As our sand-castle economy washes away under the tide of bad gambles and debts, this most self-indulgent society lurches toward stoicism (even bankrupt Iceland gives us the cold shoulder and turns to a solvent superpower). It’s going to require more than giving up constant infusions of stocks, Starbucks and Botox.
As Seneca, the Roman Stoic who advised treating the body “somewhat strictly,” wrote in a letter: “Avoid whatever is approved of by the mob, and things that are the gift of chance. Whenever circumstance brings some welcome thing your way, stop in suspicion and alarm …They are snares. … we think these things are ours when in fact it is we who are caught. That track leads to precipices; life on that giddy level ends in a fall.”
The study of Latin and Greek, with illuminations on morality, philosophy, mob rule and chariot races, reached a nadir in the greedy ‘80s and ‘90s, when it seemed irrelevant for kids who yearned to be investment bankers and high-tech millionaires. But now we’ve learned the hard way that greed is bad — avaritia mala est — and the classics have staged a comeback. Amo Latinam, so I was happy to see last week’s Times story about the soaring enrollment for Latin classes in New York." Dowd
IRONY ALERT! IRONY ALERT!
Seneca? Marcus Aurelius? Epictetus? Surely we are too far gone for that. Education? Real education? Learning that leads to "the proper study of mankind?" Nah! If you do that, you will end as a waiter, someone who brings drinks for the Masters of the Universe.
There’s precious little of actual education around in a world of shallow people, people who experience every new thing as though example is not available that would illuminate the event.
Trade school! That’s the thing! Marketing! Yes! Marketing is all! "Branding!" Yes! Branding was good enough for Lincoln and Jefferson, was it not? Why should it not be good enough for us?
Why indeed? pl
END OF IRONY ALERT