Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Theory of Forms’

 “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”:
“Fictional Universes and their effects on Reality”:
guarda_griega1_2-1-1
 “Intersections” by Anila Quayyum Agha. Contemporary artist.

“Intersections” by Anila Quayyum Agha. Contemporary artist.

guarda_griega1_2-1-1
________________________________________________________________________
►About Jorge Luis Borges, author of  “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”: 
borges

Jorge Luis Borges (1899/1986).

Jorge Luis Borges (1899/1986) was an Argentine writer, acclaimed in many other countries.

“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” originally appeared in Spanish in “Sur magazine” in may 1940. It was then published in book form in “Antología de la Literatura Fantástica” (december 1940), then in Borges’s 1941 collection “El Jardín de Senderos que se Bifurcan” (“The Garden of Forking Paths”). That entire book was, in turn, included within “Ficciones” (1944).
 ________________________________________________________________________
“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”: Synopsis. Structure. Points of View (POVs):
Synopsis: The narrator (Borges) randomly comes across an article about a region called Uqbar. He then finds an Encyclopedia about Tlön (a country in Uqbar). The enigmatic story reveals that Tlön and Ubqar are fictitious places, invented by a secret society called Orbis Tertius.
Structure, and Points of View (POVs)The story is divided into three parts.
The Points of Views in “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius are basically two.
First Person, when the actions of the story are filtered through the observations of one character. Present in the first section, as a protagonist. 
Third Person; Predominantly Objective in the second and third section (postscript), but with Omniscient/all-knowing features in the postscript, as well. (For more about Points of View, check out Jeri Walker´s thorough post: “Picking a Point of View”).
 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•
►”Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”:
Detailed summary and analysis by sections:
tlon__uqbar__orbis_tertius1) ♠In the first section, the narrator and his friend and writer, Adolfo Bioy Casares,  discuss a hypothetical novel in the first person, whose narrator would omit or disfigure the facts and indulge in various contradictions” (Page 1, according to University of Yale´s transcript).
The mirror in the hallway reminds Bioy Casares of an article in The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia  about a country named Uqbar.
Casares then quotes a saying he remembers from a heresiarch of Uqbar: “Mirrors and copulation are abominable, for they multiply the number of mankind”. (Page 1, according to University of Yale´s transcript).
Borges asks him where he had found that quote. Casares believed that Uqbar, along with the quotation, was catalogued in The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia. Borges also has that same book in his place, but oddly it does not mention Uqbar, so he asks Bioy for further details. The following day, Bioy Casares brings him a copy containing the entry on Uqbar, with the quotation he had paraphrased.
There is something very interesting when it comes to the narrative structure here. It all starts with the apocryphal quotation, a sort of riddle that leads to an enlargement occurring in a staggered form: From the discovery of the text, to the imaginary country called Uqbar (vaguely situated in Asia, according to the article in The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia) and then to Tlön (one of the two regions of Uqbar, alongside Mlejnas).
•~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•
 
2) ♠The second section describes the narrator’s discovery of a volume of the Encyclopedia of Tlön, left behind in a bar by an Englishman, Herbert Ashe. This happens in 1937, meaning two years after Bioy Casares and Borges´ first knowledge of Uqbar and Tlön. Ashe´s manuscript  was the eleventh volume of a complete Encyclopedia surveying the imaginary city of Tlön.
The volume has on its first page a stamped blue oval inscribed “Orbis Tertius” (“third orb,” in Latin).
According to Borges, this encyclopedia entails a methodical and orderly infinitesimal plan, devised by a sect.
Borges describes some of the characteristics and features of Tlön and its people, based on the volume of the Encyclopedia he had found.
We can summarize some of the main points as:
-Tlön is divided in two hemispheres. In none of these hemispheres, nouns are included in their languages.
-People of this imaginary planet are “idealist” and do not believe in the material, objective existence of their surroundings.
-The world itself is understood as a series of mental processes lacking temporal duration. The lack of spatial relations across time lead to a distorted conception of identity. 
berkeleyThe philosopher Berkeley is mentioned by Borges as a referent in Tlön. Of course, not in practical way but more as Borges´interpretation. Bishop George Berkeley (18th century) was an Irish philosopher whose primary achievement was the advancement of a theory he called “immaterialism” or “subjective idealism”. This theory denies the existence of material substance and instead contends that objects are only ideas in the minds of perceiver and, as a result, cannot exist without being perceived.
Berkeley believed God to be present as an immediate cause of all our experiences.
Here is Berkeley’s proof of the existence of God: “Whatever power I may have over my own thoughts, I find the ideas actually perceived by Sense have not a like dependence on my will. When in broad daylight I open my eyes, it is not in my power to choose whether I shall see or no, or to determine what particular objects shall present themselves to my view; and so likewise as to the hearing and other senses; the ideas imprinted on them are not creatures of my will. There is therefore some other Will or Spirit that produces them”. (Berkeley. Principles #29).
Inhabitants of the imaginary Tlön hold an extreme form of George Berkeley’s subjective idealism, denying the reality of the world.
Their world is seen not as a concurrence of objects in space, but as a heterogeneous series of independent acts.
Borges says: “The nations of this planet are congenitally idealist. Their language and the derivations of their language – religion, letters, metaphysics – all presuppose idealism. The world for them is not a concourse of objects in space; it is a heterogeneous series of independent acts. It is successive and temporal, not spatial”. (Page 7, according to University of Yale´s transcript).
But Tlön is a world of Berkeleyan idealism with one critical omission: it lacks the omnipresent, perceiving deity on whom Berkeley relied as a point of view demanding an internally consistent world.
The idea of eternal present appears in the second section.
Aristotle (384 /322) .

Aristotle (384 /322) .

Borges mentions: “One of the schools of Tlön goes so far as to negate time: it reasons that the present is indefinite, that the future has no reality other than as a present memory” (Page 8, according to University of Yale´s transcript).

The idea of time as Indefinite Present could be linked to Aristotle. Aristotle argues that the essence of time is the now, to nun.  
The “now” is given simultaneously as that which is no longer and as that which is not yet. Aristotle defines time as “a number of change in respect of the before and after”. As time implies a sense of a before and after, for Aristotle time is the coming-to-be and passing-away of nows moving in an irreversible, lineal way.
The First Encyclopedia of Tlön makes reference to two types of special objects: hronirs and urs
Hronirs are lost objects that could be found, or better said “produced” by people or animals. They entail a sort of duplication, being somehow clones or copies of the original object.
But, Borges suggests that a copy of another hronir would be deficient: “Curiously, the hronir of second and third degree – the hronir derived from another hron, those derived from the hron of a hron – exaggerate the aberrations of the initial one”. (Page 12, according to University of Yale´s transcript).
Furthermore, Borges states that according to an experiment done with Tlön inmates: “expectation and anxiety can be inhibitory (when it comes to produce the secondary objects)” (Page 11, according to University of Yale´s transcript).
He also says that the reverse can occur: “Things became duplicated in Tlön; they also tend to become effaced and lose their details when they are forgotten. A classic example is the doorway which survived so long it was visited by a beggar and disappeared at his death” (Page 12 , according to University of Yale´s transcript). 
Finally, Borges also mentions a different type of secondary objects: Urs.  “An ur is the object produced through suggestion, educed by hope”. (Page 12 , according to University of Yale´s transcript).
Walter Benjamin (1892/1940).

Walter Benjamin (1892/1940).

