Most people know Joseph Heller for his WWII novel Catch-22 but his lesser known and more unconventional book Picture This deserves to be better know since it’s full of insightful nuggets of knowledge.
Using Rembrandt’s “Aristole Contemplating the Bust of Homer” (1653) as a springboard, Heller explores the golden ages of Amsterdam and Athens. Sure, it may sound pedantic but I found it very interesting…then again, I’m really into art and I love the fact that I can wander over to the Met to look at the painting…aw, the beauty of living in New York.
Reading it over my holiday break I came across this passage which sounds very very familiar:
The motives of Athenians in establishing democratic societies elsewhere were not to establish democratic societies but to remove hostile neighbors and obstain absolute compliance from societies guided by governments in liege to them.