Studies in Literature and Culture
Edited By Carmen Zamorano Llena and Billy Gray
Ciarán Benson - Fault-Lines of Allegiance in Contemporary Ireland: What Should the Irish Love and Fear to Act More Wisely in the Twenty-First Century?
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Fault-Lines of Allegiance in Contemporary Ireland: What Should the Irish Love and Fear to Act More Wisely in the Twenty-First Century?
It seems to me that if the atomic physicists who succeeded him (i.e. Lucretius) two thousand years later had written in verse as he did, they would have seen that knowledge is only the beginning of wisdom. It is not safe in the hands of those who are not sensitive, as he was, to the beauty of the earth and the fragility of all we value.
— HUBERT BUTLER (1987)
Wisdom, Authority and Nation: A Preamble
As for individuals, so for nations: Wisdom must grow from what is already there. From the ancient Greeks onwards, the most interesting kind of wisdom – phronesis – is practical wisdom, wisdom that motivates, guides and shapes action. Such wisdom is essentially moral in the sense that it must know what to choose from an array of paths that can be chosen, and it must do so in a clear-sighted way. Wise nations, like wise people, must know what they are doing and why. And they must try to open up the best array of choices that they can. Such wisdom has sources, moral sources, and these can be traced just like a palaeontologist can reconstruct a whole creature, and its way of life, from a bone. In the case of wisdom, be it of persons or of nations, it...
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