Reflections on Art and Life
I’m going very slowly through Bertrand Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy, refreshing on some long forgotten concepts and discovering new ones. I marvel at the different models of society and religion developed over time and how the human beings were always capable of oppressing one another. We have a tendency to indiscriminately glorify ancient wisdom and mythologize the purity of the ancient world. Many of their societies were failed experiments, even those having a form of freedom and democracy. They seemed to oscillate between totalitarian states focusing on warfare fueled by slavery and total freedom leading to debauchery and moral collapse. Perhaps the true barometer of society’s health is the prevalence and quality of art, which needs both constraints and freedom to flourish. But how much of each? I don’t know. Back to Plato.