Friday, October 10, 2008

Fall Harvesting Thanks To Georgics...

Words of praise were spoken by our children (and cousins) yesterday as they began to gather in the fall harvest. Thanks to their hard labor in the spring, the bounteous produce were highly prized by the owners.

Here was the perfect opening to share what I had just finished reading over the last 2 days. The Greek Georgic Tradition and The Founders.

I knew that georgics has something to do with farming, and although we live in a city, I am slowly progressing in turning our property into a very small family hobby farm (think of "farming" in the loosest of terms). Now I know a little more about the influence of georgics upon our nation and our government.

Agrarianism is most often confused with pastoral ideas at the expense of georgic ideas.
Pastoral thought is of a pleasant landscape, natural beauty, harmony, and a fitting scene for love, art, and leisure. Imagine the idealistic shepherd laying under a tree, playing upon his pipe a lovely tune.

Georgics on the other hand sees nature as a collection of forces attacking humanity and the land and thus requiring hard work (labor) to create order and virtue in order to keep the forces of disorder at bay. Think of the practical farmer, plowing under the scorching sun watching the gathering of cumulonimbus clouds.

We know all about the forces of disorder. Just take a look at our hillsides and sinking lawn.

Back when Isaiah was prophet for Israel in Jerusalem, Hesiod was writing about georgic ways in Greece. Here are some quotes made by him; taken from the article I was reading: "The immortals decreed that man must sweat/to attain virtue" "for mortals order is best, disorder is worst", "...Hunger and the idling man are bosom friends...If you work, you will be dearer to immortals/mortals; they both loathe the indolent." oh I like this little quote too; "barns are not filled by those who postpone".

I read in the introduction for Virgil's Georgics prepared by the Great Books series that he wrote this poem to encourage soldiers returning from war to seek value in middling hoplite farming.

Farming became fashionable in the 1700's here in America. I wonder if it became "fashionable" because you could use slaves to help? Just I thought I'm not sure if that is right.

The author says what I believe to be true when he said,"Peace, prosperity, and political stability do not occur naturally; rather, they must be actively created out of human labor, skill, and VIRTUE".

This is just a little thought that is beginning to grow in my mind. I will need to study more in regards to the influence of georgics upon our government. I'm currently reading The Roots of American Order, maybe I will find direction there.

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