Friday, February 9, 2018

Scouting the hinges of history

I like Thomas Cahill's perspective. This is from the introduction to his book, "How the Irish Saved Civilization," which I've read once before, but am reading again:

"We normally think of history as one catastrophe after another, war followed by war, outrage by outrage-- almost as if history were nothing more than all the narratives of human pain, assembled in sequence. And surely this is, often enough, an adequate description. But history is also the narratives of grace, the recountings of those blessed and inexplicable moments when someone did something for someone else, saved a life, bestowed a gift, gave something beyond what was required by circumstance.

"In this series, The Hinges of History," I mean to retell the story of the Western world as the story of the great gift-givers, those who entrusted to our keeping one or another of the singular treasures that make up the patrimony of the West...

"The great gift-givers, arriving in the moment of crisis, provided for transition, for transformation, and even for transfiguration, leaving us a world more varied and complex, more awesome and delightful, more beautiful and strong than the one they had found."

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