Ah...The Symposium.

By Anselm Feuerbach in 1869


I particularly enjoyed Aristophanes speech in Plato’s Symposium. The idea that we were all once connected was sweet and it made sense as to why we would want to find the person we were connected to again. They’re our soul mates. Our other halves. They’re the ones that we connect with the most on the levels that count.

Aristophane speaks,
"After the division the two parts of man, each desiring his other half, came together, and threw their arms about one another eager to grow into one, and would have perished form hunger without ever making an effort, because they did not like to do anything apart; and when one of the halves died and the other survived, the survivor sought another mate, whether the section of an entire man or of an entire woman, which had usurped the name of man and woman, and clung to that." (16-17)

It's heart wrenching to imagine two beings so torn apart from each other trying to cling to one another in order to be one being. What they must feel. It seems painful to even think about needing to be one like that and not being able to achieve it.

In response to Aristophane's speech, I wondered how many of us have gone through life without finding our other halves? You hear about it all the time; the break-ups, separations, and divorce. Do all of these things happen because you were deceived by the itching in your shoulder blades? Do they happen because who you thought was your other half, really wasn’t? And in those cases, is there really someone else out there you should be searching for?

It’s kind of always been a fascination of mine. If soul mates are real, what happens when they have miles and miles of ocean and land between them? Do they go through this life miserable because they never meet their other half or does fate and circumstance eventually bring them together for a happy ending? Or do they maybe find each other in their next lives? I’m curious.


Erastes and Eromenos

So I researched the topic of the Erastes and the Eromenos a little bit and it’s quite an interesting topic. I saw it as a teacher/student relationship with a little sex on the side.

The erastes is the older, experienced guy who pursues the young man who would play the role of the eromenos. The erastes would provide an education and the eromenos would have to allow the sexual advances of the erastes. There's a lot of certain specifications to follow in order for the relationship to be considered good.

The education involves philosophy, music, athletics, and military and probably a few more things.

Pretty sweet setup. Haha.

Here’s a couple links to check out if you want more information.
I found the entire topic intriguing.



Links To All 3 Short Stories

I thought I would help make it easier on everyone and post all the links to the stories Dr. Sexson recommended we read.

I remembered this being listed on MSU's e-reserves when I took the required seminar class my first semester, and, lo and behold, it's still on there.

A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud. by Carson McCullers.

Enjoy! ♥


Study Guide-Quiz I

Here is the Study Guide for Quiz I on Friday, Feb. 20.

1. Define Hubris.
Pride, arrogance

2.What are the Eleusinian Mysteries?
Initiation ceremonies

A. What was done?
A reenactment of the abduction of Persephone.

B. What was said?
“Rain conceives.”

C. What was shown?
A grain of wheat or an ear of corn.

3. Name the 5 Steiner Conflicts of Antigone in order.
Men & Women
Age & Youth
Society & Individual
Living & Dead
Men & Gods

4. What is an epithet?
A nickname or handle.

Give an example.
“Trim ankles” for Persephone or “Argus-killer” for Hermes.

5. Which 2 characters exemplify most of the 5 Steiner conflicts?
Creon and Antigone

6. What is stichomythia?
A rapid succession of one liners. Think of two rappers in a rap competition.

7. What is sparagmos?
The tearing or shredding of living flesh.

8. Define anthropocentric in context of Greek tragedy:
Human centered; humans are gifts of Gods. Reveres the resistance to the Gods.

9. Define miasma:
Pollution; implied curse over a land because of improper treatment of the dead.

10. From the introduction of Sophocles’ Antigone:
A. Be able to define Antigone's view of politics.
B. The notion of a moving target.
C. The meaning of Creon's name.

11. What is the Myth of the Eternal Return?
Everything important will happen again.

12. According to the popular TV show Family Guy, which character is most like Hermes?

13. Thoreau said, “Read not the ____. Read the _____.”
Times; Eternities

14. Who took one “who dwells above and tossed her below”?
Creon and Zeus

15. What is In Illo Tempore?
In the great time.

16. Which 2 (or 3) mythological figures are polytropic?
Hermes, Odysseus, (and Alcibiades)

17. Who are the 3 great tragedians?
Euripides, Sophocles, and Aeschylus

18. Who is the God of crossroads?

19. What does agon mean?
Adversative; conflict; agony

20. All that is ____ possesses the ____.
Past; Present

21. What are 2 of the best things that can happen to us according to the Chorus of Antigone?
The first best thing is to never be born, the second best thing is to die.

