Enlighten your Heart through Philosophy

Heliopolis Youth Culture

It is relatively easy to combine Art with Global Issues, but with Philosophy this becomes more difficult if we hope to keep the philosophical message intact and not allow it to be diluted in the playfulness of Art.

HYC’s 3 phase Project has an ambitious vision for Cyprus’ youth, where they are first invited to participate in a collaborative Art project that gives them a first-hand taste of the inscription on the temple of Delphi “Know-Thyself” (γνώθι σεαυτόν). This dictum, which is the basis of Socratic and all Greek philosophy is our cultural philosophic heritage. The second phase is a collaborative literary production; a philosophic novel written by a small fraction of those who participated in the first phase after engaging in a year long interactive philosophy program. The third verges on the university level of Emotive Culture.

Phase 1

“My QR Code: Know-Thyself / γνώθι σεαυτόν”. In this project a visible, central wall is chosen to be refurbished. On this wall a mandala (as per photo example) with 987 leaves will be outlined by a professional artist. Beneath the mandala is a QR Code, and around it a text similar to the one written below, in both Greek and English:

“While western culture tries to change the world through science, our Eastern Mediterranean culture believes that to change the world we must start by Knowing Ourselves. But as we go searching for this true Self, we run into our Personality, composed of thoughts, feelings and instincts, that combine to create a whole world full of life and colours, a world of 987 little i’s. Only when we force ourselves to see this world, can we overcome our ego’s self-illusions, bringing harmony to reign over the anarchy of our Personality, and finally discover our Real I of Light and Consciousness. This is our Culture: Gnothi seafton”.


Participants are invited through school, university or social media etc. on a weekend to paint one leaf and read the QR code message. Then they are requested to perform a daily exercise of reflective introspection for 10 minutes during each of the next 7 days, before coming the next weekend to write one “i” definition on the leaf they painted the previous week. This act of reflection is to bring a moment of self-awareness of the positive and negative within our soul from love, patience, kindness, to envy, hatred, melancholy…

The QR Code is specific to one area (e.g. Famagusta), and if scanned will show the text and the Famagusta mandala.

However, to make this project bring not only cultural but also Material benefit to the Famagusta district, the participants will be invited to take selfies and download them on the server in order to create through the 987 selfie photos an artistic image of γνώθι σε αυτόν (KNOW THYSELF) Famagusta district, that can go viral through the participants themselves, as they send their photo to friends in other countries etc. Our hope is that the success of this Project in Famagusta can enhance its adoption in the other four Districts and that we could have a Gnothi se afton Cyprus, popping up on someone’s phone in a country, with someone who never even heard of Cyprus.

If successful, in two years many young people in Cyprus would have been subjected to this question, thus creating a cultural milieu for those who can and wish to proceed further with self-knowledge.

From the previous project some will show keenness to participate in a collaborative novel writing project. These teenagers will be guided, over one year, in philosophy and story-line. Each will contribute by writing part of the story of a girl in whom the full history of philosophy – from Platonic to Cartesian… Existential… and back to spiritual horizons – will shape her life. The various contributions will then be combined to create a homogenous whole, to be revised and drafted for publication.

This phase is preparatory to those who after phase 2 find interest in proceeding further towards what we have called the University of the Heart. It is in the form of lecture and dialogue.