It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.

Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.

Thank you.

 

Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.

 

Odysseus - Myth, Sacrifice and Cunning

page: 1
4
<<   2 >>

log in

join
share:

posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 09:10 AM
link   
[...]

Today I give you the modern Odysseus from the Frankfurt School of Thought, let's take a deeper look into the mirror in order to analyze our way of life. There's an introduction to the whole topic if you have no idea what I'm getting at, knock yourself out.


This is the second chapter of The Dialectic of Enlightenment, an excursus on The Odyssey, which is taken up to demonstrate that central notion, since “There is no work which offers more eloquent testimony of the mutual implication of enlightenment and myth than that of Homer, the basic text of European civilization” (45-46). This analysis relies on a formal reading of the text, in that Horkheimer and Adorno aim to elucidate rationalism’s oppressive tendencies by demonstrating the ways in which mythos and epos in the text share an impulse to “domination and exploitation” (45).

Throughout, Odysseus functions as the “bourgeois prototype” (43), whose attempts to conquer nature and preserve himself exemplify the pervasive domination Horkheimer and Adorno see as characteristic of modernity and the modern self. Individuation, identity and subjectivity are among the excursus’s primary concerns. The mythical elements of The Odyssey threaten to sidetrack and destroy Odysseus’s logical, enlightened self, but Horkheimer and Adorno argue that myth and rationalized individual selfhood are not essential, static antitheses; rather, they are dialectically related. The self “in its rigidity molds itself only by way of that antithesis: being an entity only in the diversity of that which denies all unity” (47); self must in fact “derive itself from myth” (48). This focus on the derivation of self should be expected, given Horkheimer’s long-held criticism of the Hegelian Absolute Spirit and suspicion of all pretensions to absolute identity, including Lukács’s description of the subject-object proletariat (Martin 47).

Sacrifice/Cunning: The paramount statement in this section is that “The history of civilization is the history of the introversion of sacrifice. In other words: the history of renunciation” (55).

Incorporating anthropology as well as The Odyssey, the chapter identifies sacrifice as fundamentally deceitful and as a primary node of myth and rationality’s mutual constitution. This section uses the anthropological case of human sacrifice (mythologized and mystified to the extent that irrationality became its rationalization when not driven by necessity) to argue that in the absence of literal sacrifice, one may ritualize self-sacrifice by opposing oneself to nature: “The identically persistent self which arises in the abrogation of sacrifice immediately becomes an unyielding, rigidified sacrificial ritual that man celebrates upon himself by opposing his consciousness to the natural context” (54). This practice produces the cunning subject, of whom Odysseus is the obvious forefather, “Cunning is only the subjective development of the objective untruth of the sacrifice that redeems it” (51).

Horkheimer and Adorno maintain that this self-sacrifice, the “denial of nature in man” is made for “the sake of domination over non-human nature and over other men,” to an extent that is now “tantamount to open insanity” (54). Furthermore, this manner of self-sacrifice is equal to self-destruction and the perpetuation of domination, “Man’s domination over himself, which grounds his selfhood, is almost always the destruction of the subject in whose service it is undertaken; for the substance which is dominated, suppressed, and dissolved by the virtue of self-preservation is none other than that very life as functions of which the achievements of self-preservation find their sole definition and determination; it is, in fact, what is to be preserved” (55). Thus, the fascist hero is “marked by the harsh measures” (56) he has taken to “survive,” or rather to perpetuate domination.

Horkheimer & Adorno, The Dialectic of Enlightenment

This is probably the best critique of the positivist mindset behind the curtain, the paradigm we have yet to overcome for a real betterment of humanity. In case you naked monkeys are still capable of that, of course. Oh, look over there! A banana in the mud! Forget what I just said.

Good night, good fight!


If anybody out there show me a sign
Leaders of the free world blowing on dice
We load our bowls, we close our eyes

Hey
When you wish upon a barn star
Deliver us from "nyuck, nyuck" and "hardy har har"
Deliver shady lady luck from the dark arts
She turn a basic straight shooter to a card shark, quick
I'm writing from the plight of the godless
Where pig and swap piety for shinier objects
And pretend to be a perfect pile of science and logic
Though it hasn't got us any less divided and conquered, look
The rock shock still knock on wood
No shame, still aim for the top of the food
Chain
My lucky sevens only ever make it up to six
Every three tries Satan kind of wins
Untied shoes aliven a wild goose
The winner is unrelenting, the kindling is fireproof
Got a face for radio, break a mirror every morn
Turn seven years into seven more
It's yours



And that's it. Have a good day!


edit on Sun Feb 17 2019 by DontTreadOnMe because: snipped OT remark




posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 10:22 AM
link   
My brain hurts now. Could you explain a bit? Are you suggesting that self sacrifice completely goes against our nature? Or is it that we need to go against our nature and devolve the habit of self sacrifice, which in turn will elevate mankind?



