“A god from afar looks graciously upon a gentle master…”

November 11, 2012 at 6:40 am (Commentary, Education, philosophy)

Yesterday I viewed the 1951 British film, The Browning Version, starring Michael Redgrave — thoroughly recommended! The film is based on the play by Terence Rattigan, and he wrote the screen script.

The words from Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, struck a cord with me, and awakened something within me which I would like to think is a part of my better self! The ring of them remains with me: “A god from afar looks graciously upon a gentle master…”

The wisdom of the Classical Greek Writers comes alive in Hellenic studies, and the failure of our present education system in not teaching the glories of antiquity in language and literature is a glaring deficiency in Australian pedagogy!

Get back to the Ancient Greeks!

There are some who feel that the answer lies in the soil, and they look to New-Age remedies to solve world problems. Western societies seem largely disillusioned with their Christian heritage, and somehow feel that preliterate peoples had the answers. It is common to hear indigenous cultures called civilisations. On the other hand, I suppose, one has to allow each to his own!

I think that much of the ancient civilised world was a precursor to the coming of Christ and the Christian message. Agathon 446? – 401 B.C. — maintained that: Even God cannot change the past. The Seven Wise Men of the Ancient World were said to say: Know thyself. Another saying of the Ancient Greeks was: Nothing in excess. We have on record St Thomas Aquinas’ acknowledgement of his debt to the great Aristotle 384 – 322 B.C.

In all of this I’m reminded of Belloc’s words: Europe is the faith and the faith is Europe — or roughly this!

Hilaire certainly did write: When I am dead, I hope it may be said: ‘His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.’

I now wander the earth baffled by humanity’s problems — I’m sure we are all going somewhere; but the big question is where?

Did the Ancient Greeks have the answer? Perhaps there is an answer in the words of G.K. Chesterton: The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.



  1. Janey Kelf said,

    Does/did anyone have the answer or is it hit and miss and then we try that until it no longer works

  2. Antony Ruhan said,

    Questions come before answers. And questions to important problems are difficult to phrase. First, one has to recognise the problem.
    Probably the most common error is to trot out answers to problems long past, which bear superficial likeness to present ones. List a couple of the main problems now. The so-called unity of Europe and a common economy. Is a common government needed or possible? The economic relation of China and the USA and Europe. The famines in Africa, the middle east and Asia. These are just a few, not to mention how to deal with the rise of Islam in different cultures or peoples.

    What are the questions?

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