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The Republic Like Some Beautiful Painting of Bygone Days

“Long before our own time, the customs of our ancestors molded admirable men, and in turn these eminent men upheld the ways and institutions of their forebears. Our age, however, inherited the Republic like some beautiful painting of bygone days, its colors already fading through great age; and not only has our time neglected to freshen the colors of the picture, but we have failed to preserve its form and outlines.

“For what remains to us, nowadays, of the ancient ways on which the commonwealth, we are told, was founded? We see them so lost in oblivion that they are not merely neglected, but quite forgot. And what am I to say of the men? For our customs have perished for want of men to stand by them, and we are now called to an account, so that we stand impeached like men accused of capital crimes, compelled to plead our own cause. Through our vices, rather than from happenstance, we retain the word “republic” long after we have lost the reality.” – Cicero, De Re Publica

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • JEKing April 17, 2018, 10:05 AM

    A Culture is born in the moment when a great soul awakens out of the proto-spirituality of ever-childish humanity, and detaches itself, a form from the formless, a bounded and mortal thing from the boundless and enduring. It blooms on the soil of an exactly-definable landscape, to which plant-wise it remains bound. It dies when the soul has actualized the full sum of its possibilities in the shape of peoples, languages, dogmas, arts, states, sciences, and reverts into the proto-soul.

    Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West Vol. 1: Form and Actuality (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1926), p. 106.

  • ghostsniper April 17, 2018, 10:58 AM
  • Don Rodrigo April 19, 2018, 11:26 AM

    ghostsniper:

    Thanks for the link to the image. Saratoga Springs. Beautiful painting, yes?

  • ghostsniper April 19, 2018, 2:20 PM

    @Don, it’s a retouched and colorized photograph, see the name at the bottom of the pik at the link.
    But yes, it’s lovely and resides on my desktop right now.
    See, something resonates with me in that scene, like I’ve been there, in that time – am I a spirit?
    I did a google street view of the entire street (Broadway in Saratoga) but did not see anything familiar to that pik. Maybe I should go there and scope it all out in person. It’s beckoning….

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