22. Sarvam ____&____.
“All is suffering, all is fleeting.”

23. What does Antigone’s name mean?

24. What injury does Oedipus suffer when he was an infant?
His ankles are bolted.

25. Which 2 words did Hermes demonstrate his innocence with?
“I was born yesterday.”

26. What did Robert Johnson do at the crossroads?
Sold his soul to the devil so he could play guitar.

27. Why do we laugh according to Sigmund Freud?
In order not to cry.

28. What does it mean to make something anagogic?
To place it above the earthly and into the spiritual/heavenly realm.

29. What is senex?
An old man. (An old impotent man; senator)

And don't forget to go over your notes, read the introduction of Antigone and Homeric Hymns, and read the Steiner text. Good Luck!!



So I think the chorus of Antigone is wrong when they say the second best thing is to die and the first best thing is to have never been born.

Sure, the world is full of suffering, but it's also full of life and new discoveries. I say the best thing is to live life and make it through the suffering. Everything in this world is beautiful in one way or another and it would be a horrible thing to never experience any of it. Our world is so full of things it would take a thousand lifetimes to see it all. Nature is ever growing and expanding as well as our human society. We're always coming up with new inventions and ideas. The natural world around us changes and becomes beautiful with every new stage it develops in to.

To not see any of these changes and experience them first-hand would be the worst thing. Life is filled with suffering so that we can understand the beauty all around us. If everything was just fine and dandy all the time, we wouldn't know it. Those wonderful things we experience every day wouldn't be wonderful if we had not known something worse.

Therefore, the second best thing is to live and the first best thing is to suffer.



...And Bingo Was His Name-o

Actually, it wasn't Bingo, his name was Lucky.

The NAVY stationed my father in San Diego, California when I was about 5 years old and he had taken up a night patrol position for a second job. One very late night--or early morning--my mother came in to wake me up.

"Come downstairs, there's a suprise waiting for you," she told me.

I rolled out of bed and precariously made my way down the stairs to see my dad standing there with a smile on his face. I didn't really understand why he was home until he directed my attention to the dirty, hairy beast sitting next to him.

My dad told me the story of how was out on his rounds near the interstate and happened to see this mangy mutt trying to cross the road. The dog seemed to be attracted to the oncoming traffic and was almost hit several times. He didn't have a collar on and looked pretty unkept, so my father decided to load him up in the backseat of his patrol car and bring him home for the night.

I suppose if you got passed all the disgustingly dirty, matted fur, the dog was kind of cute. Once the sun had risen and all the other, normal people had woken up and gone to work, my dad came home and we made a few phone calls to the animal shelters and pounds to see if any of them had heard about this missing dog. Nobody claimed him, though.

We took Lucky, the name I gave to the lucky son-of-a-gun, to get his shots and some nice salon treatment. After a good bath and a hair cut, he didn't look like the same mutt as before; he actually looked like a dog, even though to this day I don't know exactly what breed he was. He had white hair and very emotional eyes and a cute, mischevious grin. :D He was a real sweety.

We kept Lucky for the remaining year we lived in San Diego and our move to Bremerton, Washington. We'd gotten lucky and found an out of the way place with a huge yard for him to play in. I was given a couple of kittens (Squeaker and Sweetpea) for my 8th Birthday and he just loved them. He even made friends with the never-on-a-leash female dog named Missy. *wink wink* She belonged to a boy around my age that lived across the street. I'd made a few friends as well, but something happened to Lucky. His behavior started changing; he got more and more defensive of our house and his area, and he was getting a lot more aggressive. The real indicator was when I had a friend coming over to visit. She rode down the street from her house on her bike and had gotten into our driveway when Lucky tore down our front steps and attacked her. He bit down to the bone.

