Narrowness as a grave weakness

Sent by FB from W.H. Auden’s Portable Greek Reader:

Auden said that a visitor from ancient Athens would identify narrowness as a grave weakness in Western culture.

Auden imagined the Athenian saying: “Yes, I can see all the works of a great civilization; but why cannot I meet any civilized persons? I only encounter specialists, artists who know nothing of science, scientists who know nothing of art, philosophers who have no interest in God, priests who are unconcerned with politics, politicians who only know other politicians.”

You will recognize a similar theme (about the importance of generalism) in the essay Rising in Walls in my book, Rising in Words.


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