Saturday, September 27, 2014

My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Manipulation

When we were talking about women manipulating men to get what they want in a society where women are powerless, I was immediately reminded of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. There's one part where the main character, Tula, wants to go to college to take computer classes. Her father won't allow her to, but her mother says she will convince him. Her mother tricks her father into letting Tula go to college by making him think that it was his idea in the first place. Tula's mother says, "The man is the head, but the woman is the neck, and she can turn the head any way she wants."

A Quote I thought I 'd Share

I came upon this quote in my notes from last year when I read my Independent Study, Reading Lolita in Tehran. I loved this book, and when I saw this quote, it really reminded me of how important it is to keep this idea in mind when reading fiction. Particularly in One Hundred Years of Solitude, it reminded me of how important it is to not always rely solely on our perception of reality and the power and role that fiction has. I felt that I really came to understand this quote when I read One Hundred Years of Solitude. I think that it is a beautiful quote and something to keep in mind throughout this year and on.

"Do not, under any circumstances, belittle a work of fiction by trying to turn it into a carbon copy of real life; what we search for in fiction is not so much reality but the epiphany of truth." - Azar Nafisi

Persistence in Oedipus and Medea

A quality that I notice Medea and Oedipus to both have in common is their persistence. Oedipus has great persistence. When he is trying to find out more about the murder of Laius, he tells the messenger "What-give up now, with a close like this? Fail to solve the mystery of my birth? Not for all the world!" I think Oedipus' constant drive to find out the "mystery of his birth" reveals his great persistence. Oedipus has this constant drive to discover the mystery of who killed Laius, a drive that he has throughout the whole play until the secret if finally uncovered. Medea is similar in her pursue to get revenge of Jason, for regardless of the chorus discouraging her, she still fails to hesitate and lose this desire. The chorus tells Media "... I both wish to help you and support the normal ways of mankind, and tell you not to do this thing." Medea responds: " I can do no other things..." Medea possesses I believe this same persistence that Oedipus has. Euripedes and Sophocles both have their characters have this drive, which gives momentum and meaning to both plays.

Leisure and How to Spend Time

So yesterday in class we talked about some Roman ideas of how to spend time. Specifically #YOLO/Carpe Diem. I find this topic interesting because I feel sometimes that I control how fast time can move. When I'm waiting for a game to come out *cough cough Super Smash Brothers 4* time can move very slowly. However, time moves quickly when I'm busy with school and have a lot of work. Procrastinating can also change perspective of time as well. At first it prolongs time, but as the inevitable due date of the assignment approaches, it feels like I've fast forwarded time. When I prolong time I feel that I'm wasting it. I can't make super smash bros come out any faster than I can make myself fly "Over the Moon" (shameless RENT reference). However when I'm busy I feel that time goes faster and faster and that it's running out, but it's spent effectively. What's better? Slowing down time and savoring what was or will be or using time effectively at the cost of time? I'm not trying to sound like a 100 Years of Solitude I swear

Medea and Oedipus Comparison.. pt.?

In Oedipus, the Chorus claims that whoever leads without concern for consequences should be brought down by the Gods. Medea, on the other hand, considers the consequences of her actions... which include killing her children, Kreon and his daughter... yeah. Anyways, perhaps this is why she is not brought down by the Gods. The Chorus explicitly says that powerful people who DON'T consider consequences should be brought down. Medea ponders the outcomes of her actions. Perhaps this is why she succeeded in her plans and flew away on a dragon chariot #pimpedride

Comparing my own expressions with those of Discobolus

I would just like to emphasize the error in Myron's thinking when he gave Discobolus a calm face (or to highlight his juxtaposition of the struggle of athletics with the serenity of art). If anyone has seen a picture of me running, you know they're bad. Alex has some decent ones, but mine are atrocious. Let's have a comparison between me and the 'ole Discus Thrower:
I look insane. He looks like he's having a grand time.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Oedipus Complexes and today's pep ralley

I don't know about y'all, but throughout the entire uncomfortable pep rally today all I could think about was Oedipus Complexes. 