The description of Hronirs, and especially how the copies might be defective could be linked to Walter Benjamin´s idea of “loss of the aura”. In his essay, “The Work of Art In The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”, Benjamin-one of the most well-known members of the Frankfurt School describes the so-called “loss of the aura”, in the context of mechanical reproduction of art. The aura represents the originality and authenticity of a work of art that has not been reproduced. In the age of mechanical reproduction, mass consumption is the cause of the loss of the aura, and, therefore, the loss of a singular authority within the work of art itself. However, for Walter Benjamin, a distance from the aura is a good thing. The loss of the aura has the potential to open up the politicization of art, whether or not that opening is detrimental or beneficial is yet to be determined.

guarda_griega1_2-1

 guarda_griega1_2-1-1
•~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•
3) ♠Third and last section (Postcript):  The postscript reveals that Tlön and Ubqar are fictitious places, invented by a secret society called Orbis Tertius. This society worked for three hundred years and came up with the imaginary lands Uqbar and Tlön.
In his postcript, Borges notes several “intrusions” of Tlön into the real world, the most notable being the 1942 discovery of a Tlönian artifact in the hand of a dying man: a small metal cone of unknown material which was inexplicably heavy.
Borges says that all forty volumes of the Encyclopedia of Tlön were discovered and published in a library in Memphis. The material then became accessible worldwide, and immensely influential on Earth’s culture, science and languages. By the time Borges concludes the story (presumably in 1947) the world is already gradually disintegrating and transforming into Tlön. Besides, every domain of human knowledge has been rewritten to accommodate the truths of Tlön, and Borges expects the process to continue in the future.
guarda_griega1_2-1
guarda_griega1_2-1
 •~~~•~~~ •~~~•~~~•~~~•~~~•
“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”: Final Thoughts:
Based on a very complex temporal structure, this short story consists of three parts and two moments of enunciation. That is, the first part introduces Uqbar; the second presents Tlön; and the third, Orbis Tertius.
Also, the first two parts were, according to the fiction itself, written in 1940, while the third was written in  1947.
However as previously mentioned, this short story was first published in 1940.
The passage of time has diluted the effect that Borges sought and, instead, has favored the erroneous assumption that he added the postscript at the historical, “actual”  date of 1947.
anglo-american-cyclopedia1The three stages of the same plan are revealed through two texts: The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia entails the discovery of Uqbar. The First Encyclopaedia of Tlön, leads to know about the fantastic planet called Tlön, while the letter addressed to Herbert Ashe, explains plans and contingencies of the society Orbis Tertius. These three texts are either copies, or give birth of them.
The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia is a Fallacious copy of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Besides, the literalness of The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia is a hoax, as only in one volume of three the characters managed to find the article on Uqbar.
In this same line of analysis, although the narrator refers to the original text of the eleventh volume of A First Encyclopaedia of Tlön, in the postscript a second version of that encyclopedia is mentioned.
This newest version also distorts its original. At least as far as the eleventh volume concerns. The volumen that the narrator found in 1937 is modified in the version exhumed in 1944. The modifications refer to certain “incredible features”, such as the curious objects that duplicate in Tlön, the hrönir.
Finally, the Postcript suggests that the letter addressed to Herbert Ashe might have been reproduced in order to publicize the existence of Tlön and its imminent invasion of Reality. The narrator (Borges himself) is included in this work, summarizing the content of the letter.
Plato (427/347 BCE).-

Plato (427/347 BCE).-

The duplication and proliferation of copies  might allude to Plato´s Theory of Forms

In his dialogue Phaedo, Plato defends the world of the archetypes (Ideas/Forms)  by comparing it with the sensible world. While the Idea or archetype contains within itself an absolute and immutable value, the sensible copy reproduces this value in a partial, nether degree. 
In “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” the Platonic attitude of disdain towards copies is enunciated from the beginning, with the imprecise quote that Bioy Casares mentions and which Borges attunes, later on.
Back to the quote, not only mirrors and copulation multiply and spread the universe. It seems that texts also do. In this sense, multiplication tends to alter the reproduced texts (simplifying them or modifying them). However, when it comes to the subsequent development of the encyclopedias in this story, one could conclude that the copies might “improve” the respective originals.
globe-glassDisorted Copies and Mirrors are elements that relate one to each other.
The mirror in Borges appears as a sort of unifying element between Reality and Fantasy. The perfect symbiosis between the real and the Fictional world ultimately demarcates the limits of the mirror.
In the case of Tlön, the narrative is constructed as a mirror. The image reflected is a “distorted and parodied” image of our own Culture.
Tlön is presented before hand as unreal, to finally persuade us that fictional planet is our world.
The resource used in this story is to render unlikely any event of reality. We could conclude that mental facts have woven a warp of such real consistency that it reaches the “real” world, introducing doubts to the reader.
On the Left: Hyperbolic tessellation: Circle Limit III, by M. C. Escher. 1959. On the right: Butterfly by M. C. Escher. 1960´s.

On the Left: Hyperbolic tessellation: Circle Limit III, by M. C. Escher. 1959. On the right: Butterfly by M. C. Escher. 1960´s.

This short story has both detective novel and dystopian novel elements.
In the first sense, the crime here described is the proliferation of fiction in the world of the narrator.

Or, said in other words, the death of reality due to the effects caused by the multiplication of Tlön:

“The contact and the habit of Tlön have disintegrated this world. Enchanted by its rigor, humanity forgets over and again that it is a rigor of chess masters, not of angels. Already the schools have been invaded by the (conjectural) “primitive language” of Tlön; already the teaching of its harmonious history (filled with moving episodes) has wiped out the one which governed in my childhood; already a fictitious past occupies in our memories the place of another, a past of which we know nothing with certainty – not even a that it is false…. If our forecasts are not in error, a hundred years from now someone will discover the hundred volumes of the Second Encyclopedia of Tlön.  Then English and French and mere Spanish will disappear from the globe. The world will be Tlön“.  (Page 16, according to University of Yale´s transcript).
Speculation is necessary here. For fiction to affect reality until it is annihilated, as happens when Tlön -as invention- influences reality, certain coherence is required. That is why, as we have seen, Borges´jigsaws, characters and researches are purely intellectual. Being these strategic elements of the genre available, a “real” world (the narrator’s) is constructed, as opposed to the “unreal” world of Tlön (which, however, is also made up of ideas). This is what allows Reality to be annihilated by Fiction.
As to the Dystopian factor, it is worth highlighting that the secret society Orbis Tertius had planned a textual conspiracy, directed to operate through a series of speeches and aiming to subjugate humanity. Subjugation subtly occurs Language, implying a perversion of rhetoric.
Taking this interpretation further, the disappearance of “English, French and Spanish” could allude to the Third Reich project of destroying the heterogeneity of civilization in favor of the predominance of a superior “race”.
Finally, the Dystopian element is surreptitiously expressed in the use of language (Otherwise, and also, as a resource of Power).
The story begins with a memory of Bioy Casares extracted from an apocryphal book. It ends with a destructive invasion of the real world by “objects” (which are nothing else but ideas) from a false world, published by an apocryphal book: the First Encyclopaedia of Tlön.
In fine, the story as a whole seems to contain an otherwise positive warning, about the limitations of language.
Language, without more reference than itself, can not allow us to distinguish between the apocryphal and the authentic, between what is false and what is true.🔚
______________________________________________________________________________
 

➰☑️ “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius”:

►Read “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” by Jorge Luis Borges.

Translation to English from Yale University. Click Here. 

______________________________________________________________________________
►Links Post:
http://art.yale.edu/file_columns/0000/0066/borges.pdf
http://ciudadseva.com/texto/tlon-uqbar-orbis-tertius/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tl%C3%B6n,_Uqbar,_Orbis_Tertius
http://jeriwb.com/picking-a-point-view-57117/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BxOE3bO6SM&t=14m2s
http://hyperallergic.com/75485/borges-and-xul-solar-illuminating-an-artistic-friendship/
http://losojosdeborges.blogspot.com.ar/2004/12/tln-uqbar-orbis-tertius.html
http://ficcionesborges.blogspot.com.ar/2005/05/tln-uqbar-orbis-tertius-sobre-lo.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Berkeley
https://belate.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/aristotle-definition-of-time-in-physics/
https://frankfurtschool.wordpress.com/2008/02/28/summary-the-work-of-art-in-the-age-of-mechanical-reproduction/
 ______________________________________________________________________________

Read Full Post »

►Philosophy: “Plato´s Cave and Fifteen Million Merits” (Black Mirror):

guarda_griega1_2-1

fifteen-million-merits-1

guarda_griega1_2-1

__________________________________________________________________

Hello readers! This is a post in collaboration with Christy Birmingham, from Poetic Parfait and When Women Inspire. You might wonder how the idea of writing this post came up. Well, basically, I had begun watching Season Three of Black Mirror, which was recently released on Netflix. I told Christy how much I liked it, and, from that moment, we started chatting about the series. Soon after, Christy watched “The Entire History of You”, which is the third episode of the first season, followed by “Fifteen Million Merits” (the second episode of the same season).