We figured maybe it was just a one time deal, and if we disciplined him enough about being so defensive, he wouldn't attack anyone anymore. We thought he'd gotten better, until the little boy from across the street came to look for his dog. Missy was up on our porch being cozy with Lucky in his dog bed. Lucky didn't like the intrusion and attacked the boy. The boy had to be taken to the emergency room, but luckily the damage wasn't bad. The parents of the boy did demand that something be done about Lucky, though.

They couldn't actually press charges for the attack because it was on our property and he had been on a leash, they demanded that our dog be put down. We were already puzzled about Lucky's behavior and weren't sure what more we could do to control him, so we took him to the vet. We were told that he might have developed behavioral problems from his past and that there was really no telling what he could be capable of next. My parents made the heartbreaking decision to put Lucky to sleep.

It was a very sad time for me, because he had been my first pet and I loved him dearly. I had never had a problem with him being aggressive towards me and because I was so young, I didn't really understand what the problem was. He was my sweet Lucky.

I haven't had a dog since, and after we put Lucky down, Sweetpea ran away. :(

That was actually my first experience of death. Before that, I knew of the concept of death, but I never actually understood the true feeling of loss. Even though it was only a dog, and not a parent, aunt/uncle, or a sibling like Antigone lost, it was still heart wrenching.

Antigone lost both of her brothers and the emotional anguish she must have felt was directing her actions. The insult of her brother, Polyneices, insulted her and her grieving. Of course she would want to break all the rules to break Creon's law and bury her brother. She couldn't let him (his body, anyway) suffer, no matter what he may be accused of. She was ready for the consequences of her actions and didn't back down or betray her true sense of morality.

Besides, we wouldn't have the great, tragic story of Antigone if she had followed the rules.

"You are remembered for the rules you break."
-General Douglas MacArthur


Imagining the sacred?

So this is sadly my first blog for this class. I’ve been strangely unmotivated to collect my thoughts in an organized manner. After listening to Dr. Sexson each class, my head is buzzing with new insight and ideas, but I just don’t know what to do with it all. There are so many things I’d love to talk about, but that would make this entry a bazillion miles long; something I’m sure none of you would have the time or patience to read.

A lot of quotes are thrown around in each class and the other day, one really stood out to me. I’m not sure of the exact wording, but it went a little like “things are not sacred in themselves; imagination is what makes them sacred.” Now, how true is that?

I grew up in a Catholic family and I know there are a lot of rituals and items that are considered sacred or holy. Each thing has to be handled in a certain ceremonial way or it could be deemed sacrilegious (blasphemy or the violation or injurious treatment of a sacred object). I’m not saying that we shouldn’t treat relics with care or that we should desecrate all the sacred items we can find, but I’m curious as to what would really happen if we deviated from the rituals. What kind of bad things would ensue? Is it really that big of a deal?

Go ahead, commit a sacrilege against what you believe in.

But really, if you think about it, sacred things and ritual are what keeps chaos out of our world. We need order and a belief system to keep us in line, no matter what those beliefs may be. We need to believe in something so that we have something to look forward to. Our dreams and goals are all linked together with what we believe can and will happen. If we have nothing to believe in and no hope for our future then why are we here? Why are we alive?

We hold objects as sacred or special because they have meaning. There is a memory behind each revered object that makes it special. In certain religions there are relics and crosses and other items that are considered sacred because they have meaning; there is a story behind each thing. In Christianity, a cross can be symbolic of the crucifixion of Christ just like a necklace can symbolize a past excursion that made a real impression on you.

I had the opportunity to go on a trip to France and Spain the summer after my junior year in high school and I bought a necklace at a random boutique. It was just a small store in one of the many towns we stopped in and while the necklace itself is pretty, there isn’t anything special about it. It’s just a sparkly flower with some gemstones hanging off it like teardrops. I don’t wear it much, if at all because I look at it and think, “Now really, what can I wear that won’t make this look terribly gaudy?” but it’s special to me because it reminds me of all the fun I had on that trip with two of my best friends. In its own way, the necklace is sacred to me– – I don’t worship it, but it’s symbolic of my belief that I will be able to go back to Europe someday.

And I did get another chance to go to Europe last summer (2008) to France and Italy, I just hope to keep traveling. It really is amazing to see other countries and learn about different cultures. :)