Quick recap:
  • Football moms come out and dance around their sons, the senior football players
  • Football moms tell their children to take off their shirts
  • All football players have undershirts on
  • Oh wait, they have to take those off too
  • The football moms put bibs on the football players
  • The football moms put diapers on their children
  • Football moms proceed to deck their sons out in baby attire 
  • Football moms have their sons sit in chairs and blindfolded
  • Football moms all proceed to kiss their sons on the cheek
  • Football players get creamed in the face with a pie
It sounds weird, but it was even weirder to watch, especially with lower schoolers around. Overall consensus: it was an awkward, Oedipus-like pep rally. 

"He Had It Coming"

Many of y'all have probably heard of "Cell Block Tango" from the musical/movie Chicago. This scene, specifically the chorus of the song ("He had it coming"), reminds me of Medea's attitude toward Jason. Like the "Merry Murderesses of the Cook County Jail," she believes that her actions were justifiable, a "murder but not a crime." Each woman has been either abused or cheated on, much like Medea was. But does that make their actions right or even reasonable? Isn't that just an excuse for anarchy and vigilante justice? Please discuss. Also, implications on violence and domestic abuse?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


So guys, while a lot of Greek life sucked for women, check this out! The spartans were incredibly progressive in their attitudes towards women's rights:

            ?Women could own property---and did in fact own more than a third of the land in Sparta---and they could dispose of it as they wished.  Daughters inherited along with sons.  Unfortunately, when we get down to the particulars there are some gaps in our knowledge.  Attempts were made to get rid of the practice of needing a dowry to get married.  It is possible that endeavors by fathers to get around the law have led to considerable confusion in our eyes as to what was a gift and what was a dowry.  Daughters may have inherited half of what a son inherited; it is also possible that if you combine dowry with inheritance they ended up with a full share of the estate.
Spartan women had a reputation for boldness and licentiousness that other Greeks found unseemly.  Women’s tunics were worn in such a way as to give them a little more freedom of movement and the opportunity to reveal a little leg and thigh if they so desired.  Spartan girls competed in athletics at the same time as the boys and may have done so in the nude before a mixed audience.  Plutarch mentions nude rituals witnessed by young men.  The end of the fourth and the beginning of the fifth centuries BCE saw a decline in the number of men relative to women. Several men might share a wife and regard the children as their own.  The woman would clearly be the dominant member of any such family.  An unmarried man might approach a friend and ask if he could “borrow” his wife to produce a child for him.  If the husband had all of the children he wanted and approved of the suitor he might agree.  It is highly unlikely that the mature wife and mother lacked a strong voice in the arrangements, considering the power and status of adult women in everything else.  Since marriage existed strictly for the procreation of children and not as an answer to emotional or social needs the arrangement would not have had the same meaning to them as it might to us."

(full article:

So while Athens was screwing around with them fancy columns and oppressing their women, Sparta got awesome and gave women rights. Another interesting fact I read was that married women were given knives to defend themselves against their husband if spousal abuse became a problem so they could shank their faces and the next day Sparta would see the slashes and shun them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Emma Watson's UN Speech on Femenism

This is the speech that Emma Watson gave before the UN that we were talking about today. Scroll down a little bit to find the video. If you haven't watched this I highly recommend that you do.

"Home" Front

Today in class, we read the excerpt from Medea that read, "What they say of us is that we have a peaceful time living at home, while they do the fighting in war. How wrong they are! I would very much rather stand three times int he front of battle than bear one child" (Euripides 621). This excerpt reminded me of two contrasting "Home" fronts. By definition, home front is the civilian population and activities of a nation whose armed forces are engaged in war abroad. Men go to war to protect that civilian population in their native country. Their job is to protect. Their job is to allow the people living at home to grow and prosper safely. In comparison, the women at home raising children are protecting their own home front. They must protect their children and maintain a safe environment for them to prosper and grow. Both home fronts have their disadvantages, despite the fact that Medea's task appears easy. Men must fight in combat and risk their lives daily for the masses. Medea, however, must raise children. While the job appears a infinitely simplier, a quote from the Chorus counters such belief. On page 639, the Chorus discusses how those who never had children are generally happier. They won't have to raise a child unsure if they'll turn out good or bad, and, even if they're good, they'll eventually die. Children are just the source of all grief... nice. Anyways, the Chorus emphasizes that while raising children may appear fun and simple, the task can be stressful. Jason may appear noble for defeating great tasks, but Medea is just as noble for raising her two children, who do ultimately cause her grief. Both home fronts are noble of discussion, and while generally different, both can cause agony and ruin.

