To me, this post marks a little milestone in my illustrious blog. This will be my fiftieth post and I hope to make the occasion something a little special. I note this as a milestone because it is the longest period of time with writing on a daily routine for me. It comes as a small bit of personal therapy to share bits of myself. I have recovered a lot from this and hope to continue. So, in honor of number fifty, here are some thoughts that I pulled from my files.
Each of us has a manner of philosophy when it comes to the different social issues that are swirling around the media coverage. In the past, during the present, and suggested in our dreams of the future, we have our idea of a utopian world. Some might see that the world would be at peace if cultural or religious beliefs did not get in the way of logical thoughts. This might lead a few minds to believe that if we were able to forget some of the differences that we have with each other, then we might have a chance to settle our squabbles over wealth, power, and resources. However, what kind of a world would we have if everyone was forced to think the same?
This brought me to the idea that the human race has a strong root in the concept of conflict. It is just as strong as the need we have for stability and order. It is this very opposition of world views that fuels the events of the world and the stories of our cultures. In a fictional story, there is a need for the protagonist to move the world around from static order to healing change or from destructive chaos to stable order. The characters in the story work from these diametrically opposing views in their own ways.
It was this ideal that helped me come to the general thought of a novel that I am working on. In it, I was to shake up some of the classical myths such as Zeus reigning on high. I have been a student of these very stories. In recent times, I have watched movies and read books to compare my thoughts. Most of them present the struggle of the Olympians facing off or being helped to battle against the imprisoned Titans. In some, the Titans are attempting to escape and use someone to help. Others, the Olympians are simply trying to stay important to the mortals, so they do not become obsolete. In the end, the mortals find immortality as a hero to help the Olympians retain their powers.
So, here is my idea. From the collections of myths and epic poems, the ancient Hellenes were able to pass along a connection story of heroes called the Trojan Cycle. It is this thread of myths and legends that we are able to see the Trojan War and its heroes play out. By the end, we have come to understand the rage of Achilles, the authority of Agamemnon, and the cleverness of Odysseus. Their names live on and the Olympians continue to keep their place. To the Romans, who inherited this legacy, the story continues into their world with the travels of Anchises and Aeneas. Each tales is a struggle of the healing change against the static world except Aeneas. He is presented at the foundation of Rome and its evolution into imperial order. My thought was what would happen if something through this cycle in a different way.
As it begins with a Titan confessing his knowledge to Zeus about the son of Thetis, I thought that it would be an incredible tale to have Zeus ignore the prediction and take Thetis for himself. This simple turn would bring some great adventures and lead to a climatic conflict with all the races of classical mythology. I have constructed the characters and the outline. I hope to present some excerpts here and hope that everyone enjoys.
My thanks to all that have made this blog a success so far and I will continue to offer more.
The mysteries of our world’s history can easily pull anyone into the topic. Each country or culture has a story or legend about some mysterious event or person. Around the stronger and long-lived mysteries, the legendary histories become part of our myths and slow become something beyond any evidence that is presented. The Western civilizations presented stories of great sky gods that came forth and conquered the chthonic powers. Mostly, it was an assertion of a patriarchal system over the primitive notions of a matriarchal belief.
Each culture that comes into existence finds a way to explain the core principles of the society through legends and mysteries. Native Americans have a long tradition of legends that they pass along in the oral traditions. This method has a tendency to alter some of the details, but the firm core of these principles is locked in place. It is the character of the culture and how we outsiders relate to them as a group or as individuals. A group of people are the sum of all their parts.
It is from this topic of mysteries and legends that the idea of cultural stereotypes is pulled. In the U.S., each state has its own customs, protocols, and traditions. The country as a whole has its customary reputation to the world and the viewed traditions. At the local community level, the structure becomes even more constricted to a view. Yet, we are all individuals who seek to stand out in the crowd. We are also all human beings.
Given all this, it is quite curious that we instantly have a stereotype in our head. I am sure that this is true in many countries around the world. One town down the road may have had a foolish person perform some unwise act and since we don’t take the next step to learn about the rest of the community, we immediately assume that all the members of the community have the same mindset. That town is full of fools and should be avoided.
