Oedipus (a communication failure)
I (BMcC[18-11-46-503]) had a lot of text here about Oedipus, which can now be found at: DeadMaterial.html#Oed.
O. Henry story: The pathetic of the Magi (another communication failure)
Not all myths are from ancient peoples. I believe there is an O. Henry story (1905CE) about a male who shows his
love for a female by selling his gold watch to buy her an ornament for her hair, while, in parallel, the female sells her long hair to buy an ornament for the male's watch. Similar to Œdipus, this is an instance of massively destructive communication failure: Had
the two confided their intentions to each other before acting on them, they could have both savored their
ethereal love and also retained their worldly treasures, instead of
There is a broader issue here: altruism. If do unto others as you would have them do unto you, if each person sacrificed themself for another, everybody would self-destruct (self-sacrifice) and no good would be done for anyone because there would no longer be anyone to benefit. How about this instead: For each person, get your own human needs met and then have so much to be grateful for that you will want to give back your surplus of blessedness to benefit others? That would be a win-win, and everyone would be elevated. I have quoted a magisterial statement by psychoanalyst Melanie Klein on this point elsewhere: here.
The parents of the two characters in this O. Henry story are indicted in The Hague on the charge of brainwashing children (aka: sentimentality). How do they plead? Not guilty, by reason of themselves having been childreared (ref.: Alice Miller's books, passim; a variant of insanity defense). +2022.12.04 I have added a One Act play about this: here.
• Table of Contents
• O. Henry's Magi
• Helen of Troy
• The Tower of Babel
• Abraham and Isaac
• In the matter of Job
• Adam and Evil
• Ave Maria
• Joy to the world!
Why didn't somebody just shoot the damned bitch and put everybody out of her misery? Was she any more worth fighting a World War over than Archduke Ferdinand in the early 20th Century CE? Did she write the Iliad? Was she Pericles? Thales? Archimedes? Hannah Arendt? Georgia O'Keeffe? Or just a pretty face and/or a nice figure, a dumb blonde? Suitors = the auction block. No woman who lets herself be sold to the highest bidder can be worth much, can she? Old joke (source lost; Hennny Youngman?): "Your money or your wife!" "Take her!"
Noncombatants are always getting all sentimental and patriotic over miscellaneous stuff, and their maudlin faux-heroic selflessly selfish pseudo-emotions cause trouble for innocent third parties. For instance, in 2022, I have no interest at all in Mr. Alexei Navalny who gave up a safe life in The West where he could have ranted to his heart's content about the current Russian political regime, after Vladimir Putin once almost succeeded in murdering him and we saved him. He has a burr up his ass about Mr. Putin and he wants to elicit sympathy from bleeding heart liberals 💗 here in the West by getting Mr. Putin to harm him again. Why not let him get what he wants? But please, all you selflessly selfish people, leave me and anybody else who wants no part of his
martyrdom masochism out of it. Have fun bleeding your soft hearts 💗, but don't share your wealth with persons like me who don't want to shed our blood for your personal predilictions. Keep them to yourselfs: Go play a video game and shoot down pixelated death stars or whatever.
+2023.03.01. The Tower of Babel has been moved to a new, separate page
There is also the story of Abraham. G-d decided to sit down for cocktails at the Harvard or Yale Club with his bosom buddy Satan and the two made a little gentlemanly bet -- no, that was Job. Back to Abraham: G-d, sort of like the Catholic Church Inquisition was later wont to do, decided to test Abraham. G-d commanded him [Abraham] to murder his son. Abraham passed the test but G-d had the decency to cut the experiment short before the poor little boy would have prematurely met his Maker.
I see two crimes here: (1) G-d should not have tested Abraham that way. That's GPU / Stasi / CIA / etc. stuff, unworthy of Omnipotent transparency. But (2) Abraham flunked the test of being fully and honorifically human (in the 21st Century CE, United States Republican senators would fail a similar test from their less-than omnipotent Deity). Abraham could have responded to his G-d: "G-d, Sir, as a commissioned officer in the human species (rank: Patriarch), I respectfully submit that I cannot obey your unlawful order. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. You will do with me what You will. I apologize to You, who I know made me and everything else. But I will not be a traitor." Who knows what would have happened after that? It certainly would have taken "guts" on the part of "our boy". In our time, the Chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff has stood up to his (POTUS №45) rTump (albeit even had (POTUS №45) Trump fired him he would probably still get his pension and lecture fees and a consulting gig somewhere -- unless (POTUS №45) Trump tried to get him tried for treason, i.e., disloyalty to (POTUS №45) Trump). What do you think, here, my reader?
And the Angel of the Lord spake to Abraham a second time: "Abraham! You wretched man! God has tested you and you have failed the test. You obeyed an unlawful order. You are not fit to lead your people. Know that, upon your death, you are going to Hell forever."
One fine afternoon in Heaven, G-d sat down down for cocktails at the Harvard (or was it the Yale?) Club with his bosom buddy Satan, and Satan proposed a little gentlemanly bet, say, to pay the bar bill for the day: Satan called G-d's attention to the righteous man, Job, and bet that they could make Job curse G-d if they tormented Job sufficiently. G-d liked the little experiment, and said to Satan that it was a deal. So poor righteous mortal Job got tested.