TV Tropes: Hilarious and Informative

The above link is to the site I mentioned in class,

Here are some of my favourite tropes that apply to Medea are:
  • Don’t You Dare Pity Me!: Revenge is much sweeter.
  • God Save Us from the Princess!: Averted because the gods agree with her.
  • I Gave My Word: Jason breaks that wedding oath all over the place.
  • In Medea Res: Gotta love the terrible pun.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: One of the originals.
  • Gory Discretions Shot: Something you see a lot in Greek plays. Most of the gory action is described in detail but not shown.
  • Karma Houdini: Not gonna spoil this. 
  • Horse of a Different Colour: Brings up an interesting point. How would the ancient Greeks have shown the dragon chariot? That’s quite a feat even by today’s standards.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse
  • Too Dumb to Live: Jason, Creon, and Glauce
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Medea to Jason and its brilliant.
  • Woman Scorned

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Origins of Science in Greece

As I was studying for the SAT Physics subject test, I came across the origins of the word "electron." An inequality of electrons (negatively charged particles) and protons (positively charged particles) causes a material to have an electric charge. Circa 600 BC, the Greeks discovered that if they rubbed wool on a piece of the stone amber, they could attract small objects with the amber. I'm sure that way back then they attributed this attraction to one god or another, but nowadays we know the attraction to be entirely electrical in nature ("opposites attract"). The Greek word for amber is (pronounced) elektron. It wasn't until millennia later that scientists proved the identity, placement, and weight (Millikan's oil-drop experiment). It is astounding to me how much scientific progress the Greeks made alongside the cultural advancement we've studied with tools as simple as wool and amber (keep in mind that this is still the archaic period of Greek history).

Pergamon vs. Athens

Does anyone else think that the primary goal of the Pergamese culture was to make fun of the Athenian one?
   Pergamese: oh you think you are cool with your tiny frieze all the way at the top of your building? And your columns that actually serve a structural purpose? Ha! We've got an innovative SEVEN-FOOT TALL frieze where our people can actually see it! AND we have columns for aesthetic purposes.. They don't do much.
Oh? What's this? You've got a fancy-shmancy temple for Athena? We have one, too, AND our main temple is dedicated to Zeus. ZEUS.
Your street grid is disorganized, so we made it better. Your acropolis is on a tiny little hill; ours is practically on a mountain by comparison.
Were y'all really so depressed that you couldn't put even a LITTLE bit of emotion into your sculpture? I mean for the gods' sakes the your kouroi look so.. stony
And while your "democracy" is cute, we have semi-divine kings.

*Athenian whimpers away*

YOLO.....You Only Live Oedipus

I have been thinking a lot about the way that Oedipus lived and his attributes. Even though he jumped the gun many times on his suspicions, he was a man of action. Can't we all learn from Oedipus? Many times in our lives we are slow to process things and come up with solutions. We need to just do it without thinking necessarily of the consequences. Live in the now and not worry about the future. You may get more out of life than you would if you hesitated.

Ariana Grande and (not really) Oedipus Complexes

The above is a link to Ariana Grande and Mac Miller's music video for the song "The Way". Although I like some of Ariana's music, I'm not a fan of the way she's marketed. (Sorry Bonnie, I know you love her.) As exemplified in the above video, she's simultaneously made to seem both quite innocent, childlike, and pure while also being sexualized. Ew, gross.

I was now planning on talking about how this was like an Oedipus Complex, but then I realized that Oedipus Complexes really only applied to parental/filial relationships. (Thanks for confirming that, Alex, Joey, and Iris.) Still, it's strangely pedophiliac and made me angry/uncomfortable enough to decide to rant about it on here anyway.

Laocoön and his Sons

At the end of class on Friday, I mentioned my favorite statue of the Hellenistic art period. It's Laocoön and his Sons by Agesander, Athenodoros, and Polydoros. I highly recommend mentioning this statue to Dr. Ramos - it's a hoot. Anyway, the state depicts a scene that Vergil later descried in the Aeneid in which a snake comes out of the sea and kills Laocoön (a priest of Neptune and vehement dissident of accepting the Trojan Horse) and his sons; it's super epic (heh). Anyway, the piece exemplifies the characteristic Hellenistic melodramatic emotion. Just look at Laocoön's terror and remorse.... Just like you're in the scene, right?