No one can claim complete innocence to this reaction because we all have a tendency to categorize other groups without learning who they really are. Not even this author can claim complete innocence. However, we are capable of learning that this may come naturally from our experience or environment; it is not something that must become the judgment of our interaction with a group or person based on this response. We look to the soul of the person and learn about them.
It should be considered that all this that it is the mark of a great person who can overcome the instinctive response and control how they act. It is a greater mark for one who can create a true habit from this control. Human beings have reached a level of sentience that gives us the ability to think before we leap.
It is within all human beings to seek the answers of the mysteries and legends. The stories are not always factual, but they do have a gleaming core of knowledge hiding in the tale. It is essential that the decisions that are made and the instincts that are adjusted are based on the background of the person or group. Ignorance and intolerance will eagerly appear and fog the mind. Become a pupil of cognizance and liberality.
Remember, no matter our background, genetic makeup, or legends, we are all human beings with all these gifts. No need to be lazy and not learn about the other person.
‘If you walk a mile in another man’s shoes, you can experience the world as he does.’ There is a truth to this old quip of wisdom. It can be a piece of wisdom that rests in the soul and helps us to understand each other without constantly being in conflict with the entire world. This part has allowed large groups of people collect under certain ideals with a collective understanding. For example, in the United States, each state has its own ideals, while all look to the national ideals of patriotism and democracy. However, in each state, these national ideals hold different meanings and priorities. It is strength to be made of so many ideas, yet the nation needs to be aware of the dangers. A single spark could ignite the entire powder keg.
We cling to the ideas that we are able to understand another’s points of view, but our references for the experience return to the subjective points. As hard as one might try, it is impossible to actually taste or smell as another does. The sights and sensations are quite different for each of us. The basis of our conscious mind to grasp these stimuli and the experience that each will bring must have a reference. So, it is common to pull from one’s own experiences and thoughts, but one can use the gift of imagination to find the true sense. In other words, the validity of the objective experience weakens against the subjective.
It is this very notion that we are all unique creatures placed on this planet as part of the complex system known as Nature. Yet, with our individuality, we each try to connect with others in order to remain involved in the system. It is this conflict of community and individuality that has returned to the surface. In thoughtfulness of this conflict, one can draw from their lives to construct the evidence to support one side or the other.
This particular conflict has a way of opening the eyes and minds of those who are within and outside of it. Caught in the battleground, it is difficult just to see what is around a person. It is immediately the priority of this warrior to survive and find a way to resolve the struggle. Each moment is another chance for that resolution. This experience can either lead to the disillusion of the ideals held by the warrior or alter the perceptions about the other side. The conflict has a manner of giving the individual the necessary thoughts for a new path.
A quarrel of the community can be similar in the means of survival and resolution, but the group has the ideals around which the people assemble. As the war rumbles on into history, these groups are touched by losses and experiences given to them vicariously from members who survived. Yet, the community holds steady to their ideals until the bitter end. It is difficult to alter the entire group, but they can recover with deeper understanding. The collective becomes stronger by its parts surviving with knowledge.
Back to the quip, one can see that the wisdom is attempting to construct a solid bridge between the sides. It wants to force the self-examination while pushing the view to remain objective. Within this context, the conflict can begin to create the third option that continues to elude our pursuit. There remains no easy path to the answer, so the search must continue and the struggle must never stop.
With this thought, society has a way of holding true to the ideals that brought them together. From the earliest times in our world’s history, men have found various ideals to promote in their community as well as with each individual. Take the ideal of immortality, various myths and legends incite us with the idea that a being can be free of the natural concerns of time. Gilgamesh sought the secrets of immortality in order to give his kingdom stability with him as its ruler. The story follows his trials and successes, but the pursuit of this prize cost him the greatest friend that he would ever have. His failure to achieve this goal did not fail to help his community. They learned a valuable lesson that such quests will lead to destruction for the individual, but the community gained the knowledge. However, Gilgamesh did achieve his prize as his name has lived on.
Essentially, there is a balance that can be found in the two sides of our world thinking with individuality and community, but both sides will have to pay the price. In this, there is hope that the future will provide us with that third option and remove the price tag.