Highet on the power of the mind

From Man’s Unconquerable Mind by Gilbert Highet:

It was the western part of the empire, the Roman part, that collapsed first; the eastern sector, the Greek-speaking area, maintained itself under almost incessant attacks for another thousand years. And if one were asked to venture a single explanation of that odd disparity, one would do well to say that it came because the men of the West liked wealth and enjoyment, while the men of the East liked thinking. Power and pleasure finally softened the hard Romans and the people of their satellite provinces. The supple Greeks went on talking and arguing and fighting and inventing. If the mind is kept in use, its powers are inexhaustible.

If we are in a cultural crisis, perhaps the best thing we can do is start an argument! Anything to activate the mind – our own as well as others.

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