The Blind Seer

Both of these pictures reference the two different types of sight, physical and intellectual, that we've talked about with the "blind seer" motif in class. I posted the first picture on the blog around a week ago, and found the second one during this week. I find it very interesting that I have not been actively looking for pictures like this, yet they keep popping up on social media sites. The idea of two different sights has existed since the time of the Greeks and is still prominent today. Do y'all think there's any particular reason that this is still an important concept in society today?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Poetics & One Hundred Years of Solitude

Aristotle's view on history and poetry that he describes in Poetics reminds a lot of the way Marquez views history and how he uses literature. Aristotle describes poetry as being higher than history, for it poetry is able to convey universality. On the other hand, Aristotle describes history as not nearly being as "high" because it merely states facts. Poetry allows for one to see the commonality of the universal condition. This reminded me of Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude in that Marquez clearly believes that literature is much higher than history. Although Marquez incorporates history into his novel, he views literature as much higher than history. He does not include historical accounts to retell the past; instead, he believes that magical realism through literature is maybe the only way there is to actually represent the reality of life. Marquez believes literature has the power to unify people by depicting reality and trends that all people experience; however, Aristotle and Marquez believe history does not have the capability of doing this. Marquez reveals in his novel the universality that literature can reveal to the reader about trends or themes in human nature. Aristotle and Marquez both set literature above history because they both believe literature has the power to convey so much more than history does and that literature has the power to convey one of the hardest ideas in life, reality.

Like Father Like Son

Laius and Oedipus have significant differences in their views on the gods in that Laius holds a deep respect for them while Oedipus has more self-respect. Laius respects and believes in the words of the gods so much, that he is willing to harm and kill his own son and even the punishment he receives, the Sphinx, is a direct one from the gods. The Oracle at Delphi, which speaks for Apollo, also foretells his death, further linking him to the gods. The things that happen to Oedipus, however, are largely caused by his own actions. Oedipus likes to be self-sufficient and rejects the credibility of the gods. It is Oedipus who ends up punishing himself, saying to the gods that they were right but he is the only one who can punish himself. Both Oedipus and Laius are punished for their misdeeds, but in two different ways.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The siege of Tyre

So guys, I just thought I'd share this little tidbit of history with y'all. Y'all might already know this, but Alexander the Great was 100% complete unadulterated pure awesome. When he was out doing the whole conquering thing he stumbled upon the city state of Tyre and found out that darn, islands with walls surrounding its entire perimeter were kinda hard to take over. So what he did was he built A FREAKING LAND BRIDGE TO THE ISLAND SO HE COULD SIEGE IT. He quite literally told  his soldiers to take tons of dirt and poor them in the ocean until they built a land bridge. This is quite possibly to coolest thing to ever be done by a general to capture a city and if anyone else has a cooler story than I would love to hear.

War and no love,
Alexander the aspiring

Fatalism and That's So Raven

Okay, I'm sure everyone's seen (and loved) "That's So Raven". What Iris was talking about in class reminded me of this show. Iris asked that by knowing the prophecies, people ensured their fate. She wondered if the same thing would have happened even if Oedipus and Jocasta didn't know their fates. In "That's So Raven", Raven would spend the episode trying to avoid a terrible premonition, but her actions to avoid the future was what caused the future. The fatalism of the show however is very inconsistent. Raven sometimes does change the future. This reminds me of the show I'm watching now called "Continuum". Unlike Oedipus and "That's So Raven", the future is not determined by visions and prophecies but by time travelers. The protagonist is sent back in time with no way to get home. Some of the events she remembered in the future (that she tried to change for the better) such as a terrorist attack, were caused by the terrorist group that brought her back. That indicated that it was their fate to be in that time. This fatalism again is inconsistent. The protagonist uses her knowledge of the future to stop a serial killer before he could finish killing 38 people. Now the protagonist has changed the future.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Oedipus T-REX

Well, well, well I looked up Oedipus Tyrannosaurus Rex because I thought it'd be funny and boom: this -

I loled preeeeetty hard at this but this is about to get serious: (Insert dramatic music):

