Commentary on Politics and Society…today?

“The citizens themselves, through their foolish acts, are
to destroy the great city, yielding to their desire
for wealth,

and the leaders of the people have unjust minds, for
whom soon
there will be many griefs to suffer as a result of their
great hubris.

For they do not know how to control their excess, nor to
order well
their present good cheer in the peace of the feast

     and they grow rich, prompted by their unjust acts,

     and sparing neither sacred possessions nor public ones
they steal in violent seizure, one from one source one
from another,
and do not observe the solemn foundations of Justice.”

Wow—what a lucid, stinging indictment not only of what’s going on in America today, but indeed most of the developed world. Everything revolving around money; corrupt politicians willing to do anything, even legally questionable acts, in order to further their own selfish interests; the regular citizens having to pay the steep, steep price for their greed and arrogance. I wish I could say it was mine, but it comes from someone much smarter than me.

Where did I come across this gem? I’ve recently been reading the Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece and discovered it on page 78. It’s from the poem  Eunomia or ‘Good Order’ by Athenian legislator Solon, circa 580 B.C. The ellipses mark the locations where the surviving text becomes fragmentary and part has been lost to history.

No wonder our modern educational system neglects teaching the classics—it wouldn’t do for us to see that we’re still repeating the same mistakes of 2,500 years ago.

Today’s Quote: Tennyson


“One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

–From Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

This quote–mostly the last line–seemed apropos, following the story I wrote and posted Thursday

The Moving Finger

The Moving Finger writes;
and, having writ, Moves on:
nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.

–From the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, verse 51,  as translated by Edward Fitzgerald.

Believe it or not, I first read this in P.G. Wodehouse’s Thank You, Jeeves, where it was quoted in its entirely (by Jeeves, obviously). I particularly like the imagery invoked to describe how one cannot change the past.

Today’s Quote: Burroughs


“It is always a foolish thing to contemplate suicide; for no matter how dark the future may appear today, tomorrow may hold for us that which will alter our whole life in an instant, revealing to us nothing but sunshine and happiness. So, for my part, I shall always wait for tomorrow.”

— David Innis, from Pellucidar by Edgar Rice Borroughs

Today’s Quote: Saint-Exupéry


“Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
“It is the time I have wasted for my rose—” said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.
“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose…”
“I am responsible for my rose,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.”

— The fox’s parting words from chapter XXI of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry