Frequently Asked E-mail Questions
Before you send Kostas an e-mail, please review his answers to the following frequently asked questions and requests. If you do send an e-mail with similar requests and/or questions to those responded to below, there is a 100% chance your e-mail will not be read but simply deleted – so what’s the point of sending it in?
1. Is Kostas Dervenis the same person who wrote Kosta Danaos’s books the Magus of Java and Neikung?
Yes and no. Kosta Danaos is a literary construct, designed for a particular market. Kostas Dervenis is, as one person aptly put it, “horribly mainstream.” He’s an average middle-aged businessman who works for a living and watches TV at night with his family, and he’s rather mundane.
Kostas Dervenis is an iceberg – most people just see the tip protruding from the surface. “Kosta Danaos” is a piece of the puzzle that is Kostas Dervenis.
2. I am interested in learning neikung. Could you provide information for me on seminars, courses, lectures, etc?
No. I no longer teach neikung, nor have I ever given seminars, courses, lectures, etc, on neikung. In fact, most of the people who have sought me out for this reason have been told to get on with their lives. There are many people out there who would happily take your money and indulge your desire to develop inner power; please seek them out instead of me. Pammachon has nothing to do with neikung per sec.
3. I am the Chosen One. Your task, lowly mortal, is to introduce me to John Chang, so that he may make hotel reservations for me, meet me at some airport in Java and act as my tour guide, feed me, train me, develop my power and generally have the ultimate honor of being my Master until my greatness outshines his and the world grovels at my feet.
I am honored, oh most Powerful, and flattered that you have chosen me to aid you in your task of finding the Holy G.E.C.K. And yet, I have but one simple and unintelligent question, foolish petty corporeal being that I am: If you were truly the Chosen One, do you really think you would need a common Greek to forward a mailing address to you? Would not Fate have driven you through a series of inexplicable circumstances to stumble onto the very thing that you (currently) seek, so that our sorry asses may be saved from Impending Harm?
Go Away. The Universe does not require middlemen or agents.
4. Sheesh, you are an arrogant egotistical S.O.B.!!! Who exactly do you think you are?
Ah, the Ego Police! Please refer to the award-winning author Neal Stephenson’s reply to the same issue, a summary of which is outlined below:
In this world there are certain people who have appointed themselves the Ego Police and who go around denouncing anyone they think has too big of an ego. From time to time, one of them denounces me.
It is a waste of effort to argue with such people, because if I say "I really don't think I'm so great at all" they will invariably say, "Eeew, will you just look at the man's disgusting false modesty!"
In general the Ego Police are difficult people to feel a lot of affection for. In their defense, however, they do perform a valuable role in certain fields.
Anyone who could actually inhabit my brain and observe my thoughts on a typical day, so that they really knew what I thought of myself, would fall down on the floor laughing if they heard me accused of having a big ego. And so my general reaction to denunciation by the Ego Police is amusement. I do not worry about what the Ego Police think of me, except insofar as their opinions are based on a misunderstanding of what I am doing, and why I do it.
- Neal Stephenson
He speaks for anyone who has been exposed to a modicum of notoriety (and no, I am not comparing myself even remotely to Neal Stephenson, who is one of my favorite authors).
5. Wait a minute, Kosta Danaos was an idealist who gave up everything in order to search out and promote an alternative future for humanity! Who the HECK are you and what gives?
Sigh. OK, you’ve read this far, so you can’t be a complete moron, otherwise you would have already stopped reading this page.
There’s a scene in Highlander the TV series where one of Duncan’s mortal ex-girlfriends writes a series of romance novels centering on his character and adventures. At some point in the plot, another of his girlfriends (this one an immortal and avid fan of the romance novel series), asks herself “Now what would the real Duncan McLeod do?” referring to the literary construct. At this point the garlic-eating, beer-guzzling, unshaven corporeal McLeod bursts out in frustration “I AM the real Duncan McLeod!!”
I have forgotten what transpired in that particular episode, as well as most of the series, but that line was a good one, and it stuck in my mind. See, I AM the real Kostas Danaos - the other fellow is something out of a romantic novel.
Kosta Danaos was a last ditch measure, a guided missile designed for the late 1990s. At the time the books were written, I was very concerned that, given the abject capitalism that had grabbed the globe after the collapse of the Iron Curtain (the Cold War had previously provided an Enemy to restrain the greedy in the West), the world would suffer through the trepidations that we are currently witnessing (global warming, unfocused wars “on terror” which are essentially conflicts of special interest groups, the complete devastation of the environment, extreme weather as a reaction to same, religious upheaval and dogmatic resurgence, the dwindling of individual human dignity and citizen’s rights, financial turmoil, the shrinking of our resource base, the biological degradation of food sources, etc). I had the privilege of listening to a lecture by the great Stephen Hawking in Greece in September 1998, during which he discussed the current state and future of the world. According to his calculations (and I think we can agree that he knows what he’s doing), he gave humanity eight years to reverse the environmental degradation process at that point, otherwise it would be too late, and reversal would not be possible. The eight years have passed, and, sadly, both Professor Hawking’s calculations (and my own inner fears) were right on the mark. Our greed and ignorance have outstripped the logical discipline required for our long-term self-preservation.
It is already too late to save the world my generation grew up in; we have managed to eliminate what was left of it in less than 18 years. All we can do now is plan for our future survival, and embrace the change that is coming, adapting as we go in order to endure and thrive. There is no going back, no halting the process. In the next 100 years, technology will advance as much as it has in the past 20,000, and we as a species will evolve into something different, should we survive this change. We can take pieces of the past with us if we move forward with a vengeance, but there is no going back.
This is a decision we have collectively made, either through action or inaction, through intent or indifference.
Accordingly, there is no reason for Kosta Danaos to exist any longer; his time has passed. But Pammachon has been designed to fit into a cyberpunk world. Pammachon is something for the future and the times ahead, a rugged mountain villager’s treasure chest with the cultural inheritance from past millennia locked inside - you could bury it in the dirt for ten thousand years, and it would still be current.
Besides, I like Kostas Dervenis better, and he is the real Duncan McLeod.
6. I am interested in pankration. Do you offer seminars, courses, lessons, training, etc?
Excellent and congratulations. However, in short, you are looking for instruction in combat sports. I’m no longer much of an athlete myself, and, while I was briefly associated with a pankration federation circa 2002-2005 as its founder and vice-president, I no longer have the time or the interest in same.
I can recommend the following trainer, who is my personal friend and my student as well as a world-class pankration instructor, and whom I consider one of the top researchers and trainers of pankration in the world today (we have co-authored a book together). He has appeared in Channel Four’s Helen of Troy with me and in the History Channel’s Human Weapon on his own merit:
7. Honestly, I think that what you are doing with Pammachon sounds really cool, and I want to study Pammachon and join your school.
Fair enough, but Pammachon is not really ready to be introduced to the public yet. I am currently writing a book on the subject, which should be released in 2010. Once that book is in print, public instruction of Pammachon will commence in earnest. Until then, said instruction will be somewhat limited.
The reason for this precaution is simply that I want to document and copyright some of the concepts I have either researched or developed before I make them public, and reserve the credit for my legacy. This will not be possible in this day and age unless they are very well documented before they are released.
Pammachon is currently a small school with less than one hundred students around the world, and most of us know each other well. We really have no plans to increase that number before the scheduled time (2010), which is when the trainers themselves should be fully trained. If you want to put up with this type of program, then you are quite welcome to contact us. I would recommend writing a polite, formal, and erudite (if possible) letter that is in accord with the conditions stipulated in this F.A.Q. outline, as I have always responded to such letters.