The T-Rex in this comic was vindicated from his wrongdoings of smashing houses and almost killing the little girl simply by asking for forgiveness and realizing his past wrongdoings. This is a very christian {read protestant reformation} philosophy simply by receiving forgiveness for forgiving yourself and realizing your misdemeanors. Oedipus obviously did not do that and went all the way and ya know...gouged his eyes out - a very drastic action if you ask me. What do y'all think this really reveals about greek life and cultural norms? It reminds me a lot of being prideful to the point of Sepuku like the samurais in Japan. What do y'all think?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Thoughts from an airport

As I sit in the Charlotte airport while my plane is delayed, I decide, "heckadoodle foo, I'll make a blog post." So now, I'll do a tad of musing on the scenes I'm witnessing on the airport. *PSA this doesn't really relate to Oedipus or greeks but instead life in general - but if I can find a contrived way to reconnect it to these things I'll do it but as of now I'm just kinda writing so here goes:

1) I find airport lobbies INCREDIBLY odd and I suppose this is true for most of society today, but wow - I have never seen so many white earbuds. Every single person here is plugged into their music and disconnecting from society. It's funny because as a group of people heading to New Orleans, one would think we'd be able to make small talk and such for an hour or two, but no. Instead I am confronted by a sea of wired in robots listening to music.

2) People really like their Starbucks. Like quite literally 75% of the people waiting here all have Starbucks cups which seems odd since it's fairly late at night but oh well, I suppose pumpkin spice lattes are only here for a little while so enjoy them while you can.

3) I really wish people traveled on planes the way they used to. This may seem idyllic, but I think the flight would be a much friendlier atmosphere if everyone wore nicer clothes to travel in. Like are they really THAT much more uncozy? I mean I know leggings and sweatpants are quite comfy but I don't know, I think a nice sophisticated airport would be chill. I'm still kinda dressed nicely from my interview and it's actually not bad at all. Plus when you dress nice, you feel nice.

4) Just remembering something from not-Louisiana: Did y'all know it's fall up north? Like I thought it was still summer and when I got to Cleveland I was wearing a very fall fashion outfit and thought I'd stick out a little, but to my delight fall was in full swing there and it actually was already slightly chilly up there.

5) I'm still thinking about trying to tie this into the greek thingy, maybe the chaos surrounding the rush of the airport contrasting to the order of the airport as a whole unit?

6) Did y'all know Chattanooga has an airport?

7) You know what bothers me? Apparently in Cleveland, instead of saying y'all they say yous... I don't think I'm okay with that

8) Like seriously? They have the AUDACITY to make fun of us for saying y'all and sounding "uneducated and improper" but they say yous....are they for real?

9) Oooh oooh oooh isn't Hermes the greek god of travel? I can do something relating to Hermes - that's Greek! research, research, research: okay so apparently there is a debate that King Cyllene was actually Hermes in Oedipus Rex so that's kinda cool

10) well I'm still sitting here and I'm all out of musings for a bit - Long live American Airlines

Arsty Fartsy Plato II: Perception

So, Plato's allegory of the cave is all about our perception of reality versus actual reality, right? Well, our discussion got me thinking about perception as it relates to art, specifically how we represent reality in art. Below I have included a photo of a still life project that the AP Art students just completed.

The assignment was to do a charcoal drawing of the still life as we perceived it. This assignment made me think of my mantra for art: draw what you see, not what you know is there. If you look at the setup for this still life, you should notice that all of its elements are white. Objectively speaking, we know they are white and could prove so scientifically if necessary. However, if we drew what we knew to be the objective "reality" of the still life, you'd get something like this:

Not all that interesting or "accurate," is it? My point in all this is that sometimes to represent our perceptions in a way we can understand it, we have to fudge reality. While each object is solidly white, it cannot be perceived by the human eye as being entirely white.

