mencken on greek philosophy

From A Mencken Chrestomathy:

Is it seriously argued that Plato was the most enlightened Greek of his age? Then it may be argued with equal plausibility that Upton Sinclair has been the most enlightened American of this one. Item by item the two match: as political scientists, as professors of esthetics, as experts on the natural processes. In some ways, true enough, Plato was clearly superior to Sinclair: for one thing, he was better versed in the jargon of metaphysics, heavenly maid—which is to say, in the jargon of organized nonsense.

The plain facts are… that Greek philosophy was quite as idiotic as any other philosophy… They show that the salient Greek philosophers of Pericles’ were almost identical with the chutauqua orators of today, and that the more enlightened Greeks regarded them as public nuisances… If the history of Greek philosophy were known accurately, it would probably turn out to be no more than an imitation of some earlier philosophy, now forgotten and maybe abandoned by its inventors as nonsense.

HL Mencken understood that Greek philosophy was nonsense. Today, many Christians take up this mantle of nonsense for themselves, speaking exactly like the Greeks when explaining their worldview. We should take caution when adopting metaphysical concepts from the pagans.

About christopher fisher

The blog is meant for educational/entertainment purposes. All material can be used and reproduced in any length for any purpose as long as I am cited as the source.
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