Monday, July 31, 2006

Passing and Merging

I came across this unreferenced quote the other day, scribbled in an old notebook: “The problems of Greek citizenship touch us today because they are ours, and they are ours because the experience of the Greeks has passed into our substance and merged into our being.” After I had read it and thought about it for a minute or so, two questions came to mind. First, which Greeks is this person talking about? They were not a homogenous people, either temporally or spatially speaking. Is our substance stuffed with aristocratic Homeric warriors, Spartan hoplites, Athenian demagogues, Macedonian imperialists? Or is it simply that we are all citizens of Plato's idealistic republic? Second, is it any longer possible for us in the West to purge our substance and release our being?

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