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Showing posts from September 9, 2018

We are all Narcissus (part 2)

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Narcissus was about 15 when his adoring mother asked Tiresias, famous for his prophecies, if her son would live to a ripe old age. Tiresias answered in his cryptic way, that old age was within reach if the boy would never recognise himself. Otherwise put, if he would remain totally oblivious of his own appearance.

Why was the mother so keen on probing the future? Was she anxious that her son’s beauty would give rise to jealousy in others, potential rivals in a girl’s affections? This seems to be the most linear explanation, but something is missing.

Did the mother keep the boy away from anything that would reflect back his image? Ovid’s Metamorphoses do not provide any clue. All we know is that Narcissus kept rejecting any amorous advances, spurred by an ego that could not find anyone satisfactory enough.

Hubris never went unpunished in the Classical world and Narcissus was no exception. At the end of a hunt, his thirst made him stop by the clearest of spot of water that had ever exi…

We are all Narcissus (part 1)

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How can anyone not be fascinated by the origin of words? Half of misunderstandings and miscommunication would disappear. The other half would be sorted out painlessly, usually round dinner tables or in cafes.

Take photography for instance, and its fast-growing progeny, photos. Thank heavens for digital photography, otherwise the end of the world could come from a deluge of photo prints. 
Dictionaries tell us that 'photography' comes from two Greek words which, taken together, mean "drawing with light'.
It is such a delicate, almost diaphanous combination. Unfortunately, the weightless, imponderable nature of photography is not felt beyond its name.
Once it's taken, a photo becomes the object of continuous scrutiny and if it is a portrait, or just a snapshot, recriminations and self-abuse follow.
"You should have told me you're taking a photo", "I told you I didn’t like my photo taken', "Let me put on some make-up", "I look aw…

Mobile-friendly not

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A very short blog post, as befits the non-mobile friendly template. Honest, I would have thought that in this day and age, whenever inspiration takes us, we can just let run free and wild. Not on mobile.


Mourning becomes us

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I don't know how to write about death without using words which have already been exhausted by intensive use.
I don't want to be original either,  it would be a terrible act of self-indulgence and ultimately psychopathic behaviour.
For short, I have no idea how to express what I feel whenever I hear of someone's death, especially when it is someone close.



Am I saddened by their fate or mine? The realisation that someone is no longer within reach, be it remotely, always comes as a surprise.  It is hitting the same nerve, imaginary or not, that never learns.
Sudden deprivation, loss of a certainty, however vague and infrequently remembered, fear of one's own inevitable death?

No, fear is not the right word, although it has been mentioned by many as the dominant emotion when confronted with news off someone's demise.
There must be something different, heavily tinged, at times, with the guilt of not having made that phone call or visit.

Pre-death behaviour determines a…

Cats, humans and rules

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Papa Hemingway did not like long sentences. He disliked long paragraphs too. So I'll be brief.
Cats should set an example for humans and police the way the latter behave.
Cats turn up on your doorstep when they feel like it, are hungry or just lonely.
Would you begrudge a cat for infrequent appearances?
If you do, the cat will walk away and look for a friendlier face. They are always hedging their bets.
Jordan Peterson makes it Rule number 12 for life: pet a cat when you encounter one.
QED.

Bridge of expectations

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It happens again and again. We call a friend or a relative. We are in neutral mode and do not anticipate a wave of bad mood swirling its way towards us.
In the past we engaged and ended up heavily bruised. Now we think we know better and breathe in before we try to move on the conversation. It doesn't work. We bail out, cowardly.
The only source of relief is found after scurrying towards some Stoic quotes. Epitectus has an answer for the pressing question: who or what is pulling my strings? Anything that we set out our heart on or want to avoid has the controls of our inner peace. Bit pathetic, really. Expectations are our masters. If every encounter involves as much mental preparation as going into a war zone, no wonder some prefer infrequent human contact and even give it up completely. Stoics advise against isolation though. Resilience needs scars and battles won, so that it is a badge of honour rather than a genetic gift.
No wonder human interaction has been steadily moving i…