My coach,Joe, had one philosophy, run. Every practice we would run for at least half the time. Even during the part of the season where we struggled and couldn’t score goals. Instead of thinking about where we were struggling and changing practice so the team could increase its foot skills, an area where we were lacking, we pressed ahead with running. We scored more goals and it would appear that all the running paid off. Even though what Joe did didn’t seem good at the time, it ended up working out. This is an example of a Hebraic Coach. A different type of coach could be a Hellenic coach.
“Hebraism and Hellenism” by Matthew Arnold talks about these different ways of thinking. Hebraism is doing what what you have always done, knowing that what you have been doing is best for you. Hellenism is questioning everything, never believing that what you have been doing is right and what you do next needs to be questioned. I believe that Hellenism is a better form of thinking. For this reason it has become a popular way of thinking. The Bible is the original source of Hebraism. In the story of Abraham, God tells Abraham to sacrifice his own son. Abraham jumps on the idea and brings his son to a rock on top of a tall mountain.
Right before he is about to kill his own son, God comes down from heaven and tells him “now I know you fear god” and he doesn’t have to kill his own son. This is a very Hebraic story. Never does Abraham even consider thinking about how it might not be a good idea to kill his son. This quote pertains to Arnold’s elaboration of the difference between the two, “never go against the best light you have, take care that your light not be darkness”(5,1,2). God is the best light that Abraham has because of this he will follow him blindly never once making sure that God should be followed.
Another story of Hebraism in the Bible is the story of Adam and Eve. God says that no one can eat the fruit from one particular tree. Despite this Eve eats a piece of fruit from this tree. This makes God very angry and he kicks both of them out of the garden of Eden forever. This story shows how Hebraic the Bible because the Way of Hebraism “is conduct and obedience” (5,1,4). God demands perfect obedience from everyone or they will be punished. He is the same as my soccer coach Joe. If we didn’t play well then we would run. If you don’t follow Gods word then you will be punished.
For as often as Hebraism is shown in the Bible, Hellenism is shown in Greek literature. The Greeks believed more in thinking. Some of the greatest thinkers in the world were Greek such as Socrates or Plato. Socrates was a thinker. He questioned everything that happened, he accepted no truths. When the Greeks went to war with the Trojans, Socrates was not supportive. He was outspoken in his distaste with the war. The reason he was brought to trial was because he wouldn’t support the war. When there are wars in the olden times it was very important to have a united home front of support. These actions by Socrates show Hellenism.
“Take care your light be not darkness”(5,1,1) is a great quote to describe Socrates. It means that you should never take for-granted that what you are doing is the right thing; that is what Socrates was doing when talking about the war. Another story from the Greeks that describes Hellenism is the story Achilles. He was the greatest warrior in the world but he sat out one of the biggest battles ever. When his king, Agamemnon stole his slave girls Achilles knew that this was an injustice. With Hellenism one should always “see things the way they are”. Achilles did this and knew he had to fight for his own justice.
Hebraism is still alive and well today. It has a way of coming out in people in times of fear or when they need something. One group of people who always need something are congressmen. Republican congressmen in particular tend to think with a Hebraic mindset. For the past 20 years a man named Grover Norquist has had Republicans sign a pledge saying they will never raise taxes. This is very Hebraic because they just blindly follow this pledge even if it is not the right path for the country. They think that this pledge is their great light even when in reality it is just blackmail.
Another form of Hebraism in the world today is still the Bible. People have decided that they will live their lives based on a book written century ago. On mainly social issues such as gay marriage people will not think at all about what is right or fair they just follow the Bible. “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination” was written in a time that is totally different from now. The fact that people won’t even think about what is right, this is what makes it Hebraic. People have a right to their own opinion but they also at least think about the other side.
Hellenism, the other way of thinking, is also still around. People who use a more Hellenic approach in live tend to think about what they do more and a decide if it is the right decision they wont just blindly follow orders and while this can be problematic at times, it also makes for better at critical thinking. One example of Hellenism in the world now is the fact that the American people elected a black President. This was something that not even 30 years ago would have been thought possible. This took an American populace that was less concerned about what was the norm and what was better for the country.
A second example of the Hellenist influences in the country today is the Occupy Wall Street movement. People really had to see through years of cloudiness to see the true light that was the fact that corporations can do more bad than good for this country. It would have been easy for people to sit back and just think that nothing was wrong. The scale of the movement is what makes it show the true moment while some things like gay marriage for the Hebraic way are fading while the Occupy movement is new and strong. The better and becoming more popular way of thinking in the country in Hellenism.
We are coming off a time in this country where we were very Hebraic. The attacks of 9/11 created a time when being Hebraic was good. We needed a strong leader to organize and keep people calm. As these attacks fade into the background the country has turned to social change. We elected an African American President something that was never thought possible. The Occupy Wall Street movement was a time when people where trying to change there light they realized that big business was in fact hurting this country not helping and wanted to make a difference. We are not yet perfect but the path is being laid for a bright future.