Saturday, February 21, 2009

Travels with Herodotus

When we look at lifeless temples, palaces, and cities, we can't help but wonder about the fate of their builders. Their pain, their broken backs, their eye gouged out by errant splinters of stone, their rheumatism. About their unfortunate lives, their suffering. But the very next question that invariably arises is: Could these wonders have come into being without that suffering? Without the overseer's whip, the slave's fear, the ruler's vanity? In short, was not the monumentality of past epochs created by that which is negative and evil in man? And yet, does not that monumentality owe its existence to some conviction that what is negative and weak in man can be vanquished only by beauty, only through the effort and will of his creation? And that the only thing that never changes is beauty itself, and the need for it that dwells within us?

Ryszard Kapuscinski, Travels with Herodotus


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