We discussed both episodes. And we decided to do a post on the latter. Therefore, this complete post was a result of the exchanges of points of views. But each one of us focused on particular themes.

cb1

Christy Birmingham

Christy wrote about Abi (before and after “Hot Shot”), the concept of being overweight (as it is socially considered and shown in this episode), and added the final thoughts. She also had a major task proofreading the entire article and helping me sort out doubts along the process. For all this, I wish to take the opportunity to convey my gratitude to Christy.

As to me, I wrote other parts of the review, the allegory of the cave, and the ending section concerning the existing analogies between Plato´s Allegory of the Cave and this episode.

With that being said, keep in mind that you can watch this episode of Black Mirror on Netflix or here. Thanks for dropping by and we hope you enjoy the reading. 

guarda_griega1_2-1-1___________________________________________________________________________________

⇒The Allegory of the Cave:

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is written as a dialogue between Plato’s teacher Socrates and Plato’s brother Glaucon at the beginning of  “The Republic”, Book VII (514a–520a).

In the allegory, Plato likens people to prisoners chained in an underground cave, unable to turn their heads.

All they can see is the wall of the cave, upon which shadows of the world above are thrown.

The puppeteers, who are behind the prisoners, hold up puppets that cast shadows on the wall of the cave. These so-called “puppeteers” are just people outside the cave who walk along this walkway, who presumably carry things on their heads. Hence, what the prisoners see and hear are shadows and echoes cast by objects that they do not see, believing that the shadows of objects are real objects.

One of the prisoners then is freed from their bindings and leaves the cave.

Blinded by the light, he is unable to see anything and longs for the familiar darkness. But, eventually, his eyes adjust to the light. Finally, he beholds the sun, which is the main source of knowledge. 

As he becomes used to his new surroundings, he realizes that his former view of reality was wrong.

But he is despised when he returns to the cave. Those who never left the cave ridicule him and swear never to go into the light lest they be blinded as well.

plato-s-cave

The allegory of the Cave explains Plato´s Theory of Forms.

The Theory of Forms maintains that two distinct levels of reality exist: the visible world of sights and sounds that we inhabit and the intelligible world of Forms that stands above the visible world and gives it being. The visible world or World of Appearances consists of Images and Visible Things. But images have less entity than visible things (tangible things). In the Intelligible World we have the mathematical objects (not important for this analysis) and The Forms. 

Plato (427/347 BCE).-

Plato (427/347 BCE).-

For Plato, the Forms were basically the Ideas (also called Essences behind the visible Things).

Forms are not mental entities, nor even mind-dependent. They are independently existing entities whose existence and nature are graspable only by the mind, even though they do not depend on being so grasped in order to exist. Things are “useful” because as they allow us to recognize the Idea or Form behind and Beyond them. 

An example concerns the Idea of Beauty. All the beautiful things we can see are beautiful only because they participate in the more general Form of Beauty. This Form of Beauty is itself invisible, eternal, and unchanging, unlike the things in the visible world that can grow old and lose their beauty. This applies to all objects, as they are ideas for them too. Natural objects, such as trees and animals each link back to their respective Form or Idea. As to manufactured objects, that´s a different issue as Plato would rather consider them “artificial”; meaning “images of Things” (and so that was the case for Plato with all artistic creations, for instance).

plato-s-cave-1


⇒Fifteen Million Merits:

Black Mirror is a British television series created by Charlie Brooker that features dark, speculative fiction and examines modern society, particularly with regard to the unanticipated consequences of new technologies.

This series has three seasons so far, and it streams on Netflix. 

Fifteen Million Merits is the second episode of Season One of the series.

The episode depicts a society in which people have to generate the energy that runs the entire society, pedaling on stationary bikes for hours at a time. This is a world where technological pleasure and instant gratification always depend on computers, where the real world and the virtual world are completely intertwined and almost everything natural has been replaced by technology. 

fifteen-million-merits

“Fifteen Million Merits” has all of these elements. It is also a satirical approach to the capitalist society from a technological perspective. Characters are mainly clients and their “money” is a fungible value. Not money, though, but “merits” instead. The idea of merit, rather, seems to respond to the demands of a society in which  the Division of Labor is no longer needed. 

So, basically, everyone plays the same role. Each individual is both a creator and consumer of manufacturing inputs. Besides, leisure time and working time are not clearly divided. While people work (pedalling to generate energy), they are allowed to watch television.

Everyone wears grey clothes, except those who clean the place, who wear yellow and are most times bullied and even depicted in video games as “targets” to shoot.

The cleaners wear bright yellow outfits, which is in sharp contrast to the blasé grey sweat suits of the peddlers. Look closely at the cleaners, who carry dust bins and brooms, and notice that they are all overweight.

Soon it becomes clear in the TV episode that their weight relates to why they are cleaners rather than peddlers, and that being a cleaner is a job that is beneath the people on the bikes. For example, one very excitable man on a bike taunts the workers whenever they come around him. He mocks the outfit and weight of one male cleaner, who never talks back to him.

fifteen-million-merits-01

fifteen-million-merits-02

It seems that when a person becomes overweight, they are removed from the bike work and put to work cleaning the floor instead.

There are many issues being brought up here. Firstly, the way society is organized is that overweight people are considered lower-class citizens. Fitness is considered a strength while being large is symbolic of the weak.

Also, there is obviously bullying going on here, from a “higher” class of society to a “lower” one. Being bullied for a person’s weight is something that happens today, but Fifteen Million Merits takes it to a whole new level in the future.

Aside from talking down to the cleaners, the people in grey outfits also shoot at the yellow figures who appear in video games. The yellow people who look like the floor cleaners are part of games that are similar to “Call of Duty”. They are shot at by the peddlers on the bike and the shooting games continue when the peddlers return to their homes too.

million-merits2

fats

Furthermore, if people are not working at same sole task, they are locked in their prison cell of video screens that cover every surface from floor to ceiling, pumping out an endless stream of inane comedy, reality TV and softcore porn. It is worth noting though that under these televisual circumstances, there is no place for intimacy. Being spectators of TV shows means that you appear in the show as an avatar who makes your reactions public .

We could assume that this “world” is the result of some sort of energy crisis. Hence, the population is needed to power their lights instead. Their existence is pretty miserable to contemplate; so much of the energy is used to distract the same citizenry as they perform their mundane tasks.

bing2

The story has two main characters. Bing and Abi.

Bing is confronted with an artificial, media-saturated world, and yet he is hungry for something more.

Like most dystopian stories, he gets a hint that there could be something more when he meets the pretty Abi, and soon after he hears her singing, he falls for her.

Her innocence and naïvety are attractive to Bing, but her singing hints at something even deeper.  In his eyes, her beauty is something that goes beyond everything,  in a world covered with dark multimedia screens (black mirrors).

Even if they don´t have physical contact (there is an occasion when they briefly hold hands in an elevator, though), there is something magical between them, a spark of reality, so to speak.

There is symbol which seems to represent their bond. The little penguin, which recurrently appears.  It probably represents “something lost” (maybe Nature as it seems the characters are locked and pent-up in a “fake” world where real things are barely available).

This little animal appears many times throughout the episode as an origami penguin, carefully folded by Abi. Besides, Abi´s avatar wears a dress with penguins on it. And, at the end of the episode, the penguin motif takes on a quite heart-breaking significance at the episode’s conclusion, as Bing has a statue of a penguin in his luxurious but minimalist penthouse.
fifteen-million-merits-black-mirror-penguin
Abi and Bing´s relationship is good. But, that’s just the beginning of the story. In a world where everything is a spectacle, where everything can be objectified, repackaged and sold back to an always hungry viewership, what happens with feelings and with human experiences?.

That´s when the we learn about “Hot Shot”, as an equivalent to “The X Factor” or “American Idol” in this episode, which seems to be the entrance to fame and a life free of duties (the bike).

