Headline, April 18 2019/ ''' '' PAST PURRS POST '' ''' : PEOPLE

''' '' PAST PURRS POST '' ''' :


TO THE GREAT HEROIC FOUNDER FRAMERS AND the Students of the entire world : I suggest and plead : 'Better Brainstorming' : 'The questions now matter more than answers.

Political Rhetoric : ''Down with the people''. All politicians who invoke ''the people, are usually up to no good. Navjot, Salman Khan, Kapu, you good and great Indians, copy that? Do you?

SINCE the first three words of the preamble to the United States constitution thundered into world's lexicon,  ''THE PEOPLE'' has been one of the favorite invocations of those in, or in pursuit of, power. It has also been one of the most abused.

CONSIDER THE STORY THUCYDIDES WRITES about the Peloponnesian War, one he insists was even more momentous than the Persian Wars.

Thucydides does not explain this outwardly outrageous claim because he does not need to : As his readers understand this new war did not pit Greece and against a foreign foe but Greeks against Greeks.

With his swift tracing of Athens's rise from from a backwater polis to burgeoning power, the historian not only underscore the near-sudden fear than overtakes Sparta but also lays bare the tragic implications of the brewing collision.

In his explanation of the work's celebrated speeches, Thucydides tells us when he could not say with certainty what the speakers said, he them say what they should have said. They do so not as stock figures offering insights into game theory but as flesh-and-blood individuals mostly blind to the consequences of their actions.

Behind the intense debates and decisions, we hear not the muffled moves of a chess game but the grinding wheels of necessity and nemesis.

The former, as the hero of Aeschylus' ''Prometheus Bound'' declares is unconquerable. The latter, as was understood by any Greek Tragedian or historian worth his salt, was ineluctable.

TIME AND AGAIN, rationale calculations prove as faulty as irrational forces prove overwhelming,  Pericles, the Athenian leader praised for his ability to plan for all eventualities, dies in the unanticipated plague that strikes the city.

The Athenian leader of the Melian expedition, who justifies the destruction of Melos by claiming that might makes right, portends the destruction of the Athenian expedition to Sicily.

Similarly, Alcibiades, the privileged and proud politician who promoted Sicilian adventure, did so by appealing not to the reason of his working-class base but its discontent and desires.

Likewise, the businessman turned demagogue Cleon blasted by Thucydides as the ''most violent man in Athens,'' repeatedly debases language to his quest for power. As for the reasonable and moderate Nicuas, the general who failed to dissuade his fellow Athenians from invading Sicily, he dies there while commanding doomed forces.

While Alcibiades eventually goes over to the Spartans, revealing that self-interest comes before national interest, Nicias suffers what Thucydides describes as an ''undeserved'' death.

While parallels between now and then abound, lessons are less plentiful. In the end, Thucydides' history does not instruct us on how to exploit or avoid certain situations, instead instilling the simple truth that given our nature, there will always be situations that we cannot avoid and, and if we try to exploit, will have unintended consequences.

Why bother studying the past then, if it cannot help us navigating the present? One might as well ask why bother reading Aeschylus or Sophocles if they have no useful advice on how to live our lives.

Thucydides claim that he wrote his history not to win ''the applause of the moment, but as a possession for all time'' is based on his tragic conception of life.

Far from being able to master events or even our own desires, events and desires will sooner or later master us. While this is not a rousing call for action, it is a call for modesty and lucidity.

Especially in our own age, these virtues might still have earned the applause of Thucydides.   

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Grandparents, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! : The Ecosystem 2011:

''' Calls & Caps '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!