Why Greece Matters

The Wall Street Journal has a very uplifting essay by scientist and author Steven Pinker detailing the progress Enlightenment ideas are making in contributing to human flourishing worldwide.

In a historical context, the Enlightenment was an outgrowth of the Renaissance, respectfully. During that crucial period in history, the Enlightenment was mostly a rejection of mysticism and Western Civilization embracing reason which resulted in the expansion of scientific knowledge.

Ultimately, the Enlightenment isn’t just working, it’s winning. The West’s progress resulting from the Enlightenment is due to its building and expanding on on the ideas of Ancient Greece. Historian and author Victor Davis Hanson gave a lecture during 2007 that discusses the positive influence ancient Greece has had on the development and formation of Western Civilization.

As an aside, environmentalism is a form a mysticism in that it and the groups based on it revere and call upon people to sacrifice their lives to the needs of nature. It is only fitting that their influence will be hindered by the West’s continuing to reject them thanks to the Greek concepts of reason (logos) and flourishing (eudaimonia). In the end, humans not only want to live but also prosper and will reject ideas that deny them the ability to do so.