Friday, August 8, 2008

Eunomia...

It's the word I learned today. Eunomia is the state of being well governed, or the principle of good order.
I learned this word while reading in the 3rd chapter for Roots of American Order. Somewhere around the end of the 6thBC, there lived a man who understood the proper role of order in his personal life and in the political life of a city-state. His name is Solon. He is an example of statesmanship to me. He sounds like a good guy too.

I did not know at this time in Greek history, a person could give their body as payment for their personal debts. It sounds like the Athenians and many other Greeks were living a spendthrift life style. There is a group of paintings called The Rake's Progress. It's the opposite of Pilgrim's Progress yet it depicts the live style of the time. I would guess the use of false gods and denial of one true god, the god of Israel would have something to do with the moral downfall.

Anyway, the people called for this Solon to make changes single handedly to improve the society as a whole. And he did. What's neat about the whole thing is that he never let this power turn him into a tyrant. He created a "mixed' government. he said," The ship of state, riding upon two anchors, will pitch less in the surf and make the people less turbulent".

Most of what we know of Solon comes from Plutarch and Herodotus. Solon was called one of the Seven Sages of the ancient world. Plato said that had Solon stayed away from politics and stuck with poems he would have equaled or excelled Homer.

Would you believe there were citizens angry that Solon did not take money and increase his power? Ultimately, Solon decided to leave for about 10 years and see how the constitution held up. Within a few years there was a tyrant born.

Here is a few lines from Solon's poetry. I don't think it's called poetry but it's good all the same.

Solon surely was a dreamer, and a man of simple mind;
When the gods would give him fortune, he of his own will declined;
When the new was full of fishes, over-heavy thinking it,
He declined to haul it up, through want of heart and want of wit.
Had I but that chance of riches and of kingship, for one day,
I would give my skin for flaying, and my house to die away.


A man may teach as much by what he is as by what he says; so it was with Solon. This man is a statesman. As I read about him, I thought of George Washington and of Virgil's Georgics. I have not read Georgics yet but I did read the introduction is the Great Books series, thus I am reminded from that encounter alone. I may be completely wrong once I read the epic poem.

It was exciting for me to read this today as I plough headon into this novel of American order. I feel like Pip! I see new and great expectations for me in my mission is this half of my life. How exciting. Wonderful. Glorious and Fulfilling. All at the same time. Leadership education is the way to go through life. I hope to inspire my kids to take hold. I fear because of my weaknesses. God be with us all. Good night.


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