Cardinal: But, may I suggest,
in the manner of the Greeks.
Michelangelo: No, in my own manner!
Cardinal: True, no modern artist can
hope to equal the Greeks!
Michelangelo: Why not? Why shouldn’t we equal
them? Surpass them, if we can.
Cardinal: Really, Master Buonarroti,
I had heard you lacked modesty…
but do you claim to be
greater then the Greeks?
Michelangelo: – I claim to be different.
Cardinal: – For the sake of difference?
Michelangelo: Because I am different.
I’m a Florentine and a Christian…
painting in this century. They were
Greeks and pagans living in theirs.
Cardinal: Pagans? Christians? An artist
should be above such distinction.
Michelangelo: And a cardinal, especially one who
pretends to understand art…
should be above such foolishness.
I’ll tell you what stands
between us and the Greeks.
Two thousand years of human
suffering stands between us!
Christ on His Cross
stands between us.
Screenplay, The Agony and the Ecstasy
Since Trump’s speech defending Western Civilization in Poland there has been a fair amount of commentary on what Western Civilization is. The Jews and the Greeks brought a constellation of ideas into being that were amplified by the Romans, producing unique cultures in Western Europe that gave birth to a civilization known as the West, a daring, ever questing civilization that is perpetually seeking to surpass itself, and which has proven simultaneously attractive and repellent to the other civilizations that inhabit the globe. Compared to the West most other civilizations are static and seek only to replicate themselves across time and space. The West is different, and everyone knows it, whether they love it or hate it.