Not so long ago I wrote a post about not repeating mistakes of our past. This week I watched a short video about the past. It was humbling because it showed we have the tools for greatness, and have had them for a long, long time so why do we not learn. I can’t answer that. After all I am not a scholar, scientist, or a philosopher. However, I am listener, and as a listener hearing what happens around us is a responsibility, an opportunity to question and thus to learn. I hope you watch the video – it is brief but thought provoking. For those that may not stop and watch I broke it down a little. If you have your own thoughts on this short piece, then please feel free to discuss it. I would love to hear what you think.
Ancient Greeks held five firm views, views that should have allowed them to grow.
Watching Tragic Plays
People make mistakes. The plays reflect this , reflect our humanity as the cause of errors. However, these same plays were intended as a vehicle of understanding and not judgement. The hero more often was a decent person. It is the path leading to errors we were supposed to witness. It makes sense; if it can happen to them it can happen to us.
Philo means love and devotion. Sophy means wisdom. They believed living and dying well reflected this wisdom. The Stoics went a step further with their interest in panic and encouraging acceptance as a way of bearing arms. Again, this makes sense.
Now this is frightening. The most important belief held was equality and fellow feeling as the basis of democratic thinking so when did we change this definition?
The simplicity of the designs was intended to create a feeling of harmony, and in turn spread this to the world. I am not sure how I feel about this but having travelled I can see how this might be true. I stood on a hill, in awe, of a building that still whispered secrets more than three thousand years later. As much as the Parthenon is renown the world over, I felt no less awe at smaller temples. Harmony inspires peace.
Ancient Greeks believed in celebrating the physical beauty of the athlete together with physical prowess. Gyms were public centres where the mind was just as important as the body. A healthy mind, a health body, or a better way to put it – balance.
Watching the video, I wondered why a people that held such incredible beliefs let it all disintegrate. Did their humanity get in their way? But then, it was a different world, a fragmented one geographically and power plays seemed to rule. We have access to each other, but we are also fragmented. We can read and see what came before and should be able to do something with this knowledge. In many ways each and every one of us is a spectator in a Greek tragedy.
Why then, are we not absorbing the lesson of the past?