We must see through the folly

Waterloo Region Record - - Insight -

Re: Re­vi­sion­ism’s prob­lem — Nov. 3

Dem­ocri­tus of Ab­dera spent most of his life teach­ing the atomic the­ory of mat­ter. He spent the last part sit­ting un­der a tree, laugh­ing up­roar­i­ously. Fear­ing that he had lost his mind, the res­i­dents of Ab­dera sent for the renowned physi­cian Hip­pocrates, who at­tended and re­ported that Dem­ocri­tus sim­ply couldn’t stop laugh­ing at the folly of the world.

Je­sus of Nazareth took a dif­fer­ent ap­proach. He wept.

The his­tory of civ­i­liza­tion is a story of un­remit­ting folly. What hap­pened to the teach­ings of Dem­ocri­tus, Hip­pocrates and Je­sus serves as a paradigm.

Lit­er­a­ture breathes life into the folly. Let­ter writer Markus Poet­zsch is right; re­vi­sion­ism is it­self folly.

The fol­lies of the present are enor­mously dan­ger­ous. At least twice in 60 years, hu­man­ity has been on the very brink of global nu­clear holo­caust. And that may not be the great­est worry.

Hu­man­ity’s best hope of lib­er­a­tion from folly and ul­ti­mate doom is to learn to think, to learn to dis­tin­guish clearly and dis­crim­i­nate cor­rectly, to un­der­stand the dif­fer­ence be­tween price and value. That can­not be achieved by ob­scur­ing the fol­lies of the past and present. The an­cient Chi­nese ideogram for ‘thought’ com­bines the sym­bol for ‘head’ and ‘heart.’ Let’s start there.

Arvo Ranni


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