I’m not saying that things were better back in ancient times, but I’m not going to go so far as to believe that we have got it all figured out, and the ancients didn’t know squat, either. The enlightened Greeks, Chinese, Indians, Romans, Jews–whoever–were members of their elite classes within cities and nations that consisted of mostly people who were illiterate and enslaved. Perhaps the same could be said for the entire world today. Just like in ancient times, the Platos and Archimedes and Aristotles of the world couldn’t save their civilizations from corruption and collapse, it would seem that those who are most intelligent both intellectually and socio-emotionally may not save our present global civilization from destroying itself. If education is denied to even a minority of people, then it is that minority who ultimately prevent light from conquering darkness. And so it must be, that we might have to watch it all fall apart and then rebuild again from what pieces remain.
I hope it doesn’t happen this way. I hope that the ever-shrinking globe doesn’t become the one world government cashless society where all who wish to participate in the economy must receive marks on their foreheads or backs of their hands. But, I’m not enough of an optimist to cease considering the possibility that some major shift for the worse will happen either in my lifetime or my son’s lifetime. With the direction technology, exploding populations, climate change are heading, I just can’t see more than a hundred years passing before something has to give. At the very least, the U.S. will bow out as the number one superpower and hand the title over to China and perhaps share a number two or three spot with India and Russia.
What I do think was better in ancient times, for those who had the means and freedom to sit around and think and learn and write, was a simple diet, simple type of dress, and very little energy consumed. Don your toga, grab your chalks and notebooks, and go down to the Academy and read books, talk, learn and think. Write down what you learn and add to the library. And, that’s about it. You eat some grapes, figs, olives, goat cheese, honey, bread and occasionally some fish. You drink wine and water. You bathe in the sea or a public bath. You do calisthenics in the morning and walk briskly throughout the day. Why do you need anything else? Perhaps you have some body odor, but so does everyone else, and everyone has become immune to their strong natural scents.