Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Homer's Odysseus on the Importance of the Family

The natural family was at the core of Greek life. Are we surprised?

Just a quick note, some food for thought if you will.

I was reading Victor Davis Hanson and John Heath's book Who Killed Homer? and found this gem. Odysseus, the hero of the Odyssey encounters a young woman, Nausicaa, on the beach. In speaking with her, he gives a speech about the values of married life:

Nothing is better, he suggests, than when a husband and wife share a house and their hearts, "a great pain to their enemies [the ill-minded ones] and a joy to their friends [the well-minded ones], and they themselves are highly esteemed (p. 191).

Homer. Some Greek guy who wrote stuff something like 2800 years ago.

I like the turn of phrase that a husband and wife are a great pain to their enemies [the ill-minded ones]. Natural marriage is the foundation of society, a bulwark against the storms and divisions against the storms with which the ill-minded can conceive to assail them. Homer's ideal was the heart and strength of the Greek polis. It is a sad commentary on our own culture to see how much we've rejected the wisdom of our Western heritage.