“Hot Shot” depicts pretty much a “roman circus”.

abi2The committee on the TV-show “Hot Shot” consist of three judges named “Wraith”, “Hope”, and “Charity”. The theological virtues of Christianity are “Faith”, “Hope” and “Charity”. These were traditionally the path to follow in order to attain salvation. The change from “Faith” to “Wraith” is justified because our faith is now on the virtual world. The new salvation is to be successful, to obtain a more real virtuality.

Bing is so charmed by Abi´s song that he spends his dead brother’s 15 million merits to get her on “Hot Shot”, where she’s an instant sensation. Drugged by some sort of milk called “Cuppliance” (which is a composed word, resulting of the sum of “cup” and “compliance”), she goes along with Judge Wraith and becomes a porn star, in a wrenching twist.

Celebrity culture entails a sort of moral nihilism, the show in question leads to a dark voyeurism, which goes deep into other people’s humiliation, pain, weakness, and betrayal. Spectators appear as avatars, a crowded, anonymous audience facing the stage, staring at the contestants while they are just watching the screen in their cells (and represented as avatars in the audience).

fifteen-million-merits-06

fifteen-million-merits

The crowd starts to chant for Abi to take the spot offered to her by the judge to become a porn star. In this case, when Abi is on stage, having drunk the “Cuppliance” beverage, she gives in to the social pressure of the crowd. While she is uncomfortable with the idea of becoming a porn star, as shown by her hesitation, the crowd’s chanting become gets stronger and louder.

Abi is being bullied. After all, the floor cleaners are not the only ones bullied in this society. She is being harassed digitally, which we can already see happening in real life today with death threats on Facebook and Twitter, for example. We soon learn the negative impacts of intimidation when we see the career that Abi ends up feeling forced to choose.

fifteen-million-merits-02

In addition to the bullying, Abi is also submitting to something bigger than herself, which happens in many societies today. Whether you call it peer pressure (the crowd) or the pressure of authority (the judges), or a combination of the two, this Black Mirror episode takes the influence of others to the extreme. She wants approval, as so many people do in the world today.

fifteen-million-merits-black-mirror

But Abi suffers terribly for getting this approval. She enters the porn world, as the judges and audience both encouraged her to do, and soon videos of her being demoralized by men are flashed across digital screens everywhere. While she no longer has to ride the bike all day, her new role is demeaning, including an image on the screens of a man putting his finger into her mouth and she is physically beneath him, which shows he has the power over her, body and all.

Abi is now officially part of the “Wraith Babes” stream that has “the hottest girls in the nastiest situations” as the announcer’s voice on the stream repeatedly says when it is shown on screens. So sad, as no girl says that she wants to grow up to star in pornography. Instead, Abi – like some women in today’s world – have been pressured into doing degrading sexual acts to please others. It is a depressing look at women’s bodies being exploited for the instant gratification of other people.

This example of Ali is taken to the extreme in a few ways. Firstly, she is viewed by Bing as being pure and innocent, including having an angelic voice; she is the ultimate example of peer pressure’s consequences. Also, the pornography featuring her is spread across huge digital screens for everyone to see, rather than being viewed on private websites or seedy theaters.

fifteen-million-merits-06

Once Abi is caught in the porn universe, the ads featuring her torture a broken Bing. He destroys his room and sets upon a revenge mission, earning another shot on the show and giving a rough speech with a shard of glass pointed at his neck. The sequence in question is perfectly done.

bing

It is mostly an act of rebellion that leaves the audience numb and silent until  Judge Hope proclaims it the most heartfelt thing they’ve ever seen on the show. Soon after the Judge´s evaluation, the audience begin to cheer and clap hands in a standing ovation.

Bings´s speech is a little bit of the major irony here. He speaks out the truth (maybe because he cheats and avoid drinking the beverage Abi had when she performed, as he had hidden the dispenser under his bed).

Judge Hope says he is deeply moved by his words and offers him to have his own show twice a week for half an hour each. And Bing, persuaded by the judge and audience, accepts. 

So, ultimately he also sells himself out. In other words, he becomes entertainment himself. Speaking trite truths about consumerism and vociferating sold out prejudices concerning non-genuine life. While using the glass in his throat while he speaks, in a threatening tone as if he is going to commit suicide. 

fifteen-million-merits

fifteen-million-merits-black-mirror-1

_____________________________________________________________________

⇒Concluding Thoughts on Fifteen Million Merits:

As with the other Black Mirror episodes, Fifteen Million Merits is a smart hour of science fiction television. It shows a dark side of technology and the excesses that the world could come to in the future if electronic devices are not used wisely by humans. It could wind up that the world is short on energy, that we cannot get away from digital screens, and that bullying is a bigger side-effect of a tech-savvy lifestyle than ever before.

But, perhaps we have to squirm in our seats watching this kind of television to be able to make more sense of the world, our place in it, and how to use technology responsibly in the future.

Or, it could just be that we recognize that technology can also challenge our ways of thinking about the future, human nature, and electronic gadgets. What we know for sure is that we do not plan to buy or wear a grey sweat suit anytime soon.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

_________________________________________________

⇒Fifteen Million Merits and Plato´s Allegory of the Cave:

The interrelations between this episode and Plato´s Allegory of the Cave could be summarized as follows.

People´s approach of Reality is given basically through images of things. These things are screen images, and all sorts of images most times on the screens, of the cells or on TVs in front of the Bikes.

People are represented by avatars, meaning by images of themselves, the merits are charged to those avatars, as if it was a video game.

Most importantly, people are prisoners of a cave.

They live locked up there. Everyone has his own cells, in which each perimeter consists of screens.

The screens  continuously emit shows and do so unless it is the night. 

If the prisoner wants to watch a show, he´ll have to pay for it. And if he wants to skip ads, he´ll have to do the same.

The main shows are hosted and owned by the Judges of the show “Hot Shot” (Judge Charity, Judge Hope and Judge Wraith). So, basically, the Judges are somehow the puppeteers.

Bing is the “released prisoner”. After Abi´s performance and after she enters the Porn Industry (hired by Judge Wraith), he begins to see images as things, so to speak. The scene in the elevator, in which the main characters hold hands, is quite meaningful and one could even say it is a hinge moment.

Bing´s speech in “Hot Shot” shows that he is somehow the philosopher. The one who has a sharp intellect. 

Bing’s awakening makes evident the fact that the system is a huge lie and that the ideals proposed by power are alienating people instead of making them happier. Having seen the light, which is paradoxically darkness as it has to do with Abi´s prostitution, he wants to tell his former fellow prisoners about his experiences, as a sort of revolutionary leader would do. He tries to raise awareness.   

But, the irony here is that even if Judge Hope gives him the credit for his “moving” speech, whilst highlighting the importance of being “genuine”, he is not taken seriously, at least in the expected terms.

Judge Hope (who would be a sort of Crowd Pleaser) takes him to his own  field and beats him, once there.

Bing becomes an entertainer, and of the system he was defying. Light beyond the screens is unattainable as we can see in the last sequence of the episode, when he looks through a big window something that could be both thing: a real landscape or… even something more sinister: a landscape digitalized image on yet another screen.

bing-window-screen

__________________________________________________________________________________

You can watch this episode of Black Mirror here and/or here. 

_______________________________________________________________________________

fifteen-million-merits-02

_______________________________________________________________________________

Links Post:
https://goo.gl/bJ7PDQ
https://goo.gl/5bk0NS
https://goo.gl/9vq3JW
https://goo.gl/oO4nKy
_______________________________________________________________________________

Read Full Post »

mnemosyne1

guarda_griega1_7

“Mnemosyne” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1881) .-

“Mnemosyne” by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1881) .-

guarda_griega1_7

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Mnemosyne/ Μνημοσύνη (Roman equivalent: Moneta(0)) was a Titaness, goddess of Memory (1) and the inventor of Words (2)

Mnemosyne was also a goddess of time. She represented the rote memorisation required, before the introduction of writing, to preserve the stories of history and sagas of myth. She was the daughter of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth). Uranus and Gaia were the parents of the first generation of Titans, consisting of twelve elder gods/goddesses, being Mnemosyne included among them.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Genealogy of the Olympians in Greek mythology, Mnemosyne among them.-

Genealogy of the Olympians in Greek mythology, Mnemosyne among them.-

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
She was also lover of the Ruler of Gods, Zeus
After Zeus led the war against the Titans and established himself as the leader of the Olympians, he feared that, even though he might be immortal, his great victories and decisions might soon be forgotten.

