File spoon-archives/bhaskar.archive/bhaskar_2001/bhaskar.0110, message 36

Date: Thu, 25 Oct 2001 08:56:26 +0200
Subject: Re: BHA: <fwd> Umberto Eco on Reason in the Age of Terrorism

Sorry, but the view of Greek civilisation set down in your article is 
unbearably schematic, participating in the very binary 
classifications that are criticised in the article. Even as early as 
Herodotus, there is a clear recognition that "barbarians" are more 
than simply incoherent babblers. Indeed, on his visits to Egypt, 
Herodotus describes how both he an an earlier Ionic historian were 
completely overawed by the wise antiquity of the Egyptians and 
Herodotus attempts at various points in the narrative to demonstrate 
his knowledge by participating in the linguistic analysis of foreign 

Perhaps one of the most persistent binary classifications that 
underpins our incessant arrogance is that which seeks to separate 
into two very discreet entities the past and the present, 
"exoticising" and distancing the past so to make the present appear 
as a progress therefrom. I think Herodotus may have thought this 
somewhat hubristic.

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