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 10:35 AM
link   
If only humans ceased to exist, we could solve all these human problems.

From my own experience, philosophers enjoy dictating what others should do while rarely following the same path.


Interesting read nonetheless.



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 10:48 AM
link   
 


off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 10:59 AM
link   
a reply to: Jonjonj

It almost appears there is an interesting trend developing. That people for some reason are choosing how they react to possible insults. They are no longer just crying at the sky and demanding the insult hurler be silenced. They are now saying thank you for that label, it fits me to a T. They are rejoicing in their deformities.

I was at first concerned how the author knew I was a moron, but then I realized I should just be thankful they pay attention at all.



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 11:14 AM
link   
a reply to: PublicOpinion


So if Homer took a class from one of these professors he would no doubt get a failing grade.



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 11:24 AM
link   
a reply to: PublicOpinion


Ummm...yawn...what a load of twaddle...

Insomuch that reference to self as..."The self “in its rigidity molds itself only by way of that antithesis: being an entity only in the diversity of that which denies all unity”...

First...the self is not stasistic...rather it is fluid as each moment presents new experience and information, each instance is a crux on which change...education...and evolution of ideal is exemplified by further considerations...

Secondly the self acknowledges and personifies unity as it incorporates past perception with present perspective...the self realizes self as not just entity individuation...but as unified connectivity...

Enlightened consideration of self concerns sacrificing unevolved perception as per individuality versus externalization through transforming dualism into association...

While no self was sacrificed...fiction was replaced with a factual discernment that engendered inclusivity and connectivity while retaining individuality...


[snipped]

This in a subsequent post...










YouSir

edit on 17-2-2019 by YouSir because: public opiner is fun to play with...

edit on 2.17.2019 by Kandinsky because: Removed quote of removed post



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 11:25 AM
link   
a reply to: ClovenSky

Think about the certain type of self-sacrifice from Odysseus, ponder the picture! Imagine yourself bound to the mast of the vessel we call self-preservation, still falling for the sirens and their song but unable to turn the ship.

It's an analogy or metaphor for our bullsh!t dayjobs in this Brave New Oligarchy. A deep reflection on the roots of materialism and the mechanism, which made "too big to fail" happen since the dawn of western culture.

This thought is one of radical constructivism, if you will, and I dare you to reevaluate reality as we perceive it.

a reply to: JinMI



You're welcome, Jin.

Let's differentiate the way we approach the world from human nature in general though. It's not a shared archetype of sorts, but rather a matter of standpoint derived from conditioning and experience. Possibly a choice someone else made for us while we learned to adapt. Right?

There's so many ways to go with this, I don't know where to start. You decide.



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 12:07 PM
link   
a reply to: PublicOpinion


Let's differentiate the way we approach the world from human nature in general though. It's not a shared archetype of sorts, but rather a matter of standpoint derived from conditioning and experience. Possibly a choice someone else made for us while we learned to adapt. Right?

The World is bigger than what I myself have seen or experienced for myself. I trust that all people at least share the Earth and Sky. Plants are common, with regional differences. Animals; likewise.

It is true that for most of my life I have lived in structures called houses, which are basically boxes made up of smaller boxes differentiated by utility; one for sleeping in, one for preparing food, one for cleaning ones insides and outsides, and etc. I did not invent this design, or decide that that should be the norm for my region of the World. Yes, I have adapted.

I'm with you so far.



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 12:07 PM
link   
a reply to: YouSir

To quote another Homer, ' you're unique....Just like everyone else.'



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 12:24 PM
link   
a reply to: YouSir




While no self was sacrificed...fiction was replaced with a factual discernment that engendered inclusivity and connectivity while retaining individuality...


Except that said individuality, which expresses itself in a somewhat unified consumerism with it's constant struggle for reaffirmation, would be a thoroughly propagandized myth. See E. Bernays and the history of PR and 'culture' for example.

Fiction was replaced with an allegedly better, brave new fiction.



Insomuch that reference to self as..."The self “in its rigidity molds itself only by way of that antithesis: being an entity only in the diversity of that which denies all unity”...



