Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The strange inheritance

There is really much in us that has come via Jerusalem - our vague, christian-agnostic humanism is basically just the New Testament translated into secular society. (In my personal case the connection is of course much stronger coming directly from a background of living, if very liberal, Christianity.) Liberalism, in the end is not a very Greek value. (And we don't hold it in the Greek way, but tepidly, half-heartedly.)

But the basic modern situation: freedom, passion, emptiness, is quite pure Athens. Not that many really would confront it. Some problems do arise in connecting liberal humanistic values with this Nietzschean condition of being in the world, but to my mind there is nothing inherently impossible in achieving a rational balance.

Art also is very a Greek thing - especially in the form where esthetics are seen as fusing with ethics (a view very close to my heart). Art is the central thing, next to it love and justice. Perhaps that is the fusion, our common inheritance - increasingly wasted inheritance, I suppose.

These recollections, echoes are indeed quickly fading. And not only of Athens but of Jerusalem as well, and there is a certain Roman luxury and opulence in our lifestyle, a certain decadence. One does wonder what is to follow all this, what rough beast.

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