Oedipus and the Sphinx.

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Oedipus and the Sphinx.

Postby Sauwelios » Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:08 am

I think I should post my summary of my "Oedipal" insight, which I previously posted on Facebook, here as well. My original account of it can be found in the first two parts of episode 5 of season 1 of my "show", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cePM3kLBw6U and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fitybbF3vq8.

::

"[The riddle of the Sphinx is] the most famous riddle in history: 'Which creature has one voice and yet becomes four-footed [tetrapous] and two-footed [dipous] and three-footed [tripous]?' She strangled and devoured anyone who could not answer. Oedipus [Oidipous, "Swollen-footed" (compare "oedema")] solved the riddle by answering: Man--who crawls on all fours as a baby, then walks on two feet as an adult, and then uses a walking stick in old age. By some accounts (but much more rarely), there was a second riddle: 'There are two sisters: one gives birth to the other and she, in turn, gives birth to the first. Who are the two sisters?' The answer is 'day and night' (both words--ἡμέρα and νύξ, respectively--are feminine in Ancient Greek). This riddle is also found in a Gascon version of the myth and could be very ancient." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphinx#The_Riddle_of_the_Sphinx)

"The Oracle [of Delphi] prophesied that any son born to Laius would kill him. In an attempt to prevent this prophecy's fulfillment, when Jocasta indeed bore a son, Laius had his ankles pierced and tethered together so that he could not crawl[.]" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oedipus#Basics_of_the_myth)

Oedipus' eyes were later pierced to blindness (by himself or a servant of Laius'). Were they perhaps also "tethered together" then, though?

"It has often been remarked that, while the prephilosophic term for the whole [to holon, "the universe"] is 'heaven and earth', the philosophers call it kosmos, an ordered composite whose structure is intelligible only to the mind but is not apparent to the eye, which cannot go beyond its two most conspicuous parts. There is 'day and night', and there is 'day', which comprehends both day and night and can no longer be seen. Heraclitus uses it as an example of what Hesiod did not know, for day and night are one (fr. 57). The unity that logos¹ discovers can be sounded but never without ambiguity, for day and night are still two. 'The way up and the way down are one and the same', Heraclitus says (fr. 60), but there are still two contrary ways, and one has to go one way or the other, even while one knows they are one. It now seems that Homer was the first, as far as we know, to have come to an understanding of this philosophic principle, to which he gave the name 'nature' [physis]. The experiences that had to precede its discovery are a measure of the difficulty of its discovery." (Seth Benardete, The Bow and the Lyre: A Platonic Reading of the Odyssey; page 86-7. Cf. Heraclitus, fragment 51.)

Could Oedipus' walking stick, which he only needed because of his blindness, be symbolic of his opened "third eye" or "mind's eye"?

Ancient Greek oida means "I saw" (i.e., I no longer see) and hence "I know". Could Oidipous be a play on words meaning not just "Swellfoot" but also "Wisefoot" (i.e., wise third-foot or third-leg, "walking-stick of wisdom")?

Image

¹ Logos ("Reason") derives from a linguistic root which means "to collect, to gather". Logos gathers or tethers together seeming opposites.

"Thinking connects all things." (Heraclitus fr. 113.)
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Re: Oedipus and the Sphinx.

Postby Fixed Cross » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:39 pm

Indeed there is a resemblance to Odins myth, of sacrificing his eye for wisdom, that is hard to ignore.
In the myth, Odins single eye sinks into Mimisbrunner, Mimirs Well, which I associate with the subconscious;
playfully I could call this Night beyond night-and-day --- before The Father (the dual mind, good and evil, etc) split them apart.
Thunderbolt steers all things.

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I've been guided somewhat by William Blake's quote: "I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create". Just change 'system' for 'style'. - Bill

The strong do what they can, the weak accept what they must.
- Thucydides
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Re: Oedipus and the Sphinx.

Postby Sauwelios » Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:03 am

Fixed Cross wrote:Indeed there is a resemblance to Odins myth, of sacrificing his eye for wisdom, that is hard to ignore.
In the myth, Odins single eye sinks into Mimisbrunner, Mimirs Well, which I associate with the subconscious;
playfully I could call this Night beyond night-and-day --- before The Father (the dual mind, good and evil, etc) split them apart.


The sources are somewhat specific:

"The well is located beneath one of three roots of the world tree Yggdrasil, a root that passes into the land of the frost jötnar where the primordial plane of Ginnungagap once existed." ([url]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mímisbrunnr[/url])

One of the _three_ roots of the Tree, the land of the _giants_ (Titans?), the primordial Chaos...

Most significant about the two-in-one is indeed the (comm)union of the conscious and the unconscious.

I'd say the one eye Odin has left--which I take to be the third eye--forms a two-in-on with the eye he threw into the well. With his left eye, he can see out of the eye he left there.
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Re: Oedipus and the Sphinx.

Postby Fixed Cross » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:16 pm

Yes, three roots -
one from Asgard, one from Jotunheim, and one from Niflheim.
Next to each of the three roots is a well.
The first Urds well, the second Mimirs well, the third Hwergelmir itself.

It may thus be possible to see even deeper than Odin himself did -
no one has sunk into Hwergelmir (no so as to re-emerge to tell the story, in any case).

("The roots of which grow where no one knows" - Odin)

But perhaps this simply means that Hwergelmir represents the ultimate darkness.
It is inhabited by many snakes and a dragon gnaws on that deepest root that accompanies it in Niflheim.
Thunderbolt steers all things.

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I've been guided somewhat by William Blake's quote: "I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans; I will not reason and compare: my business is to create". Just change 'system' for 'style'. - Bill

The strong do what they can, the weak accept what they must.
- Thucydides
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