“Knowing others is intelligence;
knowing yourself is true wisdom.
Mastering others is strength;
mastering yourself is true power.”

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching

There's a huge gap between sacrificing senses, or censoring actions for the sake of mere self-preservation, and mastering yourself (which would include problematic aspects as well). One might say Jesus sacrificed his life to master himself, fully embracing said "diversity to that which denies all unity" in a unified Roman Empire of a dog-eat-dog world.

With that in mind one could state, that losing yourself maybe the only way to find yourself. Nice reply though, I'm looking forward to the subsequent parts.
edit on 17-2-2019 by PublicOpinion because: (no reason given)

edit on 17-2-2019 by PublicOpinion because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 01:02 PM
link   
a reply to: pthena

That's really good to know, the Homer pun was awesome btw.



I trust that all people at least share the Earth and Sky. Plants are common, with regional differences. Animals; likewise.


Well. At this point we mostly share the methods to exploit all of that while further depriving ourselves from dignity with each passing shareholder report. We, as a society, already started to see the world as what it isn't - livestock, human capital and soy bean futures. Like the cunning naked monkey I don't need to be.

One can only bear to adapt so far, ya know?



posted on Feb, 17 2019 @ 08:00 PM
link   
a reply to: PublicOpinion

My fundamental problem here is that I obviously have not taken the prerequisite courses. I don't see Hegelian this, and Kantian that, as opposed to Nietzsche-an something else, as immediately recognizable concepts about which to consider and weigh the import.

I may have found a piece of writing that is more readily thought about:

Theodor W. Adorno (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
According to Horkheimer and Adorno, the source of today's disaster is a pattern of blind domination, domination in a triple sense: the domination of nature by human beings, the domination of nature within human beings, and, in both of these forms of domination, the domination of some human beings by others. What motivates such triple domination is an irrational fear of the unknown: “Humans believe themselves free of fear when there is no longer anything unknown. This has determined the path of demythologization … . Enlightenment is mythical fear radicalized” (DE 11). In an unfree society whose culture pursues so-called progress no matter what the cost, that which is “other,” whether human or nonhuman, gets shoved aside, exploited, or destroyed. The means of destruction may be more sophisticated in the modern West, and the exploitation may be less direct than outright slavery, but blind, fear-driven domination continues, with ever greater global consequences. The all-consuming engine driving this process is an ever-expanding capitalist economy, fed by scientific research and the latest technologies.

Contrary to some interpretations, Horkheimer and Adorno do not reject the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. Nor do they provide a negative “metanarrative” of universal historical decline. Rather, through a highly unusual combination of philosophical argument, sociological reflection, and literary and cultural commentary, they construct a “double perspective” on the modern West as a historical formation (Jarvis 1998, 23). They summarize this double perspective in two interlinked theses: “Myth is already enlightenment, and enlightenment reverts to mythology” (DE xviii). The first thesis allows them to suggest that, despite being declared mythical and outmoded by the forces of secularization, older rituals, religions, and philosophies may have contributed to the process of enlightenment and may still have something worthwhile to contribute. The second thesis allows them to expose ideological and destructive tendencies within modern forces of secularization, but without denying either that these forces are progressive and enlightening or that the older conceptions they displace were themselves ideological and destructive.

A fundamental mistake in many interpretations of Dialectic of Enlightenment occurs when readers take such theses to be theoretical definitions of unchanging categories rather than critical judgments about historical tendencies. The authors are not saying that myth is “by nature” a force of enlightenment. Nor are they claiming that enlightenment “inevitably” reverts to mythology. In fact, what they find really mythical in both myth and enlightenment is the thought that fundamental change is impossible. Such resistance to change characterizes both ancient myths of fate and modern devotion to the facts.


I haven't read Dialectic of Enlightenment so I probably shouldn't have joined the discussion. I have read The Odyssey so that's what caught my attention. I was thrown off balance by the use of some parts of the story as a metaphor for sacrifice when I remembered that sacrifice is actually covered in its own right in Book III.



but as the sun was rising from the fair sea 24 into the firmament of heaven to shed light on mortals and immortals, they reached Pylos the city of Neleus. Now the people of Pylos were gathered on the sea shore to offer sacrifice of black bulls to Neptune lord of the Earthquake. There were nine guilds with five hundred men in each, and there were nine bulls to each guild. As they were eating the inward meats 25 and burning the thigh bones [ on the embers] in the name of Neptune, Telemachus and his crew arrived, furled their sails, brought their ship to anchor, and went ashore.

