Superiority of Greeks to Puny Moderns

7 posts

Bronze Age Pervert

Scott Locklin (from Takimag and Altright) on the absolute superiority of the ancient Greeks over the moderns (and everyone else, but...)

Beefy Rep

What a fanboy. The creative role of a small cadre of learned Greeks in creating some of the theoretical underpinnings of modern science and technology is complicated and certain worth discussing. Perhaps a more interesting question would be how much of the Greek origins of our civilization was a renaissance revisionism with rather little basis in reality; but at any rate, in terms of raw intelligence and scope of knowledge, such as this fellow hopes to compare, there is no comparison. The mathematics, for instance, that a typical suburban high school student learns is far beyond what was even available to the Greeks.

Bronze Age Pervert
"Fanboy"? Who are you, Errigirl? Every nation only has a "small cadre" of very learned or creative people or geniuses. No one doubts that the Greeks had far more, proportionally, than moderns do, and that they had it without the benefit of someone else having done the hard work for them. New Jersey alone should have produced at least 50 like the guy described above...let's not start with China. You want to talk about the Orient, Chinkboy? 5000 years of bureaucratic mediocrity and makework, give me a break.

How does your example of the math learned by high school students prove anything? They're building off more than 2000 years of work done by others, and they don't actually understand what they're learning...same goes for most engineers too. Just because you know about DNA doesn't make you intellectually superior to Newton, who didn't know about it. By this reasoning the fact that we have Air Jordans and can huff from aerosol cans also makes us superior, because those benighted Greeks didn't have such things.

No, the Greeks are so obviously superior intellectually, physically, spiritually, that it makes the balls of puny moderns like you shrivel up!! So you start to talk about that you have mayonnaise in your working bread-and-butter progressivist chink!!
Beefy Rep

The Greek aristocracy was supported by theft from peasants, and also by a vast slave class. I've heard estimates that 90% of Athens, for instance, consisted of slaves. Like I said, the mathematical knowledge of the average suburban high schooler exceeds that of even the best Greek mathematicians. The Pythagorean theorem, for instance, was high mathematics. I think I learned it early in junior high. It would seem, then, that the bar of "greatness" (whatever that stupid concept means in the first place) is simply set higher.
How do you compare a Greek mathematician with, say, Von Neumann who helped create the theoretical underpinnings of modern computing. Or the folks who put a man on the moon? Or Darwin. Or Francis and Crick? Their genius, though built on what came before, was of an entirely different level than that of their ancient fore-bearers, and required something much, much rarer in humans than the early mathematics and etc. There is no comparison. Its a bit like debates asking how good a of a baseball player Babe Ruth was, compared to players of today. In a sense he was the greatest who ever was--but he would strike out every time if he had to compete against the hundred MPH pitching that came along later.

As far as masturbation about "the noble spirit of the Greeks," I laugh. they were the most life-hating, messed up bunch of gaylords that ever came down the pike.

This is simply inaccurate; the idea that china never changed over 5000 years is a joke from someone who is clearly not familiar with even the rudiments of Chinese history. We know, for instance, that practically every invention credited to Europe before the 1500's had earlier incarnations in China. Including fire arms, the compass, and moveable type. I'm not Asian, by the way.

Well, it certainly doesn't make me inferior either. Would I have invented the calculus if I had lived in the 1600's? Who the fuck knows? There is such a thing as a stupid question.

Well, intellectually speaking I know things like: algebra. Modern philosophy. Basic thermodynamics. The fact that the earth revolves around the sun. Physically, I'm a bad ass. For instance, my personal best for the mile and a half is 8:47 and I highly doubt any Greek ever could have ran that fast. The Greeks were amazed that anyone could run the distance of a marathon, and their fastest runner at the time died doing it! I did a marathon for fun. We have people who run marathons and don't have legs. Spiritually speaking...I am a Christian, they were pagans. Nuff said! Indeed, if I were transported back to the time of the Greeks...they would mistake me for a god. lolz.

This talk of superiority and inferiority is stupid. It requires just that sort of time traveling comparison. Best do as well as you can now--do right by your family, and be a man--and not think about how Greeks were "studs," "hunks," or "dreamboats."
Bronze Age Pervert

Moderns: subhuman.


These comparisons disguise the fact that Greek and moderns are more like estranged brothers than eternal antipodes. Quibbling over relative sophistication, etc aside, their disagreements largely hinge on the relation between enlightenment and civil society. Both promoted enlightenment, but while the Greeks viewed the cave as a philosophical problem to be contemplated by a toga-clad elite, abandoning the masses to their illusions, moderns believe a regime of universal education would, in Allan Bloom's words, 'shine the light of being in the cave and forever dim the images on the wall', raising the people out of darkness. That is to say, both elevate reason over revelation, the moderns are simply more democratic about it. Both are incorrect, although the Greeks perhaps less so.

Bob Dylan Roof

lol I have a conceptual understanding of modern physics, therefore I'm smarter than Eudoxus.

It's fairly easy to argue that the creativity and cognition required of ancients to arrive at their apparently "modest" discoveries was far greater than that required of most modern specialists. Take, for example, the fact that Beefy here learned maths with the benefit of a new system of formal representation that took centuries to refine and develop.

BAP also obliquely mentioned Galton's argument that the ancient Greeks were the most intelligent men who ever lived, which seems unimpeachable assuming that Galton's genius population estimates are accurate.