There are a few questions that I would like y'all to think about:

1) Is everyone's perception of reality the same?
2) If yes, then are all elements the same or are there just a few elements in common?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Irony in Oedipus

While reading Oedipus, irony is something that I noticed occurred very frequently. Lines 250-285 struck me as a passage that is full of irony all in one page. The irony revolves around all of Oedipus' claims about catching the murderer of Laius. Line 249 says "If I'd been present then, there would have been no mystery, no long ing without a clue in hand." On line 275 Oedipus says, "Drive him out, each of you, from every home. He is the plague, the heart of our corruption, as Apollo's oracle has just revealed to me." This whole passage on page 580 demonstrates the irony of Oedipus' character. Oedipus the savior of the Thebes and the heroic figure becomes just the opposite. Instead of being a savior, Oedipus becomes "the plague" as he accused the murder of being during this speech. I think this establishes Oedipus as an ironic figure in the play, for his figure as "savior" really turns into him being the source of devastation and chaos in Thebes. Oedipus openly speaks against the murderer and the damage that the murderer. The quote I mentioned earlier," If I'd been present then...stood out to me because of the irony and how Oedipus openly contradicts everything that he did. Irony seems to pervade the play and Oedipus' obvious use of irony when he says on this same page "Now my curse on the murderer" is so obvious and kind of comes to define Oedipus' character in a way.

Insomnia the Plague

Isn't sleep one of the most fascinating things? But do we know why we need it? Many of the doctors and researchers studying the field believe that there is a build up of a protein adenosine that builds up throughout the day and causes the feeling of tiredness. Though sometimes some brains don't have this accumulation and it causes the lack of sleep. Sleep is necessary for the body as a charge not only for the brain, but for the rest of the body. So this literally could kill you. In Marquez he insomnia plague causes them to forget their memory and suffer symptoms that could have killed them. In the documentary I watched they followed one man who couldn't sleep for month but in the end died. The fact that something as not sleeping can kill you is mind boggling. 

The Eyes Are Useless When The Mind Is Blind

This picture reminds me of the two types of sights that we have talked about in class. It clearly demonstrates that intellectual "sight" is a much higher sight than the sight of the eyes.

Oedipus in Music

     As such an iconic piece of literature, it is no surprise that composers have used the story of Sophocles's Oedipus Rex in their compositions. Perhaps most renown today, Igor Stravinsky's Oedipus Rex has been performed both as an opera (much more dramatic and has awesome costumes) and as an oratorio. It was first performed in Paris in 1927, and not long after Leonard Bernstein (American composer, pianist, etc.... basically a renaissance man when it came to music) dubbed the piece one of Stravinsky's greatest works.
     The work is neoclassical, which makes sense considering the Athenian devotion to restraint and order. Here's a video of a performance of the opera conducted by Seiji Ozawa, with Philip Langridge as Oedipus. I picked this video specifically because of the awesome costumes. It's worth the watch if you like opera. Enjoy!

More math... Graphical Representation of Plato's Forms

      While in discussion on Thursday, I came up with a graphical representation of Forms that suits my fancy. We talked about a basketball being a poor representation of "roundness," for pure roundness is in itself intangible. Mrs. Quinet also talked about how mind-blowingly abstract graphs of lines were when you think about them. Combining the two thoughts, I considered each form to be a horizontal line. The line is infinite, therefore going along with the wholeness/pureness aspect of thinking of a Form by itself. Now define the basketball as a graph that intersects the horizontal lines representing "roundness," "orange," etc., and this produces a basketball. Because the basketball merely intersects each Form at a point, it will inevitably represent each Form poorly. Here's a picture I drew to clarify:
      Here, the green graph (the basketball) intersects three Forms: orange, bouncy, and round. Because the green graph only intersects each form, we can only glean a limited amount of information about "roundness" by looking at a basketball. Only when considering the entire horizontal line "y = roundness" will we be able to understand the abstract concept; however, we still cannot fully comprehend roundness because of the infinitude of the line.
      I will occasionally sit down and attempt to comprehend differing degrees of infinity. Though its not complicated to comprehend on paper, it still dizzies me that some infinities are larger than others. In brief, infinity is a hard thing to think about (which leads to epistemological questions), and that makes the graphical representation of Forms more complete.

Artsy Fartsy Plato I: Forms in Art

So, y'all may remember me rambling about the elements and principles of artistic design reflecting Plato's conception of forms. The link at the bottom of this post is to the official list of elements and principles. Notice how each item, especially the elements, match up to Plato's imagining of forms? Roughness, purple-ness, shading existing separate from the objects they might be applied to? Do y'all think the same argument applies to the principles?

The Blind Seer: Tiresias, Mama Odie, Milton, Ursula, Toph, Jenna, and Itako

In class we briefly discuss the paradoxical character of the "blind seer" in Oedipus, specifically Tiresias. Tiresias, who has no sight, in many ways "sees" more than any other character because he has knowledge of Oedipus's crimes and heritage. But the idea of a "blind seer" isn't unique to Oedipus. In fact, it shows up in literature, myth, TV, comics, and even anime.