Minerva led the way and Telemachus followed her. Presently she said, "Telemachus, you must not be in the least shy or nervous; you have taken this voyage to try and find out where your father is buried and how he came by his end; so go straight up to Nestor that we may see what he has got to tell us. Beg of him to speak the truth, and he will tell no lies, for he is an excellent person."

"But how, Mentor," replied Telemachus, "dare I go up to Nestor, and how am I to address him? I have never yet been used to holding long conversations with people, and am ashamed to begin questioning one who is so much older than myself."

"Some things, Telemachus," answered Minerva, "will be suggested to you by your own instinct, and heaven will prompt you further; for I am assured that the gods have been with you from the time of your birth until now."

She then went quickly on, and Telemachus followed in her steps till they reached the place where the guilds of the Pylian people were assembled. There they found Nestor sitting with his sons, while his company round him were busy getting dinner ready, and putting pieces of meat on to the spits 26 while other pieces were cooking. When they saw the strangers they crowded round them, took them by the hand and bade them take their places. Nestor's son Pisistratus at once offered his hand to each of them, and seated them on some soft sheepskins that were lying on the sands near his father and his brother Thrasymedes. Then he gave them their portions of the inward meats and poured wine for them into a golden cup, handing it to Minerva first, and saluting her at the same time.

"Offer a prayer, sir," said he, "to King Neptune, for it is his feast that you are joining; when you have duly prayed and made your drink offering, pass the cup to your friend that he may do so also. I doubt not that he too lifts his hands in prayer, for man cannot live without God in the world. Still he is younger than you are, and is much of an age with myself, so I will give you the precedence."

As he spoke he handed her the cup. Minerva thought it very right and proper of him to have given it to herself first; 27 she accordingly began praying heartily to Neptune. "O thou," she cried, "that encirclest the earth, vouchsafe to grant the prayers of thy servants that call upon thee. More especially we pray thee send down thy grace on Nestor and on his sons; thereafter also make the rest of the Pylian people some handsome return for the goodly hecatomb they are offering you. Lastly, grant Telemachus and myself a happy issue, in respect of the matter that has brought us in our ship to Pylos."

When she had thus made an end of praying, she handed the cup to Telemachus and he prayed likewise. By and by, when the outer meats were roasted and had been taken off the spits, the carvers gave every man his portion and they all made an excellent dinner. As soon as they had had enough to eat and drink, Nestor, knight of Gerene, began to speak.



posted on Feb, 18 2019 @ 01:22 PM
link   
a reply to: PublicOpinion
A democratic vision or myth must first be recognisable by the people before they can identify with it. That is why jounalists provide their own opinions the way they do. What they see is arranged in their minds first before they can report any type of meaningful narrative. It is their job to communicate what is happening to a broad audience. The number one skill then for a journalist must be the ability to use words that speak to the audience.

I noticed a thread started today: The pathology of the rich

As I watched the video I realized that Chris Hedges was discussing the same topics and subject matter that this thread and book being discussed herein cover. A difference is that the journalist is speaking to a broad demographic, whereas Horkheimer & Adorno may have been writing as academics to academics.

If you wanted to you could tell me if Chris Hedges is covering the same subject matter as this thread, and if it seems to you that he is on the same track as Horkheimer & Adorno.



posted on Feb, 18 2019 @ 09:06 PM
link   
a reply to: pthena

Judging by the sheer compassion, I'd say you should really gaze away the whole book asap. It will pay out for you rather sooner than later. But no, I don't even expect that members read the linked piece in the OP to participate in this... how do we call it, deconstruction of myths?
Listening to Aesop Rock with an open mind should do the trick as well.




I haven't read Dialectic of Enlightenment so I probably shouldn't have joined the discussion. I have read The Odyssey so that's what caught my attention. I was thrown off balance by the use of some parts of the story as a metaphor for sacrifice when I remembered that sacrifice is actually covered in its own right in Book III.


I'm happy that you took the "bait" and found something worthy of discussion, and you're bringing up some great questions already.

The whole topic relies on an "allegorical reading" of said encounter with the Sirens. There isn't an actual sacrifice happening on deck, but a self-sacrifice for the sake of the journey. Odysseus literally sacrificed the hearing capability of his crew to keep the ship going past the island with those hot songbirds (even if it's temporary with wax in their ears), and he sacrificed his ability to interact with the crew/ the ship (in case he changes his mind) with being bound to the mast.

