QOTD (2011-04-16)

Symonds, “The Genius of Greek Art” in Studies of the Greek Poets:

Guided by no supernatural revelation, with no Mosaic law for conduct, they trusted their αἴσθησις (percipient reason), delicately trained and preserved in a condition of the utmost purity. This tact is the ultimate criterion in all matters of art—a truth which we recognize in our use of the word aesthetic, though we too often attempt to impart the alien elements of metaphysical dogmatism and moral prejudice into the sphere of beauty. This tact was also for the Greeks the ultimate criterion of ethics…. [W]e ought still to emulate their spirit by cheerfully accepting the world as we find it, acknowledging the value of each human impulse, and aiming after virtues that depend on self-regulation rather than on total abstinence and mortification.

He was no aesthete, that man—problems in Greek ethics, indeed.

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