Excellence without unscrupulous expediency

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By Anastasios M. Tamis*

Man needs to enjoy the appropriate recognition of his social environment as an endorsement of his struggle, as a reward for his contribution to society at large. The appropriate acknowledgment and respect of the achievements of the individual from his fellow human beings is necessary, to have incentives for greater and higher performance. The student, the athlete, the citizen, in general, grows up and comes of age being active in a competitive society.  The continuous effort to become better, to consistently improve our past performance was considered from the Homeric years the ideal result in the life of man. Always excel, outshine and stand out amongst not only of your fellow human beings, but especially of your own self, surpassing previous personal achievements.

Excellence and the pursuit of the best in learning, in teaching, in performance, in everything we do or create as a profession, as a duty, is constantly shaping a better society. The wheel of excellence is the virtue of ambition. The motive of excellence is the ambition, not especially the wealth. The wheel belt is the acquisition of fame, the need we have as people to be loved, to be appreciated, to be respected. We want to be liked, to carry out actions and manipulations that make us happy. We feel self-sufficient when they love us. We feel inner sufficiency when we are praised, rewarded. We feel strong when they recognize our work, our professionalism.

Our society, to cultivate excellence, to create incentives for constant competition without contestation, has created institutions, that attribute distinctions, awards that honor emulation, pursue of excellence, volunteering, social networking activity and charity contribution. Our society has organized bodies and bodies that evaluate the contribution of citizens and reward those who have offered over and above debt, higher than duty. Heads of State, ministries, the Church, the Academy, universities, prestigious cultural and literary organizations, chambers and economic and professional for a and institutions, after thorough and credible assessment and thorough evaluation, reward or recognize with distinctions the quality of the contribution of the individuals or organizations. The assessment must be impartial, honest  and unbiassed. The choice should be strict and fair-minded.

The choice must be cloudless, reasonable, and honest because along with the winner, the body or authority that rewarded the honoree is also judged. Therefore, strict judgment, fair judgment, must have its own criteria, so that excellence is not dishonoured by those who grant them. Unfortunately, selection procedures are often tested by human weaknesses. Important institutions are affected by incomplete and often deceitful reports, by selfish and often fictitious testimonies that constitute a fallacious or artificial image of the candidate to be awarded. There are also institutions which, motivated by political expediency and specific self-interest policies, reward people simply to manipulate and colonize them. Awards of this category and feasibility are essentially a disgrace to the purpose of the award because these awards  have nothing to do with excellence. Specifically, the ultimate goal of an institution that bestows unworthily and artificially an Order or a Medal upon a given person, is not the social recognition of the honoree, but his or her exploitation.  The aim of the institution is to colonize the winner, to abuse and manipulate him.

The ultimate goal of the institution that rewards the incompetent, the incapable,  represents and signifies deception and pretext. The providing authority who honours a person fraudulently, does not reward the virtuous, the noble and the able. It constitutes a treacherous machination.  The aim of the institution is to colonize the winner, to abuse him. There are several high-ranking institutions and their leaders who manipulate the Order and Medal  mechanisms to patronize the recipients , to turn them into their instruments, to enlist them as their courtiers. They hang the ribbon around their necks, with fancy decorations, grand crosses, and other credentials to succumb them to their ambitious plans, to surrender them to their authority. These tactics essentially disgrace and degrade the value of the award, and all those worthy recipients who fairly and with a lot of struggle and enormous contribution acquired it. The allocation of the Orders and Medals to worthy and unworthy, capable, and incompetent, sufficient, and incomplete, sophisticate and unscrupulous constitutes a scandal and ignominy to virtue, transforms the Honours into a mechanism of immorality.

Excellence must be recognized, using adequate, transparent, honest, and impartial criteria. Prizes cannot be subordinated to trivial aspirations aimed at building political bridges and creating armies of opportunists, decorated trailblazers, but also subjugated servants of the shallow aspirations of ambitious leaders. In this case, the attributing authority the Excellence Awards, subdues the praiseworthiness into an immoral and corrupt expediency.

*Professor Anastasios M. Tamis taught at Universities in Australia and abroad, was the creator and founding director of the Dardalis Archives of the Hellenic Diaspora and is currently the President of the Australian Institute of Macedonian Studies (AIMS).

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