Unlike the Biblical story, this Job wasn't having any part of it. Just in time before he lost all his worldly goods, Job hired a lawyer. He petitioned for a restraining order, and sued for punitive damages for theft, mental cruelty and other felonies. Ah, my reader, you are right if you here think: But what court could Job appeal to, since G-d is the Chief Judge of the Supreme Court of All Creation, and He is immune from indictment so long as He holds this office, which of course, is forever? I agree with you. And so this rehabilition of the myth of Job ends here, with poor Job no longer disposing over the means to be righteous, covered with boils and in other ways afflicted. Sancho Panza said: There is no pain to which death does not bring an end. Question: Who won the gentlemen's bet?
"The proposition that the entire human race -- consisting of enormous hordes of humanity -- would be placed seriously in danger of a fiery eternity characterized by unspeakable torments purely because a man disobeyed a deity by eating a piece of fruit offered him by his wife is inherently incredible." (Steve Allen)
I had not thought about reconstructing the Story of Adam and Eve/Evil, but a Wikipedia search for who was the interviewer on "Witness to yesterday" (a TV program with interviews of interesting dead persons) sent me to Steve Allen and there I found the wonderful above quote. Steve Allen not an ordinary suburban lawn-mower Christian? Another example of how I was deprived in my childrearing of what was good in America at the time (1950's) -- a childrearing that taught me there was nothing worth anything (with a very few exceptions; one thing I was deprived of was the ability to much appreciate anything even if it was good). Also note that by "Eve/Evil" I am not implying that Adam's incestuous wife did anything wrong (nor that Adam and Eve's relationship was in any way wrong -- their Deity set them up). I am simply connecting the Deity with Evil. The Deity mistreated His creations (Adam and Eve).
Artists and craftspersons do not generally deface their work (in the present case, Deity kicking Adam and Eve out of The Garden of Eden, et sequelae) unless they are frustrated about something. What else could the Creator of All Things be frustrated about except Himself? Ah! The story of Adam and Eve is yet another invisible elephant in the room, which normative ethno-childrearing causes persons to not see.
Ave María: Dios te Salve María, llena eres de Gracia, el Señor esté contigo, bendita eres entre todas las mujeres y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre, Jesús. Santa María, Madre de Dios, ruega Señora por nosotros los pecadores, ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte. [Especially in the current time of Covid-19 pandemic.]
Áve María, grátia pléna, Dóminus técum. Benedícta tū in muliéribus, et benedíctus frúctus véntris túi, Iésus.
Sáncta María, Máter Déi, óra pro nóbis peccatóribus, nunc et in hóra mórtis nóstrae. Ámen. [Ditto supra.]
"I'm working ... my a** off on the Christmas stuff, that you know, who gives a f*** about the Christmas stuff and decorations? But I need to do it, right?" ((FLOTUS №45)
Melanoma Melania Trump, cited on CNN, 02Oct20)
What's the lesson(s) to be learned from all these myths? I think that our entire heritage of symbolic forms and symbols themselves needs to be seen/constantly reappropriated as a vast semiotic smorgasbord for individual/shared education and play (a place to study). "Take what you like and leave the rest."(Al-Anon dictum)
Maybe there is or maybe there is not a Santa Claus, but, in any case, we can consider him as semiotic raw material. Ah! We are adults and we do not believe in Santa Claus! What about circumcision, you august European/American university educated adult ladies and gentlemen?
The problems in/with the myths is that persons are childreared (or even: college educated!) into what -- I just love this diagnosis -- Wilfred Bion called shared hallucinoses aka social psychoses aka social customs. All social customs, be they evil or good -- FGM or Congressional Medals of Honor -- need to be ever again revisited and reappropriated (or done away with, etc.) because they are all just accidents of fate.
If an abolitionist had exited the birth canal in South Carolina, he might well have become a slave holder. Douglas MacArthur's CMH? I seem to have read that he was given it as a PR move to avert public discouragement after he [MacArthur] had botched managing the U.S. Phillipine contingent before the Japanese attacked at the start of the Pacific War (World War II). In June 2020, people seem to be fawning over the Reverend Al Sharpton. OK, but let us remember Tawana Brawley holed up in her garbage can [Correction: it was a garbage bag, not can] -- if that isn't a piece of semiosis, what is? Oscar the Grouch lived in a trash can, but he was a good guy and also fiction and he didn't lie to get innocent folks arrested for putting him there. Reflection is the accident that overcomes accidentality. Reflection lets the cat out of the bag. Meow!
"Was man made for the Sabbath, or was the Sabbath made for man?" That is the question. I vote for the
latter, for Matisse luxe, calme et volupté, not "Dulce et decorum est" and hurry up and get your gas masks on, boys! Been there, done that (ok, just "prep school"). I personally don't like it. Come out in the open,
all ye believers in miserating social customs! Fess up and admit you are the real killjoys,
and not only put us out of your misery but also get healthy and yourselves enjoy what time you have left
on this side of the ground while you still have some! "But we have been mutilated ourselves and we
are no longer capable of pleasure." That's genuinely unfortunate. Yes, you
executioners are victims too. So, I speculate, also was Adolf Eichmann, and, for sure,
Adolf Hitler, in whose childhood home the father mistreated everybody except the family's dog.
Maybe science and philosophy (psychoanalysis,
reconstructive surgery, etc.) can help you. We can try in our work/free time. Again, my reader,
what do you think? And, again again, thank you for