ABSTRACT

We have moved still further from the Ancient World. In literature and the arts we have seen a startling break with tradition, and above all the technological revolution which we are witnessing is transforming our lives and insensibly affecting our outlook, encouraging us to live in the present, judging everything by the standard of technical efficiency and assuming that the latest is always the best. Descartes compared the study of antiquity to foreign travel; it was useful, he said, to know something of the manners of different nations, but when too much time was spent in travelling, men became strangers to their own country ‘and the overcurious in the customs of the past are generally ignorant of those of the present’. Today, there is very little danger of living in the past.1