Longing for a way to preserve the memory of his many great feats, he dressed as a shepherd and went to find Mnemosyne. 

The account tells that Zeus and Mnemosyne slept together for nine consecutive nights, thus birthing the nine Muses (3)

The Muses were nine young, beautiful maidens who became the representatives of poetry, the arts, the sciences and sources of inspiration.
They were often depicted as accompanied by Apollo, who represented discipline and application of the arts. The Muses were: Calliope, epic or heroic poetry Clio, history Erato, love poetry and flute-playing Euterpe, lyric poetry and lyre-playing Melpomene, tragedy Polyhymnia, sacred music and dance Terpsichore, choral music and dance Thalia, comedy and idyllic poetry Urania, astronomy and cosmological poetry.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
guarda_griega1_2-1 (1)
“Apollo and the Muses” by Simon Vouet. 1640.

“Apollo and the Muses” by Simon Vouet. 1640.

guarda_griega1_2-1 (1) ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
mne8Mnemosyne’s name derives from Mene, Moon, and mosune, ‘wooden house’ or ‘tower’, so literally means ‘the House of the Moon’.
 
The goddess Mnemosyne is sometimes credited with being the first philosopher, as her gift was the power of reason.
She was given responsibility for the naming of all objects, and by doing so gave humans the means to dialog and to converse with each other. 
The powers to place things in memory an that of remembrance were also attributed to this goddess.
 
The name Mnemosyne was also used for a river in the Underworld, Hades, which flowed parallel to the river of Lethe (4).  
Lethe was one of the five rivers of the underworld of Hades, around the cave of Hypnos, the greek god of Sleep, and through the Underworld, where all those who drank from it experienced complete forgetfulness. 
In chant XXXI of Dante’s “Divina Commedia”, at the very top of Purgatory, Dante is dipped into the River Lethe, which will cause amnesia. The chant of Asperges me (purge me) accompanies his immersion, and he then forgets his past sins and his atonement for them is complete.
Furthermore, the words Lethe or Elysium are often used as metaphors for the underworld or Hades in general.
Charon was the ferryman of the dead, in the service of the underworld domains of Hades. He received the shades of the dead from Hermes, who gathered them from the upper world and guided them through the underworld. Charon transported them in his boat to a final resting place in Hades, the land of the dead, on the other side.
The fee for his service were two coins which were placed on the eyelids of the dead person or just one coin, which was put in the mouth of the dead as a Greek burial custom .
It was believed that those who had not received due burial and were unable to pay his fee, would be left to wander the earthly side of the river Acheron, haunting the upper world as ghosts, being also unable to reincarnate.
 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
guarda_griega1_2-1-1
“Mnemosyne, The Mother of the Muses” by Frederic Leighton. (19th century).

“Mnemosyne, The Mother of the Muses” by Frederic Leighton. (19th century).

guarda_griega1_2-1-1
 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Some ancient Greeks believed that souls were made to drink from the river before being reincarnated, so they would not remember their past lives. 
Other accounts taught the existence of another river, the Mnemosyne; those who drank from the Mnemosyne would remember everything.
More specifically, according to the Orfism, a Greek mystical religious movement, the newly dead who drank from the River Lethe would lose all memory of their past existence.
The initiated were taught to seek instead the river of memory, Mnemosyne, thus securing the end of the transmigration of the soul.
 
Besides, Mnemosyne was considered a minor oracular goddess. She presided over the underground oracle of Trophonios in Boiotia. Ancient Greeks sometimes worshipped Mnemosyne in the form of a spring, alluding to her profuse, flowing energy. 
Before being brought to the oracle, initiates were taken to a place with two pools lying next to each other. They were instructed to first drink from the pool of Lethe, the Goddess of forgetfulness, in order that they might forget their previous lives. Then they were taken to the spring of Mnemosyne to drink so that they would remember all that they were about to learn from the oracle.
Finally, Mnemosyne can be related to Aletheia, the greek goddess of Truth, Remembering and the Unhidden. The Roman counterpart for this goddess is Veritas

Aletheia (ἀλήθεια) is a Greek word variously translated as “unclosedness”, “unconcealedness”, “disclosure” or “truth”. Contained within the etymology of the word Aletheia is “lethe” meaning “forgetfulness”, “oblivion” and also applicable to one of the five rivers of the Underworld in Hades, as it was previously said.

The german philosopher, Martin Heidegger in his book “Time and Being” drew out an understanding of the term as ‘unconcealedness’. According to him, aletheia is distinct from conceptions of truth understood as statements which accurately describe a state of affairs (correspondence), or statements which fit properly into a system taken as a whole (coherence).

Instead, Heidegger focused on the elucidation of how the “world” is disclosed, or opened up, in which things are made intelligible for human beings in the first place, as part of a holistically structured background of meaning.

There is also an interesting association between Memory, seen as a faculty and Plato´s theory of Ideas. Plato, through Socrates´voice, states- in the dialogue “Phaedo”- that the soul was immortal and gives four arguments to prove so.

The basis of these reasonings were previous statements which relate the ability to apprehend Ideas through a sort of process of intuitive memory.

In Plato’s Dialogues, learning appears as a process of remembering, assuming that the soul, before its incarnation in the body, was in the realm of the “Forms”. There, the soul saw the Essences-Forms or Ideas, rather than the pale shadows or copies we merely experience on earth. Hence, when we identify an object, we are just remembering the Idea or Form which remains as an incorruptible and eternal essence behind and at the same time beyond the particular object.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

guarda_griega1_7___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 ►Notes:
Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Study of Jane Morris for ‘Mnemosyne’ (detail), 1876.-

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Study of Jane Morris for ‘Mnemosyne’ (detail), 1876.-

(0) Moneta. In Roman mythology, Moneta was a title given to two separate goddesses: the goddess of memory (identified with the Greek goddess Mnemosyne) and an epithet of Juno/Hera, called Juno Moneta. Moneta is also a central figure in  John Keats‘ poem “The Fall of Hyperion: A Dream”. (See Excerp below)
‘Is Saturn’s; I Moneta, left supreme
‘Sole priestess of this desolation.’
I had no words to answer, for my tongue,
Useless, could find about its roofed home
No syllable of a fit majesty
To make rejoinder to Moneta‘s mourn.
 
