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Old April 12th, 2012, 12:06 PM   #8004 (permalink)
zabu of nΩd
Blessed Are The Sick
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Originally Posted by Zephyrus View Post
I really psyched myself out yesterday, but I am genuinely determined to make improvements in my habits and priorities. I think a major thing about me is I want to identify with older age groups than my own, that is, in academia, which is causing me to think so negatively about my own generation and the Sturm und Drang of youth in general. Also, I am a huge control freak, and when I sense I'm losing control of my own life, I have a doom-and-gloom crisis like I did yesterday.

Classics is my life, Grant. I live it every day and it forms so integral a part of not only my thought patterns, but also my identity as a human being historically, culturally, and even spiritually. I would sacrifice anything for it, and I have done so. And I want to sacrifice even more, crucify myself for it. The Greco-Roman pantheon, in a figurative sense, is what I worship. I cannot fathom being a scholar in this field without living the way the Greeks and Romans did, speaking their language, thinking their thoughts. The phil- in philology is no paltry prefix.

This sounds like fanatical rhetoric, but it is a genuine passion. Every person should have a passion to be this devoted to. It's how we derive purpose from life.
I'm all for someone having a passion in life, but I often wonder if in your case it comes at the cost of a broader perspective. I know you to be very intelligent and rational, and I assume you recognize that today's society (and not just the "lowest common denominator" of it) operates upon a great deal of modern wisdom that is absent from (or perhaps contradictory to) the wisdom of classical society.

That's not to say you should step back from classics as a calling in life, but there is a risk of becoming intellectually blinded by it. Perhaps by following the threads of modern knowledge that are being spun today, and by expanding your circle of smart friends to absorb valuable perspectives independent of your own, you can better avoid things like stagnation and "moral bankruptcy".

Originally Posted by Zephyrus View Post
Yes. Let's all degrade ourselves to a lowest common denominator lest we appear selfish and superior (note how I say "appear" because I know that there is no such thing as legitimate superiority). Face it. Great human achievements are accomplished because there is a societal infrastructure in place in which the many are oppressed for the benefit of the few. My privilege comes at the cost of many who do not have the opportunities I do. That's not an argument to throw it all away to be in solidarity with them. Yes, I don't have a lot of the problems most other people have. But I'm also not going to transmute those problems, human suffering, into a virtue.
This is probably not the place for political philosophy, but... really? I thought great achievements were made because there are brilliant/talented people out there who make useful contributions to our knowledge and technology, and capitalism generally promotes opportunities for those people. "Oppression" (or might I say selfish competition for resources) is the default state of nature, and it's reined in by institutions we put in place as a result of our intelligence and problem solving abilities. I don't see how you can call that state of nature something we should strive to uphold.
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