Tuesday, January 5, 2010

© Eso Antons Benjamins, a.k.a. Jaņdžs

70 Climbing Mt. Citheron (III)

For anyone who has been away from home for a long time, returning home ought to lead through the ‘old home’ first, because the ‘new’ old home is never the same as the old home was. The problem for human kind for this kind of maneuver, however, has been that a journey to the ‘old home’ necessarily leads through the past and a forest of lies and misconceptions about what the old home looked like. The lies and misconceptions of course have been sown by those who are at the wheels of power now or were anytime between the ‘old’ times and now. In other words, there is no such thing as returning home, though you are welcome to try and find out for yourself.

Lewis Carroll’s famous story “Alice in Wonderland” may be read as an allegory of Alice wishing to visit the old home of her immigrant parents. Alice herself is too young to have ever had an old home yet. So, one day when Alice feels bored, she sees a white rabbit, she begins to chase it, and the rabbit leads her to a hole in an old tree stump. Being young and innocent, Alice sticks her head into the hole, the ground under her gives way, and down and away she falls.

Sometimes seeing the ‘old home’ (click here for a synopsis of Alice’s story) may change the picture of not only the past, but how you see the present. I do not mean that when you return, you simply will be brushing off a few leaves the moment after you believed your head was about to be chopped off on the orders of a mad queen. For all I know, you may be Ann Boleyn  and the queen is king Henry the VIII. Or you have decided to make your journey back to the old home on February 14th, Valentine's Day.

Yet another almost impossible struggle to return to one’s old home is presented by the Greek playwright Sophocles in his play “Oedipus Rex” or “Oedipus the King”. However, in Sophocles’ story, the “return” is not to discover one’s old home, but the truth to what really happened not only to Oedipus, but to a lot of people who in one way or another were connected to him.

On the surface “Oedipus Rex” is a simple riddle asked by a chimera, known to Sophocles as the Sphinx. The riddle asks who is it who walks on four legs in the morning, two legs by noon, but on three legs in the evening. The answer is that it is “man”, because a baby first crawls on all fours, then as an adult walks on two legs, but when old walks with the help of a cane, which ads up to three legs. The answer is of course correct. Any half wit can come up with the answer. However, this is the very reason why the riddle begs a deeper probing. So far, most critics of the play have not got past scratching the surface.

Nevertheless, before we go into a possible solution of the riddle, we need to ask yet another question: Why did Sophocles write a mystery to which no one seems to have the answer? That is, why is it a mystery until we discover (in the next blog) the answer? I believe that it has to do with timing. The answer can be discovered only at a “chronal moment”, when like the stars in a horoscope occultate in such a way that what was impossible before becomes possible now.

One reason why the riddle of Oedipus has been under occultation by the present for so long may be because the present has for a very long time been dangerous, life-threatening, and there was no way of avoiding the threat to one’s life except to pretend to believe in mysteries. Thus, the answer to the meaning of Sophocles’ play may be that he is telling his audiences of something that is very dangerous, and, indeed, may cost him and his audience their lives. On the other hand, everyone may recognize the danger of the topic immediately the play begins, understands the danger of it, and tells the next audience coming to the show that they will be seeing a mystery play.

People who live under the rule of dictators know this phenomenon, i.e., the hope to live long enough to experience the chronal moment, the dictator’s fall, because their poets’ heads and popularity depend on the wit used in their verbal allusions. While the people wait for this moment to arrive, there appear all kinds of guesses as to what Sophocles’ play and the Sphinx are about. The psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud made himself famous with his theory, which he called the Oedipus complex. Indeed, we still hear of it, because while the salacious aspects of the theory arouse most sexually repressed people, Freud discovered that there may be secrets repressed beyond memory. However, they reveal themselves only at certain chronal moments.

It is possible that even as I am telling the reader what I know and have reconstructed, I am hiding the story by writing about it in English, which is a language most Latvian politicians fear to learn past the 800 words of Basic English, but those who speak it well are too far from their old home to care how the ball bounces in Latvia. After all, those who return to Latvia today and presume that what they see is “old Latvia”, are like King Oedipus—blind, or like Alice are arriving in Latvia on a daliisque ship with sails of made of giant pink irises.

So, where do we begin with the unraveling of Sophocles’ mystery? Let us wait for blog 71 and see.

Asterisk & Notes of Interest:

On material in Latvia. depravation in Latvia.

On the theme of “more-equal-than-others”, see Orwell's Animal Farm.

A recommended read: “The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism” by Emmanuel Goldstein (A book within a book from George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, aka 1984.  

Of great interest to me is this and like articles. It presents some of my reasons for supporting the growing of Johns Grass in Latvia.

These blogs tend to be a continuum of an idea or thought, which is why—if you are interested in what you read—you are encouraged to consider reading the previous blog and the blog hereafter.

Partial entries of my blogs may be found at LatviansOnline + Forum Home + Open Forum –ONLATVIANPOPULISM vs LATVIJASLABEJIE. If you copy this blog for your files, or copy to forward, or otherwise mention its content, please credit the author and http://esoschroniclnes.blogspot.com/

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