(1)Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory.  Socrates: “Let us, then, say that this is the gift of Mnemosyne (Memory), the mother of the Mousai (Muses), and that whenever we wish to remember anything we see or hear or think of in our own minds, we hold this wax under the perceptions and thoughts and imprint them upon it, just as we make impressions from seal rings; and whatever is imprinted we remember and know as long as its image lasts, but whatever is rubbed out or cannot be imprinted we forget and do not know”. Plato, Theaetetus 191c (trans. Fowler).-
(2) Mnemosyne, inventor of Words. “Of the female Titanes they say that Mnemosyne discovered the uses of the power of reason, and that she gave a designation to every object about us by means of the names which we use to express whatever we would and to hold conversation one with another; though there are those who attribute these discoveries to Hermes. And to this goddess is also attributed the power to call things to memory and to remembrance (mneme) which men possess, and it is this power which gave her the name she received”. Diodorus Siculus, Library of History 5. 67. 3 (trans. Oldfather) (C1st B.C.).-
(3) Mnemosyne and Zeus, parents of  the nine Muses“And again, he [Zeus, after lying with Demeter] loved Mnemosyne with the beautiful hair: and of her the nine gold-crowned Moisai (Muses) were born”. Hesiod, Theogony 915 ff (trans. Evelyn-White) (C8th or C7th B.C.) 
(4) Mnemosyne, a river which flowed parallel to the river of Lethe. “He [Aithalides, son of Hermes, gifted with unfailing memory] has long since been lost in the inexorable waters of the Acheron, yet even so, Lethe (Forgetfulness) has not overwhelmed his soul [ie unlike the other dead he remembers his past lives and retains his memory in the underworld]”. Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica 1. 642 ff (trans. Rieu) (Greek epic C3rd B.C.).-
__________________________________________________________
guarda_griega1_3-1-1 (1)
►Gallery: “Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory ”:
guarda_griega1_3-1-1 (1)
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
“To Mnemosyne (Memory). The consort I invoke of Zeus divine; source of the holy, sweetly speaking Mousai nine; free from the oblivion of the fallen mind, by whom the soul with intellect is joined. Reason’s increase and thought to thee belong, all-powerful, pleasant, vigilant, and strong. ‘Tis thine to waken from lethargic rest all thoughts deposited within the breast; and nought neglecting, vigorous to excite the mental eye from dark oblivion’s night. Come, blessed power, thy mystics’ memory wake to holy rites, and Lethe’s (Forgetfulness) fetters break”. Orphic Hymn 77 to Mnemosyne (trans. Taylor) (Greek hymns C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.).-
 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
collaboration
This part of the post on Mnemosyne consists of a collaboration with two talented canadian women. Resa McConaghy and Christy Birmingham.
I was initially invited to join Resa and Christy in order to work in something together. Resa is an artist and costume designer and Christy a freelancer writer and poet.
I was delighted to be part of the project which figuratively unites a continent from North to South, or viceversa. And, nor less than having a Greek Goddess as pretext!.
Resa created a beautiful gown based on Mnemosyne whilst Christy wrote a poem following the same implicit prompt.
So, without further ado… I am leaving you with these two Northern Stars, and their respective contributions…
  ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
guarda_griega1_2-1 (1) RESA
guarda_griega1_2-1 (1)
Resa has created a mesmerizing gown inspired in Mnemosyne. She chose red and white for the dress and added some beautiful details such as golden traces representing Mnemosyne’s daughters, the Nine Muses. I also liked the way she introduced the iconic two masks, depicting Comedy and Tragedy.
Mnemosyne was the patroness of poets, and she played a very important role when it comes to preserve the Oral tradition. So I think this detail speaks out loud in that sense. 
Resa tells us more about this gown in her post on Goddess Mnemosyne, which you will be able to find on her blog Art Gowns.
 ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

guarda_griega1_2-1-1

Goddess Mnemosyne. Artgown by © Resa McConaghy. 2016.-

Goddess Mnemosyne. Artgown by © Resa McConaghy. 2016.-

guarda_griega1_2-1-1

Goddess Mnemosyne. Artgown by Resa McConaghy.

Goddess Mnemosyne. Artgown by Resa McConaghy.

guarda_griega1_2-1-1

  __________________________________________________________
 About Resa McConaghy:
resaResa is a canadian artist, costume designer and author.
She hosts two blogs Graffiti Lux and Murals and Art Gowns.
She has written a book, “Nine Black Lives, available on Amazon. You can follow Resa on Twitter, too.
__________________________________________________________
 Art Gowns: http://artgowns.com/ Graffiti Lux and Murals: http://graffitiluxandmurals.com/

Art Gowns: http://artgowns.com/ Graffiti Lux and Murals: http://graffitiluxandmurals.com/

__________________________________________________________

 guarda_griega1_2-1 (1)
CHRISTYguarda_griega1_2-1-1

Christy has written a beautiful poetic ode to Mnemosyne. The title is so clever, I like the fact that she has chosen a gerund and that Mnemosyne, the Goddess of Memory is being remembered.

The first stanza delves into the temporal dialectic of memories (second and third verses), alluding to Mnemosyne´s daughters and developing that idea in the second stanza, in which Zeus is also mentioned as the father of the Muses.

The third stanza entails a great twist as it places Mnemosyne´s influence among us, hic et nunc (here and now). Christy highlights how Mnemosyne is being acknowledged in the collaboration that beckons her spirit to birth again.

You can check out more Christy´s poems on her blog Poetic Parfait.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Remembering Mnemosyne

She is one with memory,
Closer to the past than the present,
With a future that pops forth nine muses who
Walk with mythically-lined toes full of
Musicality, poetic verse, and
Laughter for miles.
~~~
The talented Muses are born as
Presents to the mind –
They are gifts from Zeus and Mnemosyne,
Whose passionate harvest spread over evenings that
Would later inspire three creative women afar.
~~~
Her magical wonder ignites poetic words that
Mix with design and descriptions into a
Collaboration that beckons her spirit to birth again,
This time with dialogue, syllables and an exquisite
Red fabric that cloaks us all in comfort.

© Christy Birmingham. 2016 .-

guardaawesomeglitter

guarda_griega1_2-1 (1)

©Poetic Parfait 2016. Artwork for Christy Birmingham´s Poem.

©Poetic Parfait 2016. Artwork for Christy Birmingham´s Poem.

guarda_griega1_2-1 (1)
__________________________________________________________

About Christy Birmingham:

cb1Christy is a canadian freelance writer, poet and author. She is the author of two books. The poetry collection “Pathways to Illumination”(2013), available  at Redmund Productions. And another poetry book,  “Versions of the Self” (2015), which you can find on Amazon.  She also hosts two blogs: Poetic Parfait and When Women Inspire. You can connect with Christy on Twitter too. 

__________________________________________________________
Poetic Parfait: http://poeticparfait.com/ When Women Inspire: http://whenwomeninspire.com/

Poetic Parfait: http://poeticparfait.com/ When Women Inspire: http://whenwomeninspire.com/

__________________________________________________________

guarda_griega1_7

__________________________________________________________
Links Post:
http://www.theoi.com/Titan/TitanisMnemosyne.html
http://greekmythology.wikia.com/wiki/Mnemosyne
http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/PotamosLethe.html
https://lpsmythologywiki.wikispaces.com/Greek+Myths–The+River+of+Styx
http://symbolreader.net/2014/02/16/the-secrets-of-the-odyssey-2/
http://www.britannica.com/topic/Lethe
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aletheia
http://artgowns.com/2016/02/01/goddess-mnemosyne/
http://poeticparfait.com/2015/05/16/versions-of-the-self-poetry-book-kindle-and-hard-copy/
__________________________________________________________

guarda_griega1_7

__________________________________________________________

Read Full Post »

plato beauty

guarda_griega1_3-1-1

Symadro39

guarda_griega1_3-1-1 (1)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

According to Plato, Beauty was an idea or Form of which beautiful things were consequence.

Beauty by comparison begins in the domain of intelligible objects, since there is a Form of beauty. The most important question is: what do all of these beautiful things have in common?. To know that is to know Beauty.

The Theory of Forms maintains that two distinct levels of reality exist: the visible world of sights and sounds that we inhabit and the intelligible world of Forms that stands above the visible world and gives it being. For example, Plato maintains that in addition to being able to identify a beautiful person or a beautiful painting, we also have a general conception of Beauty itself, and we are able to identify the beauty in a person or a painting only because we have this conception of Beauty in the abstract. In other words, the beautiful things we can see are beautiful only because they participate in the more general Form of Beauty. This Form of Beauty is itself invisible, eternal, and unchanging, unlike the things in the visible world that can grow old and lose their beauty.

Plato’s account in the Symposium connects beauty to a response of love and desire, but locate beauty itself in the realm of the Forms, and the beauty of particular objects in their participation in the Form. 

Beauty’s distinctive pedagogical effects show why Plato talks about its goodness and good consequences, sometimes even its identity with “the good” (Laws 841c; Philebus 66a–b; Republic, 401c; Symposium 201c, 205e).

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

guarda_griega1_2 (1)

plato form2

guarda_griega1_2 (1)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

In Plato´ Symposium, Socrates claims to be quoting his teacher Diotima on the subject of love, and in her lesson she calls beauty the object of every love’s yearning.

She spells out the soul’s progress toward ever-purer beauty, from one body to all, then through all beautiful souls, laws, and kinds of knowledge, to arrive at beauty itself.

By going through these stages, one will ascend from loving particular kinds of beauty to loving Beauty itself, from which all beautiful things derive their nature.

Diotima suggests that a life gazing upon and pursuing this Beauty is the best life one can lead.

In the Symposium, the Form of Beauty is the final stage in the lover of knowledge’s ascent toward Beauty.

He begins by loving particular bodies, moving from there to bodies in general, to particular minds, to minds in general, to laws and practices, to knowledge, and finally to the knowledge of the Form of Beauty. The ascent is one of increasing generalization where one’s love of beauty comes to embrace more and more things.

