When we look back on the past, many of us see a linear timeline of history with one single slope of growth. Civilization all started from basic primitiveness and it gradually developed into the "superior" societies that we supposedly live in today. Rarely do we challenge that assumption with the idea that history is not linear. Although technology has improved and increased over time, the enlightenment of our civilizations has not all been equal at different points throughout history. In fact, there have been many times where we have lost much wisdom from the past and dipped below levels that we used to achieve.
The fundamental cause of the ideas of the Ancient Greeks was wisdom and enlightenment. In modern society, not only are these principles no longer embraced like they used to be, but they are constantly prevented by distractions such as technology and entertainment. There is little time for thinking anymore. When we are not working, we are consuming and being entertained at all times.
The Greeks focused on balance: their athletes were at the same time thinkers, and their thinkers valued exercising both mind and body. Without balance, they argued, a person could not maintain full potential. The Greeks saw sport as a development of character and discipline rather than a spectacle and a tool for financial gain. They also built buildings that not only served the direct function of what they were built for, but they also were strategically planned in inspiring those who experienced them. Their architecture suggested values that would benefit those who lived in their cities, emphasizing harmony, calmness, and reason. They built in a way that communicated the noblest values of all human beings.
They also taught empathy through their art. The Greeks' famous tragedies told stories that audiences could relate to and personally empathize with, allowing them to be more understanding and aware of the lives of others around them. This is largely different from the aggressive and demanding nature of many media forms today, where there is little focus on the desire to truly enlighten one's audience, and more of an emphasis on preaching to and persuading through guilt and shame.
The idea of "reason" might be at the forefront of Ancient Greece. It is important to realize that as humans, these ideals that were once common in Ancient Greece have always been crucial to our development as creatures for as long as we have lived and created together, and we should still value them today as they did back then. Maybe then, we will more easily navigate through a time where our minds are cluttered by the abundance of immediate and often mindless entertainment, and instead of shutting off our minds and turning on television or scrolling through social media or a news feed when we are tired or bored, we can learn from the past and be content with our own thoughts.