The Achievement of Greece: A Chapter in Human Experience

The Achievement of Greece: A Chapter in Human Experience

The Achievement of Greece: A Chapter in Human Experience

The Achievement of Greece: A Chapter in Human Experience

Excerpt

Two convictions underlie this book. The first is that true education means not merely the accumulation of information, but rather the gradual approach to a personal attitude and way of living. Such an approach, to be sure, must proceed from a body of sound experience that we may classify as information; but in the process we find ourselves dealing with it always in a more masterful fashion. Beginning, as it were, like humble errand-boys and peddlers, we learn to fling away the pack that once seemed so precious, as we discover new burdens and a new quest; and without ever quite losing sight of our earlier home or giving up a certain affection and loyalty toward it, we turn to the road as sportsmen and adventurers, or even, it may be, as crusaders and pilgrims marching toward a far country. The only danger in the transformation is that of a too sudden change, which may deprive us of all continuity and sense of direction. Even the explorer will not throw away his map and compass, eager though he may be to press on beyond the frontiers marked by his predecessors.

The second conviction underlying this book, accordingly, is the one more fully set forth in the first and in the last chapters: that no chart of human experience will speed the adventurer on his way so surely as that which records the achievement, in success and in failure, of the ancient Greeks. It will not take the place of his own experience; but it will save him many a false start, and will show him many a fair prospect that he will be glad to explore for himself.

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