Ultimately, however, one’s love of beauty will embrace only one thing, the Form of Beauty, but one will recognize in this Form all that is beautiful. 

There is, besides, a sense of what Beauty may be: the signs of measure and proportion signal its presence and it is linked with goodness and justice.

Beauty here is conceived as perfect unity, or indeed as the principle of unity itself. 

Plato´s Beauty Theory, as it appears in the Symposium, holds that the Beautiful is an objective quality which is more or less intensified in and exemplified by beautiful or less beautiful objects respectively. Beauty itself exists independently of the object’s relationship to a perceiver or of its being a means to some end.

The Beautiful, then, regardless of what it is, exists as a thing in itself, separate from and supreme in relation to the beautiful objects which are beautiful by somehow sharing in its being. 

There is something innate and yet external to a beautiful object. Its beauty is there independently of a perceiver, and its being beautiful or not does not depend upon personal evaluations

Plato´s ideas could be considered as a sample of the prevailing classical conception.

According to it, Beauty consists of an arrangement of integral parts into a coherent whole, according to order, proportion and symmetry.

The ancient Roman architec Vitruvius gives as good a characterization of the classical conception in its underlying unity:

Order is the balanced adjustment of the details of the work separately, and as to the whole, the arrangement of the proportion with a view to a symmetrical result.

Proportion implies a graceful semblance: the suitable display of details in their context, when everything has a symmetrical correspondence.

Symmetry also is the appropriate harmony arising out of the details of the work itself: the correspondence of each given detail to the form of the design as a whole.  (Vitruvius, 26–27)

Plato regarded beauty as objective in the sense that it was not localized in the response of the beholder.  

In spite of Plato´s theories, we should now wonder if Beauty is an Universal Quality recognizable per se …  

In other words… Is Beauty a relative assessment, which lies in the eye of the beholder…

If we believe so, then we should conclude that Beauty is created by a subjective judgment, in which each person determines whether something is beautiful or not. 

If we agree with Plato, and therefore state that Beauty is pattern or form from which all beautiful things are derived, then we are assuming that Beauty is an objective feature.

By that our postulate would be that most perceivers would agree when it comes to determine whether something or someone is beautiful or not.

Without needing to take a side, we can say that it is both things…

Beauty couldn´t be entirely subjective—that is, if anything that anyone holds to be or experiences as beautiful is beautiful then it seems that the word has no meaning, or that we are not communicating anything when we call something beautiful except perhaps an approving personal attitude. 

In addition, though different persons can of course differ in particular judgments, it is also obvious that our judgments coincide to a certain extent.

Either way, what we can certainly state is that our attraction to another person’s body increases if that body is symmetrical and in proportion.

In this sense, there are certain aesthetical features which might entail Beauty.

Scientists believe that we perceive proportional bodies to be more healthy. This is suggested in the following famous image showing an idealized human body within a square and a circle.

Leonardo da Vinci‘s drawings of the human body emphasized its proportion. The ratio of the following distances in the above Vitruvian Man image is approximately the Golden Ratio (Φ = 1.618033…).

With the math behind it, the symmetry of your face can be measured. The closer this number is to 1.618, the more beautiful it is…

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

guarda_griega1_2 (1)

The Golden Ratio (Φ = 1.618033…).

The Golden Ratio (Φ = 1.618033…).

guarda_griega1_2-1 (1)

Vitruvian_Man

The Vitruvian Man, drawing by Leonardo Da Vinci, showing the body dimensiones, according to the Golden Ratio.

guarda_griega1_2 (1)

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

myths on beauty

Following up with the previous philosophical introduction, I would like to bring to the spotlight a few greek mythological myths and certain thoughts, with regard to the idea of Beauty.

Firstly, the most well known case of the Judgement of Paris and the story of the Golden Apple of Discord.

The Judgement of Paris was a contest between the three most beautiful goddesses of Olympus–Aphrodite, Hera and Athena–for the prize of a golden apple addressed to “the fairest”.

While Paris inspected them, each of the goddess attempted with her powers to bribe him; Hera offered to make him king of Europe and Asia, Athena offered wisdom and skill in war, and Aphrodite, offered the world’s most beautiful woman.

On a side note, It is worth noting how mant times “Beauty” appears in this myth.

At the end, Paris chose Aphrodite, who was the Goddess of Love and Beauty, and Helen of Troy, who was considered the most beautiful woman, was bestowed on him, in exchange.

As to the beautiful Helen of Troy, she was also known as the face that launched a thousand ships, therefore somehow associated with features such as discord and betrayal.

The reason behind such reputation is that Helen of Troy was married by the time of the deal among the Prince of Troy and Aphrodite.

Hence Paris decided to abduct her, event which would eventually lead to the Trojan War

In this sense, the Golden Apple was the biggest but also the most controversial prize. Besides and presumably, in the mythology surrounding “the Judgement of Paris”, the goddess of Discord Eris managed to enter The Garden of the Hesperides, which was Hera´s orchard, and plucked one of the fruits . We can therefore see why that golden apple go was also known as the Apple of Discord.

As to other quarrels originated due to similar smug assumptions involving Beauty, I would like to mention two cases, which are very similar when it comes to events and their consequences.

The first one features Myrrha, who was Adonis biological mother.

Myrrha’s mother had said that her daughter was even more beautiful than Aphrodite which angered the Goddess of Love, who cursed Myrrha to fall in love and lust after her father.

Thus, Myrrha became pregnant and gave birth to Adonis, who was raised by Aphrodite. 

Adonis was very handsome, so, further on, Persephone was taken by his beauty, reason which brought a new quarrel among goddesses. In this case, between Aphrodite and Persephone.

Secondly, we have the well known myth of Perseus´beloved, Andromeda.

Her mother, Cassiopeia had offended the Nereids by boasting that Andromeda was more beautiful than they, so in revenge Poseidon sent a sea monster to ravage Andromeda´s father kingdom.

In all cases, Beauty causes troubles. We could say that it puts in the seeds of conflict.

Its counterpoint and collateral effect is jealousy. But also a sense of unnecessary pride and vanity seems to be present here.

Beauty claims to be defined in an extended way beyond itself… It needs to be recognized.

We could say that Beauty is defined by and to the Other.

Thus, in this order of ideas, we could think that Beauty seems to be an existentialist way to experience the Beautiful. 

Intersubjectivity defines Beauty and the Other’s look constitutes the world and the beautiful as objective. This is because the Look tends to objectify what it sees.

Undoubtedly, there are subjective elements which help us define Beauty… But those ones, as Social Constructivists would state, are not necessarily individual but colective and cultural.

On the other hand, one can not deny that certain general and universal features, are linked to the idea of Beauty. 

Therefore and figuratively speaking, I believe that  Beauty would be a sui generis concept, constituted mainly by objective and intersubjective variables, which may vary according to time and contexts.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

guarda_griega1_3-1-1

►Gallery: “Some Greek Myths based on Beauty”:

(Click on the images for further details)

guarda_griega1_3-1-1

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

►Playtime!:Is your face geometrically beautiful?:

Supposedly, when it comes to Beauty, the simplest measurement is the length of your face divided by the widest part of your face.

As previously mentioned above, the closer this number is to 1.618, i.e Golden Ratio, the more beautiful the person is…

There are countless ratios that can be measured, but the website Anaface will generate a computer calculation online of a few of these ratios, from your uploaded photo for free.

An important detail is that you ought to use the photograph URL. It didn’t work for me when I tried upload he image from my computer…

For that purpose, send yourself an email with the photograph and then copy paste its URL, as shown in the gallery.

Furthermore. keep in mind that the more horizontally your face is placed, the more reliable the results will be.

Use as a model the photograph provided in order to locate the points, especially if your ears don´t show up in the photograph due to your hair… 

Follow up the instructions and you´ll soon get your score. Click on the images in the gallery below for further details …

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

guarda_griega1_2-1 (1)

guarda_griega1_2-1 (1)

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

►Last but not Least: Quote Challenge: Beauty:

Paul from Pal Fitness has nominated me for a so called 3-Day Quote Challenge. Please Check out Paul´s blog. He is a personal trainer and coach, who loves blogging and writing. 

