Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Greek Way. Edith Hamilton (15).

Time, Inc. 1930 (15).

Why read It? The Athenians were a people who lived their view of truth which was many-sided and often contradictory. They accepted and lived the contradictions. They were individuals who also participated in the community. They were poets who were also soldiers. They needed to suffer in order to achieve exhilaration. The ancient Greeks’ view of life is summed up in this quotation from Edith Hamilton’s The Greek Way: “The Roman games played an important part in the life of the Romans, but, as has often been remarked, the Greeks played; the Romans watched others play.” P. 320.

When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, his brother Robert F. Kennedy was completely distraught. His sister-in-law Jackie Kennedy gave him a copy of The Greek Way. That book enabled Robert to survive the tragedy in his life. The Greek Way provided a model for how to deal with tragedy.

The purpose of this blog? To find interesting ideas in books.

“Pain is the most individualizing thing on earth.” P. 307. ………. “To suffer is to be alone, to watch another suffer is to know the barrier that shuts each of us away by himself.” P. 307. ………. “They suffer greatly and passionately and therefore they are greatly, passionately alive.” P. 309. ………. The Way of the Modern World ………. “…the wisest of Roman lawgivers said that the enforcement of an absolutely just law without any exceptions, irrespective of particular differences, worked absolute injustice….” P. 313. ………. “…filling our present world with turmoil and dissension…our new version of the individual’s claim against the majority’s claim.” P. 315. ………. “Everywhere we are distracted by the claim of the single man against the common welfare.” P. 315. ………. “The Greeks saw what is permanently important in man and unites him to the rest.” P. 316. ………. “The bitterest conflicts that have divided the minds of men and set family against family, and brother against brother, have…been waged for one side of the truth to the suppression of the other.” [Italics mine. RayS.] P. 317. ………. “…the result was the balance and clarity, the harmony and completeness, the word Greek has come to stand for.” P. 318. ………. “The Greeks saw both sides of the paradox of truth, giving predominance to neither, and in all Greek art there is an absence of struggle, a reconciling power, something of calm and serenity, the world has yet to see again.” P. 318.


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