Monday, February 22, 2010

What's On Your Wrist?

Our lives are filled with more myths than we can even imagine.

DB - The Vagabond
Think of going to the supermarket, purchasing a few cans of food and a couple of boxes of cereal. Think of bringing them home and putting them on the shelf. Then think of taking them off the shelf everyday, reading the labels but never opening the box and pouring out the cereal or opening the cans to get at the fruits and vegetables

If you think that's stupid, you're right. But now think about all the ideas and theories you've bought, that reside nicely on your mental shelf, that you never open up to inspect and enjoy or discard. Think of the brainy little trinkets you carry with you like items on a charm bracelet that you've picked up from here and there and which you never look at.

When the ancient Greeks went to the theatre they already knew the plot. All of their plays were based on Homeric legends every school kid grew up with. Each play was reaching into the story to extract more wisdom and understanding.

Why didn't the Greeks get bored? Because those myths and legends struck at the heart of their lives. They still do. Sisyphus's task was to push a heavy rock up to the top of a hill only to see it slip and roll back down to the bottom. Endless, pointless labor. How are you doing with your rock? Damocles was forced to dine with a sharpened sword hanging over his head by a single hair. The knowledge of everpresent danger. .

Myths have morals but they don't have morality. They can help us to be careful about many things but they can also lead us in directions that are injurious or wasteful. Does holding a wooden clothes pin in your mouth really keep you from weeping when you chop an onion? Do you still put butter on a burn instead of cold water? Do you still keep your bananas out of the refrigerator so they can spoil faster? Some people still wound or mutilate themselves to bring them closer to God. In some places they search for aphrodisiacs in Rhinoceros horns. Somewhere in Africa they think having sex with a virgin cures Aids.

On the other hand Plato's famous Myth of the Cave has great lessons to learn. On the simplest terms it teaches us that we spend most of our lives looking at the shadows instead of the realities. That's a lesson of profound importance and benefit for all of us.

Check out the charms on your bracelet. Examine your ideas and theories. How many of them are myths or based on myths and are they good ones or bad ones?

DB - The Vagabond
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DB - The Vagabond


Mr.Mischief said...

Wow...this does give me things to ponder for sure...

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Examining our mental shelf occassionaly is a great idea. I need to work on that a bit.

Bohemian Cowboy said...

I have a chain around my neck that has three 'charms'. Two of them are St. Christophers', one of them with St. Genesius on the reverse side. The third charm is a 'congi' symbol that was given to me by someone whose life I had saved, it means 'bravery and valor'. I look and remember their meanings whenever I shave or brush my teeth. i have always thought that theatre had wonderful superstitious rituals, if anyone ever uttered 'Macbeth' in the theatre, they were always required to go outside, spin three times and spit to remove the curse. As for the myths from the Greeks, mythology was always one of my favorite classes, the greeks really knew something about our basic natures. I can always go to a Greek play or a Shakespearean play no matter how many times I've seen it. Each time, I find something more about myself. DB, I so enjoy your comments and your blog, I'm definitely paying attention and learning so much... thank you for writing, its being read, again and again...

krissy knox said...

DB, this post gives me a lot to ponder. Wow, I probably have quite a few charms on my bracelet. At one point I felt I knew quite a few things, and perhaps I did, but I think that gave me the excuse to feel that I didn't need to search just where I was getting it wrong. Then one day my eyes were more opened, and I could see a lot of where I was unelightened, or as you put it, I saw my "charms on my bracelet." Fortunately I have been able to see a lot and overcome a lot of what I was blind to. I did not only see some wrong ideas in my life, but also took action, which made my life much better, productive and exciting. I only look forward to the future to see what it has in store for me. Thanks for a great post, DB, and for inspiring us!

krissy knox :)
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