May 28, 2009
Artist's image of the theater of Dionysus.
The theme at Goat Rope lately is Greek tragedy. You'll also find links and comments about current events below.
As mentioned yesterday, democracy and tragedy grew together in ancient Athens and the latter was seen as vital to the former. I'd argue that this is still true today.
All kinds of themes and lessons run through Athenian drama, with implications for public (and private) life. One that comes to mind is the fragility of good things, to paraphrase classical scholar Martha Nussbaum. Good fortune and all that comes with it can be too easily lost.
Sometimes this happens through our own hubris and over-reaching. Sometimes we can be caught up in and brought down by a long chain of events we don't understand until too late. And then there are the times when the harder we try to avoid something, the more surely we bring it on ourselves. I hate it when that happens...
Tragedy tends to reinforce the words carved on the temple of Apollo at Delphi: Know Thyself and Nothing in Excess.
Unfortunately, the Athenians didn't heed the lessons of tragedy. Intoxicated by the wealth, prestige and power they had gained by defeating the Persian invasion, they went from being leaders of the Greek world to masters of an empire. This led to a disastrous and seemingly endless war with Sparta (search this blog for Peloponnesian War) which brought their glory days to an end.
It would be nice if we could do better.
FEELING PARANOID? Here's a guide to popular conspiracy theories.
REAL LIFE HORROR MOVIES here.
POLITICS ON THE BRAIN. Here's another look at this topic by Nicholas Kristof.
STATE BUDGET. It looks like the use of federal stimulus money may prevent major cuts to jobs, programs and services in El Cabrero's beloved state of West Virginia.
URGENT RECENTLY DISCOVERED WEIRD ANIMAL UPDATE here.
GOAT ROPE ADVISORY LEVEL: ELEVATED