Friday, January 30, 2009


She walked up to the man.

"Do you seek death? Do you mock it? I will not waver."

She stared into his eyes, her gaze seeping into his resolve. "I seek it no more than any."

"Then leave him for the scavengers." Exasperated.

"He is my brother. What he has done does not change that."

The man looks at her. Just a girl, yet so brash. "Then what are you here for? What is it you want?"

"I want to make a bargain. I want my brother buried. You want to be the strong ruler, who doesn't make exceptions for anyone, and holds a firm grip on the control over his people. This can be achieved."


"My sister wants the same as I, but she won't bargain. She was always the headstrong one. I will coax her into attempting a burial. You stop her, punish her, then feel compassion for her cause. You let my brother remain buried, and yet you showed that you will enforce your decrees."

"If the plan doesn't go exactly according to plan, I have to go through with the rest as ruler, and that may result in unwelcome consequences."

"Just play your part, and it will be fine. Do a good job and I will lavish you with treasures...very special treasures."

The man was interested. "What sort of treasures do you speak of?"

Ismene leaned in and kissed him. "Just do what I said, and you will find out."

Her suggestive grin disappeared as she turned away from him. Of all the men I have to fool, she thought, it has to be that ugly creep. But with Antigone out of the way...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dream a Little Dream of Me

Ideas brought up in Miss Riley's post on dreams intrigued me. Many of the concepts she postulates remind me of the theories of C. G. Jung, in particular his thoughts on a species memory, or collective unconscious, in relation to myths and dreams. For more on Carl Gustav Jung, see this wonderful page that has what is quite possibly every single piece of information you will ever need to know about the man and his thoughts. Of particular interest to those intrigued by mythology, his work Man and His Symbols is of particular interest. For more on dream theory, also see the thoughts and works of one of Jung's companions, Sigmund Freud, and his work The Interpretation of Dreams (complete text here).

If dreams are from a collective unconscious, a gestalt mind compiled by every living person, are not myths the same? Both contain facts and non-facts, both reach to be greater than we are or ever can be, and both can feel far more real than the "truth" we learn in textbooks. Humans are emotional beings, despite how far we strive to be solely rational (and here and here). We love, we hate, we anger, we sadden, we sorrow, we pity, we empathize, we do a whole host of irrational things in an irrational manner and then attempt to justify them and feel rational.

Accepting the irrational is the way to truth. Human minds, human hearts, human souls, these are not made up of numbers and scientific facts. They are made up of hopes and dreams, thoughts and emotions, feelings of both joy and sadness. Sometimes human lives don't make a whole hell of a lot of sense, so why should how we think? Why must the rational control the lives of irrational beings? Set free the dreams, unshackle the myths, and soar. Even if, like Icarus, you fall from the sky and die in the attempt, you will still be remembered forever.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Do These Jeans Make My Butt Look Fat?

Inspired by class discussion today, and the question posed of "How can you tell the truth in a statement like the one above?" I provide an answer my father overheard a couple years ago:

"Do these jeans make my butt look fat?"
"Don't blame it on the jeans."


Saturday, January 17, 2009

A New Life/Death

"Persephone is like a mortal woman entering into marriage, which the Greeks often compared to death" (Murnaghan xvi). A creepy idea, to say the least. What could have compelled this view? Did the myth lead to the comparison, or the comparison to the myth?

As you enter into a new, married life, one must give up certain things. The trade off, what's given versus what is gained, is more than fair, and for most a worth while situation. Yet, irrevocablly, irreconcialibly, things change. Once married, the person no longer has the same priorities, and certain things become far more important than they once were. The freedom, the independence, while still there, is of another form altogether. As Persephone is led into the abyss of the underworld, she is dying. Her life as a single woman is over. It has died, making it pertinant that she went where the dead go. Eating Hades' seed, she became mortal and lost her innocence. Marriage is death.

Yet did the Greeks feel that marriage was just that? Was marriage nothing but death? What about the new life, the birth of a new you--a different you, obviously, but still you--that arises from marriage? I don't know, and research hasn't been as effective as I would like (see "Ancient Greek Wedding" and "Greek Marriage"), but I can't help but feel that death couldn't have been all. How could a culture flourish that equated morbidity with marriage?

Murnaghan, Sheila. "Introduction." Homeric Hymns. Sarah Ruden. Indianoapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, Inc, 2005. vii-xxiii.