Y'all may know of a little Disney movie called The Princess and the Frog. Remember Mama Odie? The woman is blind as a bat yet sees the future of Tiana's and Naveen's relationship. She sees their growing feelings for each other and has the insight to push them together. 

But what about the narrator as a "seer" of sorts? Let us revisit our old friend Milton. Milton, who was blind in real life, narrated the epic of Paradise Lost with total knowledge of the inner workings of his characters' minds. He kind of had to in order to "justify the ways of God to men." Earlier, I commented on Alex's post concerning the Oracle at Delphi about the relationship between sight and knowledge in Oedipus. I think that this connection can also be seen (no pun intended) in other works. In Milton, his knowledge is the only sight he has.

In class we also touched on Ursula from One Hundred Years of Solitude as a blind seer. She gradually loses her sight but does not lose her inner perception of the nature of the Buendia family. She sees the vicious cycles in her family and uses her foresight in an attempt to break said cycles. There is also an interesting parallel between Oedipus and One Hundred Years in the role of fate. There is the idea that knowledge is power but no power can overcome fate (which in Oedipus equates to divine will). However, while Ursula attempts to fight fate, the ancient Greeks tended to accept the power of the gods/fate much more easily. 

An interesting spin on the blind seer in pop culture is the character of Toph in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Toph, an earth bender, perceives not only people, events, and emotions more clearly than seeing characters but also detects physical objects and happenings more easily due to her special earth bending abilities. In this sense, she is the least blind character of the Avatar's party. 

Another example from pop culture is Jenna from Pretty Little Liars. Sometimes a seer isn't someone with supernatural abilities but just one who sees things more deeply and closely than those around them. Although she is not omniscient like Milton, a priestess like Mama Odie, or naturally gifted with what equates to a superpower like Toph, Jenna is exceptionally observant and perceptive despite her lack of physical sight. 

Finally, one example from real life. In Japanese culture, there is a certain sect of female shamans known as itako who are blind. Itako can supposedly communicate with the dead and commune with spirits. 

Sorry, I know that was a lot but I just found the various interpretations of the blind seer trope really interesting. If y'all want to know more, I've included a link to the "Blind Seer" page on (a fantastic and hilarious study of archetypes, motifs, and themes across music, literature, real life, television, movies, etc.)

Abnegation and Plato's Allegory

I know I've already made a book reference, but I thought... why not post another? So in the Divergent series, there are four factions: Candor, Erudite, Dauntless and Abnegation. Abnegation means self denial, and that's how those who live in Abnegation live their life. I just made a small connection to the book during class that I thought I would share. The Abnegation run the government, simply because they don't want power. This reminded me of Plato's Allegory of the Cave, which explains that those who don't desire power are the best to run the government. They have seen the dark and the light in their city, and beyond, making them perfect candidates to make decisions and run the government. Those who have a thirst for power, Erudite, make poor candidates for running society, causing havoc between the factions. Anyways, I won't spoil anything! The series is REALLY REALLY good and I would recommend the books to anyone!

No Brain, No Problem.... maybe

Something Ms. King said in class has stuck with me. She said that you are not thinking if you do not have a body. Literally having no body means that you do not have a brain, so not being able to think makes sense. But this brings up the question of what happens when we lose our bodies? When we ascend, and shed our corporal chrysalises to become spiritual butterflies, do we lose the ability to think? When we rise to heaven, to paradise, do we succumb to a certain way of thinking, which limits our thought? That sounded extremely sacrilegious and brings up another point, one that we have seen in One Hundred Years of Solitude. In the book, religion was, at first, disliked, because it seemed more controlling than necessary. I think that maybe this can be said about not just religion in general, but about the particular beliefs found in them. The main question I have about this topic is if there is a necessary trade off of free will for ascension and is it worth it? God did, after all, grant us free will on earth, the ability to make our own decisions and mistakes. This could mean that the “trade off” has already happened once, when we were put on earth, so maybe we trade back when we die.

This is just something that I found intriguing. It in no way reflects my beliefs; I am simply stating an idea that popped into my head at the time.