The mould of the Macedonian pathos

Petar Arsovski

I am inevitably, constantly and yet again fascinated with the persistence with which a large part of the Macedonian nation refuses freedom. After I do not know how much time, we finally have the opportunity to forever shut down most of the key issues that have so far been a huge stone around our necks, and thus open ourselves to the world, to close a huge chapter of uncertain history and to step into maturity. But there is a phenomenon: faced with the possibility to leave behind the Balkan tragedy and be free from the past to turn a new page, it is as if we are spontaneously and massively panicking from the fact that the eternal struggle will end.

I wonder, what is that deep phenomenon that so blindly binds us to the past, with the pain, what is the reason that prevents us from getting rid of the constraints that bind us to the plight of the long dead generations and at the expense of risking the future of our children? How can the memory of the grandparents who have been gone for so long be more important, than the happiness of the future generations who live here and now?

I think the cause of this neurotic fear is perhaps a combination of multiple psychopathological factors. The first is relatively simple: we are in love with our own pathos. We are intoxicated with the stories of the eternal Macedonian disobedience, we are addicted to our pain. If we are not victims, if there is no blood up to our knees, weeps, screams and darkness, there is no narrative that can excite us. I don’t think it’s pure masochism – that would be too simple an explanation. The root goes deeper, it is more substantial. We are addicted to eternal suffering – which we hate and love at the same time. And as all addicts, we have moments of lucidity, in which we reject our addiction with rational arguments, but intimately, in our subconscious, we still love our pain. Thus, the opportunity to get rid of it is experienced with fear, with uncertainty, with a neurotic panic.

Otherwise, the story of refusal does not have any essential logic. A this moment, even if we accept the darkest forecasts and claims about what the Prespa Agreement means for us, we will come to a simple and logical paradox. Let’s, suppose the darkest scenarios are correct – that the Agreement endangers, at least in part, our historic lines of self-knowledge and identification.

What is threatened and what is offered? Some ancient ideas, memoirs of the past generations, whose time has been long gone, have been (supposedly) endangered, the historic look in a rearview mirror smeared with the pathetic mucus of the Macedonian idealism. At the expense of this, the offer is a future for those who are yet to live, an immediate better situation, and the prosperity of future generations. And now we need, at the expense of the annals of history, who are either already mouldy, or will be soon, to sacrifice the welfare of our children, which they have neither sought, nor want to be part of our tragedy. And what for- for these old people, generations which have turned to dust long ago, still be important, not to distort their reputation. Anyone that is in their right mind would choose a better today and tomorrow, at the expense of removing national memory.

However, surprisingly, for most of our contemporaries, this choice is impossible. Faced with the need to bury the history and retaliation of the eternal sacrifice, and step up to a new chapter, which certainly (and in the most pessimistic variants) would be a dramatic improvement from the current state, they choose pain, the pathos. Or, more accurately, they remember the pain. In a manner of purely subconscious pathology, they will not only reject freedom and change, but will also be extremely aggressive towards those who promote it, attacking them in an evil manner.

They are not able to change into a nation without fear and insecurity, and will hysterically scream about what we have lost and what we have “given up” (fictional myths of eternal defiance), because in essence they do not hate those who are safe and free of national fear, but are angry with themselves that they can not pass that threshold.

Psychologically, the phenomenon is relatively simple, but its consequences are complex. People are not afraid of the identity or the “eternal name”, or the nation. These are abstract constructs that have been adapted without any problem even before – Macedonia was called with several different names only in the last two centuries, and Macedonians were renamed several times – from “ov”, to “ic”, as it was convenient, so we survived and we have adapted. People are afraid of closing the issue, of the freedom and responsibility that comes with it. They fear that they will have to enter the global marketplace, where there is no clientelism, relatives, and connections, they fear that they will have to work, they will be responsible for their own actions, that they will have to compete in a system in which there are more competent people than them. They are simply afraid of the fact that their destiny will depend on their competence, and not on the eternal conspiracy “to destroy the Macedonian name”, which for now is the perfect excuse.

Such a pathological fear is embedded in the deep subconscious and will have serious consequences for those who are now under the pressure of the moment, will decide to cross the threshold of uncertainty, and psychologically they are not mature enough for it. Such a move, which is currently extorted, in many parts of the nation will be reflected in retaliation against the protagonists of such a change, who “fooled” them into deciding, which is certainly bad news for the current government. In other words – they will believe them now, but they will remember. They will be angry that we have awakened them from sleep, because even if it was nightmarish, false or not, it was easier to handle than reality.

Views expressed in this article are personal views of the author and do not represent the editorial policy of Nezavisen Vesnik