Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Ancient Greek Acceptance of Imperfection

The Ancient Greeks could not conceive of the perfectibility of man because they were taught by Homer and Hesiod that even the Gods are not perfect. Zeus would have sounded like a hypocrite if he exhorted the mortals to perfect themselves since the Gods have all the imperfections which bedevil the mortals. The pre-socratic philosopher Xonophanes laments, “Homer and Hesiod have ascribed to the Gods everything that is a shame and a reproach amongst men, stealing and committing adultery and deceiving each other.” The situation in Ancient Hindu literature is similar. The Hindu Gods often conduct themselves in the fashion of the imperfect humans. The notion of man being perfected by reason, atheism, and science was born in eighteenth century France during the Age of Enlightenment.

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