07 November 2010

So Where Have You Been?

... On the road for a a few days. I am in Athens Greece on their election day which may be as important to them as the US electionwas to us, maybe more. Politics was invented here, including the word politics, which comes from the Greek word 'polis' for city. I am therefore in the city that is the birthplace of politics, Athens.

Mostly, I am seeing the places here and near here that have been part of my intellectual world for most of my life. Having read Plato, Aristotle, Thucydides, Hesiod, Euripdes, Sophocles, Herakleitos, and other ancient folks, I wanted to see a bit of what they saw. Put some flesh on those abstract intellectual bones.

I could write very lengthily, but let me say that on Friday, as the sun was setting, I finally found my way onto the hill of the Pnyx. I was alone there, looking at the rough remaining ruins of the Bema, the orator's spot, the place where democracy reared its head and spoke its first words with names like Pericles. One quarter mile away was the Acropolis, the high city, with its temples. Slightly closer was the Areopagus where Paul held forth and won his first Greek convert, Dionysus the Areopagite.

Those who ask if I am on vacation are right only - ONLY - if that means I am not at my paying job. But for me, this is a pilgrimage, with all that word's power and effort. Alone, with no company but my own thoughts and all but unable to communicate because Greek is hard they talk fast; after walking around the acropolis for hours and through the new museum; with little to eat or drink; to arrive there at sunset by myself and behold in one place the trinity of Greek culture - Paganism, Democracy, Christianity - was perfect.

An that was just one day. By the time I get back I will need a vacation to recover from all this.

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