Characterization of a Nation

by themusingidealist


“[They] are addicted to innovation, and their designs are characterized by swiftness alike in conception and execution… they are adventurous beyond their power, and daring beyond their judgment, and in danger they are sanguine… they alone are enabled to call a thing hoped for a thing got, by the speed with which they act upon their resolutions. Thus they toil on in trouble and danger all the days of their life, with little opportunity for enjoying, being ever engaged in getting…”

Who does this sound like? Think about it. They are addicted to innovation, swift in conceiving of and executing ideas, adventurous and daring but perhaps lacking judgment. Their hope for something is followed immediately by achieving or obtaining it. And they’re so obsessed with getting and getting that they don’t have time to enjoy what they have gotten.

Well, this is Thucydides’ description of the Ancient Athenians written 2400 years ago. What’s old is new. What’s new is old. There is nothing new under the sun.

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