This should help to see what kind of sacrifice we're talking about; an inward application of mysticism, not a common sacrifice in order to appease any particular god. Our hero tried to achieve a few things here, and he probably could've achieved them with more freedom on deck as well.
In that case he probably wouldn't have developed the cunning quality, nobody would've come up with the idea to take Troy in disguise of a gigantic horse and the rest would be a piece of alternative history, in which Achilleus died in vein.

We're talking about Odysseus performing magical acts, and we could continue with the allegorical readings via superimposing them on modern metaphors which represent and, more importantly, repeat those acts.
The bosses hands are tied when you ask for a raise, allegedly due to market movements not unlike a mast swinging in a rough sea, and the heads of employees have to be empty in favor of maximum productivity. Both "conventional wisdoms" would fit the description of myths in this book, as you already pointed out the classification of myth and sacrifice as early forms of enlightenment.
But, still. They're myths. A good sailor wont be slave to the elements if he prepares accordingly, and sits out storms in save harbors, nor would a good businessman be a victim of market-trends, but rather a trend-setter. And lastly, an employee who filled his head with music and joy isn't less productive. It's the other way around, actually.



As I watched the video I realized that Chris Hedges was discussing the same topics and subject matter that this thread and book being discussed herein cover. A difference is that the journalist is speaking to a broad demographic, whereas Horkheimer & Adorno may have been writing as academics to academics.

If you wanted to you could tell me if Chris Hedges is covering the same subject matter as this thread, and if it seems to you that he is on the same track as Horkheimer & Adorno.


Lotta parallels to Chris Hedges, that's right. This topic even jumped in my face while listening to Aesop Rock, which is why I added that as well. At this point I really feel like holding a hammer and everywhere are nails, but I'd say that this is the clusterfck of cunning staring back at us as one (if not THE) essential element for what we call success. And this 'will for success no matter what' slowly creeped into pretty much every profession. The more you think about it, the more parallels you'll find.
Journalism is a good example, we surely don't find myths, self-sacrifice and cunning in "fake-news" only.

3 cheers, my friend! It's always nice to feel understood, thanks for that.



posted on Feb, 18 2019 @ 11:24 PM
link   
a reply to: PublicOpinion

If you look for human sacrifice: Iphigenia


Look her up in Wikipedia. Told and retold with many changes to the ending.

In Iliad book 9, she is either still alive or she isn't. In either case, she is offered to Achilles as wife upon successful completion of Trojan Expedition should he agree to rejoin the campaign. If she had already been sacrificed, then Odysseus et al were being very deceitful and cunning.



posted on Feb, 19 2019 @ 06:37 AM
link   
a reply to: pthena

Schrödingers toxic fumes sniffing pussycat.


Iphigenia in Tauris was one of those books which came to me way too early, it was boring as hell for me at that age.



If she had already been sacrificed, then Odysseus et al were being very deceitful and cunning.


It's a wonder if they didn't lie, steal and cheat like hell to make a pro join their "war against terror".



However. I don't think deception and cunning are necessarily a bad thing, the first chapters from the Art of War might still achieve some good things after all. Especially when you wage it against the Nazis, but this thing got out of hand like black budgets for military industrial complexes...



posted on Feb, 19 2019 @ 06:51 AM
link   
a reply to: PublicOpinion


Individuation, identity and subjectivity are among the excursus’s primary concerns.


Phage was explaining this in another thread has to do with "A-priori trust".
Skeptical mind might start with an "if".
Tea time?



posted on Feb, 19 2019 @ 07:10 AM
link   
a reply to: Slichter

No way, more coffee! I'm not very skeptical when it comes to the intentions of this excursus, but I'll gladly work with any kind of constructive criticism.

Aaaand I'd like to read his explanation first. Sounds related indeed, the lack of "a-priori trust" makes people wax their ears and bind their hands all the time. But I'm holding a commie hammer and this is another Nine Inch Nail. lol.

Could you provide a link to the post, please?
edit on 19-2-2019 by PublicOpinion because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 19 2019 @ 07:17 AM
link   
a reply to: PublicOpinion


Phage was talking about dissecting mousie brains to examine the hippocampus evidence.

I'm not sure Calypso was very happy with Odysseus concerning him leaving her island to search for a wife after seven years..
But she did have other dolphins so maybe it was an open relationship?







 
4
<<   2 >>

log in

join