Artiest: Noël Nicolas Coypel
Eons ago, a princess called Europe was playing at the beach with her friends. It was a beautiful day so she was walking around barefoot, wearing nothing but a white cloth seemingly around her hips. As such she caught the attention of Zeus, the Supreme God of Olympus. Knowingly betraying his wife, and anxious to scare off the beautiful girl with his divine stature, he descended to Earth in the shape of a friendly white bull. He approached the group of women from a nearby meadow, seducing Europe to play with him. Once isolated from her friends and on the back of the bull, Zeus walked into the sea and swam all the way to the Mediterranean isle of Crete. Here they made love in the shadow of a tree, after which Zeus returned to the Heavens (and Hera), while Europe got left behind. In time her belly grew bigger, and according to legend, she gave birth to a new civilization.
A few millennia later the children of Europe have evolved and are currently attending kindergarten. On the map of the playground one can clearly see each has a spot of his own. At the far end to the west we have Victoria. A beautiful girl, witty, craves to be independent but always watches closely what the others are doing. Up north we find the Scandis, a group of highly popular girls that deeply care about each other. They are bit self-absorbed and cold to the outside, but they always look fierce. To the far south we find the Bello Boys, always busy hustling, smoking and flirting with the rich Scandis to get their attention (and money). The Slavic Jocks are the silent types and very hierarchical. They accelerate in gym class and enjoy showing off muscle. On opposite end to the east we find Olga. She is a bit clumsy and struggling with her physical development (she’s a big girl). Because of her posture and rude interaction skills she tends to get ignored by the others a lot. So she performs acts of aggression to the kids in her grade just to be seen. Finally, in the middle of the playground we have the Nerdy Neds. A group of three small kids, smart, inventive and with a heart for entrepreneurship and economics. If you want to get good intel or learn how to trade your marbles, they are the ones you should pay a visit.
This playground is not without history. Some time ago the Nerdy Neds started making a business out of stealing goods from children in the other grades. Not yet aware of any ethical standards, some kids from the class started to join in on this game of trades. Particularly Victoria was keen in participating, since getting more resources and dominion over others really did wonders for her reputation. But after a while that started to get boring. So the kids turned on each other. Olga had some old debts to settle with her rival Frank from another school. Influenced by the latest teachings in philosophy class both Frank and Olga started to persuade some of their classmates to follow them, thereby increasing their territory and competing against each other. It didn’t take long before the entire grade was involved in a turf war, taking in strategic positions and fighting battles over who could ride the swing set, who was allowed to use the sandbox and who was king of the climbing frame. Since neither of them had a fair chance of winning they decided to quit that after a while as well.
Even though they were distracted playing their power games, the children succeeded in making peace and advancing towards their next level of education. Alas, their state of mind has not evolved with them. Despite growing up in a time of unprecedented prosperity, they still find the time to complain about unfair teachers, dominate discussions on how to help kids in development and meddle with the school’s policies for new students. The collective consciousness of Europe’s civilization, therefore, still acts like a child. And what is to be expected from the offspring of a mother who was violently abducted and presumably raped by a dominant male? It is very hard, if not impossible, to leave such a foundational story and following history behind us and pretend nothing ever happened. Europe, talk.
Joey Velberg is storyteller and founder of the Green Communicator. He supports the agent of change with a good story. Curious to what the Green Communicator can do for you? Go to www.greencommunicator.nl or call +316 22 81 31 33.