The rules of this challenge are: ♠Post your favorite quotes or your own quotes for three (3) posts in a row. ♠Thank the person who nominated you. ♠Pass it on to three (3) other bloggers per quote, each time you post them. Or pass it to nine (9) bloggers if you choose to post all the quotes together, in the same post.
⚠ Note: I will post the three (3) quotes together. Thus I will nominate nine (9) Bloggers.
Also, I thought It would be pertinent to choose quotes on Beauty, alongside photographs taken by me, which you will be able to see in my Instagram account... All this aims to keep it on with the topic of this post… So that’s how I will do it :D. If you have been nominated, feel free to join the challenge if you feel it is worth it, want to and/or have time to do so. You can to pick out whichever creative license regarding this feature. 

My nominees for the Quote Challenge are: 1. D.G.Kaye Writer 2. Parlor of Horror 3. Course of Mirrors 4. Living the Dream 5. Solveig Werner 6. Scribble and Scrawl  7. Round World and Me 8. The Lonely Author 9. Aidyl93

►Three Quotes on Beauty by John Keats, and some Photographs:

~ Click on the images to read ~

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Links Post:
http://www.iep.utm.edu/plato/
http://www.anaface.com/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Other
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/beauty/#ClaCon
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/plato-aesthetics/
http://asifoscope.org/2013/05/10/on-beauty/
http://www.intmath.com/blog/mathematics/is-she-beautiful-the-new-golden-ratio-4149
http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/plato/themes.html
http://www.sparknotes.com/philosophy/symposium/section11.rhtml
 ________________________________________________________________

guarda_griega1_2-1 (1)

_____________________________________________________

Read Full Post »

♠ Plato´s “Republic”: “The Allegory of the Cave and the Analogy of the Divided Line”:

Plato (427/347 BCE).-

Plato (427/347 BCE).-

 ________________________________________________________________________________________________

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is written as a dialogue between Plato’s teacher Socrates and Plato’s brother Glaucon at the beginning of “The Republic” Book VII (514a–520a). This allegory is presented after the analogy of the sun (507b–509c) and the analogy of the divided line (509d–513e). 

In the allegory, Plato likens people untutored in the Theory of Forms to prisoners chained in a cave, unable to turn their heads. All they can see is the wall of the cave. Behind them burns a fire.  Between the fire and the prisoners there is a parapet, along which puppeteers can walk. The puppeteers, who are behind the prisoners, hold up puppets that cast shadows on the wall of the cave. The puppeteers are just people outside the cave walk along this walkway, who presumably carry things on their heads including; animals, plants, wood and stone.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Here is an illustration based on the whole description of the Cave:

Plato´s Allegory of the Cave.-

Plato´s Allegory of the Cave.-

 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

►Description: “The Allegory of the Cave”:

►The prisoners, the cave and the shadows:

The prisoners are unable to see these puppets, the real objects, that pass behind them. 

What the prisoners see and hear are shadows and echoes cast by objects that they do not see.  Here is an illustration of Plato’s Cave.

Such prisoners wou ld mistake appearance for reality. As they had never seen the real objects ever before, they believe that the shadows of objects are real objects.

► The Game:

Plato suggests that the prisoners would begin a ‘game’ of guessing which shadow would appear next. If one of the prisoners were to correctly guess, the others would praise him as the most clever.

 ►Departure:

One of the prisoners then escapes from their bindings and leaves the cave. He is shocked at the world he notices outside the cave and does not believe it can be real. As he becomes used to his new surroundings, he realizes that his former view of reality was wrong. He begins to understand this world. He is first able to see only shadows of things. Next he can see the reflections of things in water and later is able to see things themselves. He is then able to look at the stars and moon by night and finally he is able to look upon the sun. Finally, he is able to behold the sun, which is the main source of knowledge.

►Return to the Cave: 

The prisoner returns to the cave, to inform the other prisoners of his findings. They do not believe him and threaten to kill him if he tries to set them free.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

►Video: “The Allegory of the Cave”:

The Allegory of the Cave (Animated). Click on the image above to watch the video at YouTube.-

Video: The Allegory of the Cave (Animated). Click on the image above to watch it at YouTube.-

 _________________________________________________________________________________________________

►The Allegory of the Cave: Symbolism and General Meaning:

The escaped prisoner represents the Philosopher, who seeks knowledge outside of the cave and outside of the senses.

The Sun represents philosophical truth and knowledge. 

The prisoner´s intellectual journey represents a philosopher´s journey when finding truth and wisdom.

In this sense, the Allegory of the Cave is an attempt to explain the philosopher’s place in society

The other prisoners reaction to the escapee returning represents that people are scared of knowing philosophical truths and do not trust philosophers.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

guarda5

The analogy of the sun (Excerpt of Plato´s "Republic").-

The analogy of the Sun (Excerpt of Plato´s “Republic”).-

guarda5

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

► “The Allegory of the Cave and the Analogy of the divided line”:

 

cave35

 

A & B: THE PHYSICAL WORLD: “APPEARANCE”

Thus A represents shadows and reflections of physical things, and B the physical things themselves. These correspond to two kinds of knowledge, the illusion (εἰκασία eikasia) of our ordinary, everyday experience, and belief (πίστις pistis) about discrete physical objects which cast their shadows.

→Method to achieve knowledge: In A, the eye makes guesses upon observing likenesses of visible things.

→Method to achieve knowledge: In B, the eye makes probable predictions upon observing visible things

 A & B: The Visible World in The Allegory of the Cave

A: BOUND REAR OF CAVE. SHADOWS PROJECTIONS. (SHADOWS, REFLECTIONS, ETC).

B: UNBOUND: FIGURES PROJECTING SHADOWS. (OBJECTS/THINGS).

C & D: THE “INTELLIGIBLE WORLD” (FORMS/IDEAI): “REALITY”

C involves  mathematical reasoning (διάνοια dianoia). There  abstract mathematical objects such as geometric lines are discussed. Such objects are outside the physical world (and are not to be confused with the drawings of those lines, which fall within the physical world B).

→Method to achieve knowledge: In C, the Psyche assumes hypotheses while making use of likenesses, always moving towards final conclusions.

D includes the subjects of philosophical understanding (νόησις noesis).

→In D, knowledge is achieved by the method of dialectic, “using the hypotheses not as first principles, but only as hypotheses — that is to say, as steps and points of departure into a world which is above hypotheses, in order that she may soar beyond them to the first principle of the whole” (511b)

C & D: The Intelligible World in The Allegory of the Cave:

C: OUTSIDE AND DAZZLED BY THE SUNSHINE, THE PRISONER SEES ONLY SHADOWS (LOWER FORMS)

D: ADJUSTED TO BRIGHT SUNLIGHT, THE PRISONER PERCEIVES VISIBLE OBJECTS AND APPREHENDS THE SUN (HIGHER FORMS).

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

cave30

 ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

►The Allegory of the Cave, The Analogies of the Divided line and the Sun & the Theory of Forms:

The Allegory of the Cave, The analogy of the divided line and the analogy of the Sun are related to Plato’s Theory of Formsaccording to which the “Forms” (or “Ideas“), and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality.

Only knowledge of the Forms constitutes real knowledge. 

For Plato’s Forms are not mental entities, nor even mind-dependent. They are independently existing entities whose existence and nature are graspable only by the mind, even though they do not depend on being so grasped in order to exist.

The dialogue Phaedo” contains an extended description of the characteristics and functions of the forms: 

•Unchangeable (78c10-d9).

•Eternal (79d2)

•Intelligible, not perceptible (79a1-5)

•Divine (80a3, b1)

•Incorporeal (passim)

•Causes of being (“The one over the many”) (100c)

Are unqualifiedly what their instances are only with qualification (75b)

Other dialogues fill out the picture: •non-temporal (“Timaeus” 37e-38a); •non-spatial (“Phaedrus” 247c); •they do not become, they simply are (“Timaeus” 27d3-28a3).

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Plato (427/347 BCE).-

Plato (427/347 BCE).-

 

cave13

________________________________________________________________________________________________________

►Links Post:

http://faculty.washington.edu/smcohen/320/thforms.htm

http://faculty.washington.edu/smcohen/320/cave.htm

https://aquileana.wordpress.com/2007/07/29/32/

 
________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: