Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Impossible One's

...and the master signifier. Who's leading this human horde?

In the Pan Indian philosophic thought the term 'Satyam Shivam Sundaram' is another name for the concept of the Supreme. 'Sat' is the truth value, 'Shiv' is the good value & 'Sundaram' is the beauty value. Man through his 'Srabana' or education, 'Manana' or experience and conceptualization and 'Sadhana' or practice, through different stages of life (Asramas) comes to form and realize the idea of these three values to develop a value system. This Value-system helps us to develop two basic ideas 1) that of 'Daksha' or the adept/expert and 2) of Mahana/Parama or the Absolute and thus to judge anything in this universe in the light of these two measures, known as 'Adarsha'. A person who has mastered great amounts of knowledge of the grammars, rules, & language of an art-form are adepts (Daksha), whereas those who have worked through the whole system and journeyed ahead of these to become a law unto themselves is called a Mahana. Individuals idea of 'Daksha' and 'Mahana' is relative to one's development of the concept of 'Satyam-Shivam-Sundaram.' For example, Tagore's idea of these two concepts should be way above any common man's and many perceive Tagore as a 'Mahana' Artist in the realm of literature. This concept of Satyam-Shivam-Sundaram, a kind of Value Theory is the cornerstone of Indian Aesthetics.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Ariadne... a Death in Reason, and Re-Birth in Intuition

...you may now approach the Pythia

Originally Ariadne was a vegetation goddess in Crete related to the other Cretan goddesses especially to Britomartis. Sometimes Ariadne was associated with the surname "Very Holy Maid," because her name is a variant of Ariagne from the Greek word àgni, which means "the most holy." Under this title -- àgni -- Aphrodite on Delos was honoured.

According to the Greek myths Ariadne was the daughter of the Cretan king Minos and his wife Pasiphae. The story about her life and death was narrated by many ways in the different regions, but in all of her legends she left Crete and she suffered terrible sorrow.

In the Odyssey is told that Ariadne was abducted and taken to the island of Dia where she died, because Artemis put her to death. According to the myth which was the most known, she fell in love with the Athenian hero Theseus, who was coming to Crete to kill the Minotaur and to rescue the Athenian youth. In the older version of the myth she was already the loved one of Dionysus, when Theseus came to Crete. Thus Ariadne helped Theseus by promising her to take her to Athens as his wife. She gave him two special gifts -- a sword and a clue of thread -- to find a way back from the Cnossian Labyrinth after killing the Minotaur.

As promised, she left Crete with Theseus and with the Athenian youth and they stopped on the island of Naxos. While Ariadne was asleep, in her dream (or in Theseus' dream?) the god Dionysus appeared on her and gave her a divine command to stay in Naxos, because he wanted to marry her. Interestingly, we know also some other versions, why Theseus deserted his sleeping Ariadne in Naxos: maybe he had already a new lover or he was afraid to bring Ariadne with him to Athens? So, Theseus with the rescued Athenian youth, but without Ariadne, sailed to Attica over Delos (a small island near Mykonos), where they performed some rites (a special dance) and dedicated the old statue of the goddess from Crete to the local sanctuary.

Ariadne; detail from a red-figured vase with the Minotaur. 4th century BCE, National Museum Athens. Ariadne in the meantime felt extremely unhappy, when Dionysus came to save her in Naxos. So, trying to make her feel better he put on her head a golden crown of Thetis, a work of Hephaestus. Nevertheless we have to mention that in the other version of the Ariadne-myth, she received this crown from Theseus (and not from Dionysus) as a gift of Amphitrite. After this gift Dionysus immediately married her. Short while after Ariadne gave birth to many famous children -- first of all to Staphylus, Thoas and Oenopion. The last two became the kings of the islands Lemnos and Chios and in some other versions of the myth they are represented as the sons of Theseus.

Another totally different version of this myth about Ariadne and Theseus is known to be originating from Cyprus. According to this story, the Cretans and the Athenians made an agreement about their friendship, which was ratified with the union of their crowns -- which means with the marriage of Ariadne and Theseus. After the long celebrations in Crete, the married couple sailed to Athens, but a storm pushed them to the shores of Cyprus. Ariadne was already in a high stage of pregnancy, so she stayed in Amathus on the island of Cyprus, but unfortunately she died on this place during her childbirth. She was buried there in a small grove called in her honour Aridela. It is also said that Ariadne never married Dionysus, on the contrary that he was angry with her and with Theseus, because they desecrated his cave in Naxos. Due to this reason the goddess Artemis killed Ariadne during her childbirth by her arrows.

But the Homeric report was giving a different explanation about her death when noted that Artemis felt pity for Ariadne and that she killed her because Ariadne was very unhappy without Theseus. According to the other version of the myth, Ariadne hung herself on a tree, fearing the anger of Artemis. Finally Pausanias is telling, that some people from Argos believed, that Ariadne who followed Dionysus to Argos, was buried there in an earthenware coffin in a shrine of Dionysus called "the Cretan."

The mythical stories about Ariadne refer to places of her influence and her worshipping. Her cult spread from Crete over the islands Naxos, Delos, Cyprus, Chios, Lemnos to Athens and Peloponnes, specially Argos. Due to her influence over the islands she was sometimes named "the sea woman." This title was used for her in Argos. On the contrary, in Amathus (Cyprus) she was worshipped as Aphrodite-Ariadne.

The cult of Ariadne consisted of a ceremonial dance, the orgiastic rites and some lamentations. In the Iliad, Homer mentioned the Ariadne's dancing place (choros) prepared by the craftsman Daedalus in the Cnossian Palace. According to the Delian myth the famous Cretan Crane Dance was performed for the first time on the island of Delos by rescued youth, who were travelling with Theseus from Crete to Athens. So, this dance and image of Ariadne played always an important role in the cult on Delos. Also some vase painters depicted Ariadne in a context with dancing. There is a supposition that this ceremonial dance was a part of the collective marriage ritual for marrying couples.

The Ariadne's cult on Naxos was performed also with the orgiastic rites (like the festivals of joy) together with lamentations and expressions of sorrow (like during funeral ceremonies). In Amathus the sacrifices were brought in honour of Ariadne and at this place a special cult was practised in which a young man was simulating the pains of a woman giving childbirth with some screaming. Ariadne was also remembered in the Athenian festival The Oschophoria (celebration in honour of Theseus) and in the other Athenian festival The Anthesteria (performed in honour of Dionysus) as the wife of both of these two protagonists.

A few Greek vase-painters depicted the Ariadne's life or Ariadne with Dionysus accompanied by satyrs and maenads on numerous vases from between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. Her tragic fate was expressed in the famous melancholic head created in the second part of the 4th century BCE. actually in the National Museum of Athens. Also the Roman copy of a Hellenistic work in the Vatican museums named "The Sleeping Ariadne," the relief "Theseus and Ariadne" from the 2nd century in the collection of the Capitol Museum in Rome, the fresco "Wedding of Ariadne and Dionysus" in the Villa dei Mysteri in Pompeji and the mosaics with the same theme from the museums in Thesaloniki (Greece) and Bardo (Tunesia) are between the most important artistic works representing this subject.

Concluding, we can say that Ariadne represented a tragic heroine figure in all the different versions of her myth. Therefore we can also understand that she was suffering from a terrible dilemma, namely between her wish for happiness and the obligation to obey to a divine command. Due to this internal fight, she felt a great sorrow and suffered death in so many different ways. With her influence over the islands we can relate her personage to the Cretan goddess Britomartis. In some parts of her myths, there is clear evidence that she is closely associated to the Greek goddess Aphrodite. Finally, Ariadne's cult was performed in different ways on various places and consisted of Cretan features mixed with some local rituals as well as with some orgiastic aspects, used during the celebrations of Dionysus.
John Collier, "Priestess of Delphi" (1891)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

...and So Another Spectator Joins the Crowd

...but to what purpose?
looking for self-reflections manifest upon the stage... but seeing none and after being thrown from the stage, we now rinse and repeat

Sunday, December 16, 2012

American Politicians - Channeling Pentheus

Scarce had I crossed our borders, when mine ear
Was caught by this strange rumour, that our own
Wives, our own sisters, from their hearths are flown
To wild and secret rites; and cluster there
High on the shadowy hills, with dance and prayer
To adore this new-made God, this Dionyse,
Whate'er he be!—And in their companies
Deep wine-jars stand, and ever and anon
Away into the loneliness now one
Steals forth, and now a second, maid or dame,
Where love lies waiting, not of God! The flame,
They say, of Bacchios wraps them. Bacchios! Nay,
'Tis more to Aphrodite that they pray.
Howbeit, all that I have found, my men
Hold bound and shackled in our dungeon den;
The rest, I will go hunt them! Aye, and snare
My birds with nets of iron, to quell their prayer
And mountain song and rites of rascaldom!

-Euripides, "The Bacchae"

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Finding Beauty and Power in the Hidden Realm "Beyond Necessity"

One more text from the mythologists is to the same purpose, — Beauty rides on a lion. Beauty rests on necessities. The line of beauty is the result of perfect economy. The cell of the bee is built at that angle which gives the most strength with the least wax; the bone or the quill of the bird gives the most alar strength, with the least weight. "It is the purgation of superfluities," said Michel Angelo. There is not a particle to spare in natural structures. There is a compelling reason in the uses of the plant, for every novelty of color or form: and our art saves material, by more skilful arrangement, and reaches beauty by taking every superfluous ounce that can be spared from a wall, and keeping all its strength in the poetry of columns. In rhetoric, this art of omission is a chief secret of power, and, in general, it is proof of high culture, to say the greatest matters in the simplest way.
- Emerson, "Conduct of Life" (On Beauty)
The feet of beauty rest upon the back of necessity

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Metamorphic Tales

My dear one, the jewel of my eye, Sleep my dear precious one. You are the peacock, the dancing peacock, You are the koel, the singing koel, You are the moon, light of the moon, You are the eyelid, dreams that wait on the eyelids. Rararo…Rararo… Rararo…Rararo… You are the flower, nectar of the flower You are the fruit, sweetness of the fruit. Rararo…Rararo…
Life of Pi is a story about struggling to survive through seemingly insurmountable odds. The shipwrecked inhabitants of the little lifeboat don’t simply acquiesce to their fate: they actively fight against it. Pi abandons his lifelong vegetarianism and eats fish to sustain himself. Orange Juice, the peaceful orangutan, fights ferociously against the hyena. Even the severely wounded zebra battles to stay alive; his slow, painful struggle vividly illustrates the sheer strength of his life force. As Martel makes clear in his novel, living creatures will often do extraordinary, unexpected, and sometimes heroic things to survive. However, they will also do shameful and barbaric things if pressed.

Spellbound's Designer Dreams

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Rather Death than Shame

Salvador Dali, "Basket of Bread" (1945)
from Wikipedia
Dalí writes in the Bignou Gallery of New York catalogue that he painted Basket of Bread in two months, when "the most staggering and sensational episodes of contemporary history took place" and finished "one day before the end of the war".

The painting's subtitle "Rather Death than Shame" takes on special significance during this time period. The basket is precariously situated on the edge of the uncovered table, against a starkly black backdrop, an omen to its own sacrificial destruction.

Adolf Hitler, a well-recorded subject by Dalí, chose death rather than the inevitable shame of capture on April 30, 1945. In Dali's essay, "The Conquest of the Irrational" written in 1935, Dali speaks of a "moral hunger" of the modern age that the German people sought relief through Hitler and National Socialism. Dali writes that Hitler’s followers were "systematically cretinized by machinism" and "ideological disorder", to which they "seek in vain to bite into the senile and triumphant softness of the plump, atavistic, tender, militaristic, and territorial back of any Hitlerian nursemaid." Further, this "irrational hunger is placed before a cultural dining table on which are found only ... cold and insubstantial leftovers." Hitler portrayed as the heel of a loaf of bread, on the edge of a precipice, sums up Dali's opinion of Hitler and his ultimate demise.

The painting was also said by Dali to have been painted the week the atomic bombs fell on Japan. "My objective was to arrive at the immobility of the pre-explosive object", Dali reveals. Taken in the context of the Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, "Rather Death than Shame" could also mean that it's better to have died a victim than bear the shame of having dropped the bombs.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'
Mathew 4:1-4

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone."
Luke 4:1-4
..."Thou wouldst go into the world, and art going with empty hands, with some promise of freedom which men in their simplicity and their natural unruliness cannot even understand, which they fear and dread- for nothing has ever been more insupportable for a man and a human society than freedom. But seest Thou these stones in this parched and barren wilderness? Turn them into bread, and mankind will run after Thee like a flock of sheep, grateful and obedient, though for ever trembling, lest Thou withdraw Thy hand and deny them Thy bread."...
Fyodor Dostoevsky, "The Brothers Karamazov"

Salvador Dali, "The Enigma of Hitler" (1939)

Dali's Destino