Homer and the rejection of the materialistic attitude of life

In this article we will analyze in an original way an excerpt from ‘Homer’s Iliad’


Iliad, Rhapsody A, Verses 149-151:

Ancient text: «αναιδείην επιειμένε, κερδαλεόφρον, πως τις τοι πρόφρων έπεσιν πείθηται Αχαιών η οδόν ελθέμεναι ή ανδράσιν ίφι μάχεσθαι;»

Translation in English: “Armored in impudence, always shrewd with greed! How could any Argive soldier obey your orders, freely and gladly do your sailing for you or fight your enemies, full force?”

Here, with Achilles’ words to Agamemnon, Homer provides us extraordinary information about how a Leader should not be (as Agamemnon is ‘Anax’, the leader of the Achaean faction) and what he should not do if he wants to have the people with his part. Let’s see:

i) Be impudent

ii) Be greedy (always thinking of profit)

When there are leaders without Pudency who think exclusively of profit, they can not inspire their people to do anything, even more so, a battle, which is the highest act of danger.

People who are trained to see everything from a materialistic point of view, not giving priority to spirit and soul, gradually lose their appetite not only for war, but for all the good and beneficial fighting aspects of life. Their only ‘struggle’ becomes the hunt for profit, ‘gold’, that will allow them to claim their desired pleasures and delights, plus a possible ‘Glory’ among the other people.

The Education that a State should provide to its citizens, in order to avoid this, should be geared to the teaching of Pudency, but also to the avoidance of the materialistic view of life. Rather, the Spiritual-Idealistic approach to life should be taught. Life with Matter and not for Matter, with Soul and Ideals-Values ​​in the spotlight. This, of course, would help to ensure that capable leaders of the State, who will actually and effectively inspire the people, will emerge continuously in the future generations.

A person without Pudency is able to do the greatest ugliness, both at his own expense and at the expense of the rest of the people. A man without Pudency but additionally greedy, too (with all the consequences this brings), over time ceases to have human-like quality characteristics and becomes a ‘talking monster’ (many examples from History).

Not only do we need to educate people with Pudency (which includes concepts such as self-esteem, dignity, respect for other people, respect for Nature, respect for God, etc.), but it is also very necessary to prevent utilitarianism, opportunism and greed, among the citizens, by infusing them with the high ideal of Virtue, so that their aim becomes the wider good of society instead of one’s own and only benefit, the claim of which is commonly done even with violent, ugly and deceitful ways. This happens when the ego is exalted, where Virtue and Pudency are absent, when the passions of voluptuousness, avarice and ambition are on the rise and prevailing; only Reason (Logic) and Virtue (includes continence, measure, goodness, godliness, etc.) almost totally prevent them.

The slave to Matter and Pleasures man is already deprived of his Freedom, being submissive to his Passions! So we understand that the refusal to fight in a battle, for example, is an anticipated event, as his natural environment has already become Servility. And while a chained slave can indeed revolt at some point so as to acquire his Freedom, a slave with invisible chains, of the type we have described here, will never revolt because he is unaware of his real situation, as we have analyzed in one of our previous articles, because his logic malfunctions due to lack of Prudency.

Isidoros Aggelos


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