our greatest blessings come to us by way of madness Phaedr. 244a

2012/09/28

to be fully human...

"Aristotle, in his Politics, wrote some famous words that have been translated "man is by nature a political animal." The translation is incorrect. If the Greek sage had expressed himself in English, he would have written, "a human being is the type of creature that dwells in cities," or "to be fully human a person must live in a city." Aristotle expressed a common Greek prejudice against life on farms and in villages, and against "barbarians" (non-Greeks) who did not have cities of the Greek type. He shared the general view of ancient Greeks and Romans that only in an urban setting could they enjoy such refinements as economic prosperity and leisure, a good education, competitive sports, music, painting, and sculpture; philosophy, literature, and theater, [...] that the city created, sustained and transmitted culture." ~Kenneth Holum et al, King Herod's Dream: Caesarea on the Sea