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Watching the weary world from afar, I can barely substitute thoughts for words. As water and atomic fire lash Japan, floods sweep Brisbane, Adelaide, and New South Wales then the very ground loses substance beneath Christchurch, what can we say that can begin to express the suffering felt? I think only the ancients have eloquence enough to say:

sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt

– Aeneid, I, 462

Or as Fagles translated it: “The world is a world of tears, and the burdens of mortality touch the heart”. The words uttered when pious Aeneas, ragged from travel and travail, gazed upon the memorial to the Trojan race upon the Carthaginian shore.

I think its particularly apt, as the paintings would have lain in modern day Tunisia, where the seeds of Arabian democracy first grew anew. Those lines, also happen to be amongst my favourite lines in all of Latin verse. And the name of my iPod.

It makes you wonder what’s going wrong with the world. But then you remember that from the ruins of Troy, sprang the line of Anchises, from whom came Aeneas and then Iulus Ascanius all the way until Romulus and Remus and even unto Caesar himself.* From destruction comes renewal. Schumpeter understood it well.

 

 

* Genealogical claims may not pass Australian Truth in Political Advertisements requirements; readers are advised to seek independent historical verification.

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