peace while covert enmity Under the smile of safety, wounds the world.

(Henry IV)

And probably troubled by both. The harsh grace of our world today is reflected in Aeschylus and the cruel reality that came from his experience of war. The wisdom in Aeschylus provides a road to peace, and it is philosophy.

Let’s cling on to a world where the creativity of human beings is infinite and man’s talent is profound. Let’s find ways to cultivate the more refined regions of the brain. This is for the sake of all children and youth in a society of all ages. Let's think about the advice of a great physicist, Schrödinger, about our task: not to see what has never been seen before, but to think what has never been thought before. We must all stand up and fight against social dementia, nonsense peddling, conspiracy theories, and all that is fallacious. We must give environmental protection an easier passage. We must see these issues more clearly.

Our flagship Earth runs the risk of a shipwreck of titanic proportions that will plunge humanity to the extinction of the full-fathom fifty. Each day can be pleasant, tomorrow can be dreadful, and every day can be the first or the last. A healthier population means more years between the first and the last. A more active and philosophically nurtured youth can improve the chance of mankind’s survival in a hostile world. Young people must be provided with an education in non-scholastic philosophy to influence civic behaviour, slow down or reverse negative trends within society, and help in the rejuvenation of individuals and the renewal of organisations or nations within the framework of global citizenship and one race.

Socrates was out and about among people and did not have time for writing. He is the de facto father of lifelong learning. When awaiting Hemlock, he heard a soldier sing and asked him to sing the song again. Why, old man? Tomorrow, you will be dead. That is the point; I have time to learn one more thing. He told young people, Fall in love, get married, have children; if marriage works, perfect! If not, become a philosopher. When he was teased about his smarts by colleagues, he told them with humour that had he had the means to take more advanced classes from Prodikos, like them, he would have been much smarter.

Having vexed the Athenian authorities, Socrates was executed, and with equanimity, he accepted his fate. Hellenism fell into slow decay, and Christianity took on a slow rise. The Psalms were used in education, and the world’s mindset changed. The Academy and Asclepiads closed, and the Olympic Games and Dialectical Symposium ceased. Monasteries became centres of learning and Anagiri health centers. Later, when the Ottomans denied the Greek language to Greeks, priests played a crucial role in keeping it alive in secret, well-hidden schools. Timotheos gave my wife and me a tour of the Secret School.

Adulthood (I am in post-adulthood) should ideally bring about maturity but doesn't, and consequently, we are on the way to a state of adulthood, which is characterised by a decline in global empathy and a collective madness of our world, a condition not solely attributable to the present era. We live in times when the unexpected can be awaited, where uncertainty and mindlessness characterise a significant portion of our current moment in history, and when reason is being overwhelmingly rejected. The problem is the world, its miseries, and its disorders. Understanding and thinking about it and what it should be will always be a noble task, says Martín López Corredoira of Mexico, who continues to live in the world of ideas. To think about the utopias that will feed and inspire future revolutions is the work of the thinker.

So let me leave you young thinkers everywhere with a proposal, two exercises, and a question:

  1. Through the Youth Parliament call for a symbolic peace and a banning of war by proclamation in the sacred place of Delphi and ratified in the Old Hellenic Parliament, Athens. Do it while the mountains still look at Marathon. Do it while the mountains still look upon the sea. The World Philosophical Forum in Athens is attempting to drum up interest in a philosophical pilgrimage to Delphi.

  2. Ask a neural network. ChatGPT to draft a peace treaty between Russia and Ukraine, which actually proposes the implementation of the Minsk agreements, and the parties to the conflict are invited to immediately cease fire, withdraw troops to their original positions, and create a demilitarised zone along the current line of conflict under the supervision of international peacekeeping forces that guarantees the interests of both parties. But can we put our faith in AI? The World Philosophical Forum in Athens has proposed the establishment of a philosophical platform that scrutinises AI through a Hellenistic algorithm to guard against AI’s misappropriation.

    My challenge is that you write a poem in the tradition of a lamentation written in Nineveh referring to the sinking of a ship full of provisions following an eclipse. It brought suffering. Its captain, full of heart and soul, held no more power after the shipwreck. Your poem could focus on man’s accumulated knowledge of the world, which far outstrips his understanding, an asymmetry, or on the ongoing active destruction of man’s habitat, the planet Earth, which undermines survival, or on the loss of marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the new moon over Sounion, the splendour of the night sky anywhere, or the loss of hope to find a bottle in some waterway with a new message from Youth.

    Undoubtedly, philosophy is one of the greatest achievements of the human mind. Individually and collectively, why can it not find a home within the international community?

Permit me to finish with an extract from my poem that confidently says:

Youth will go ten thousand miles to find the smiles of Mother Earth, a mother more
To ease the pain, comfort, and console a baby’s cry.
But should rocks melt, my dears, and seas run far too high,
Let’s take our cup of kindness yet, for the sake of Auld Lang Syne.