The standard of morality is just as fixed as the standard of height or volume. Men are no greater now than they ever were. There's no difference between the great men of the first and of the last ages.
All the science, art, religion, and
of the 20th Century
can't produce greater men
than Plutarch's heroes,
24 or 25 centuries ago.
The race does not progress with time. Socrates and Diogenes were great men, but they didn't leave copies of themselves behind. Someone of their greatness will not be named after them, but will be his own man, and in his turn the founder of a sect.
The arts and technology of each era are only window dressing and do not give people life. The harm of improved technology may balance out its good.
Hudson and Bering accomplished so much in their fishing boats as to astonish Parry and Armstrong, whose equipment exhausted the resources of science and art. Galileo, with an old opera glass, discovered a more amazing series of celestial phenomena than anyone since. Columbus found the New World in an undecked boat.
It's curious to see the regular rusting and
of technology that was introduced with loud fanfare
a few years or centuries before.
Great genius comes from the simple man. Although we've made incredible scientific advances enabling us to build advanced weapons systems, the North Vietnamese beat us with guerrilla warfare—falling back on naked bravery free of all aids. Napoleon thought it impossible to make a perfect army, says Las Casas, "without abolishing our arms, magazines, commissaries and carriages, until, in imitation of the Roman custom, the soldier should receive his supply of corn, grind it in his hand-mill and bake his bread himself."
Society is a wave. The wave moves onward, but the water it's made of does not. The same molecule does not rise from the trough to the peak. Its unity is only perceived.
The people who make up a nation today
die next year,
and their experience dies with them.
Last Edited: May 03, 2000
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© 1997 Richard Brodie. All rights reserved.