PERCEPTION and FREE WILL – REALITY and PERFECTION
(Jasper Griffin on Robert Calasso’s views about Greek Mythology)
In your ruminations on FREE WILL and REALITY, POWER and PERCEPTION, consider these ideas in Jasper Griffin’s essay, “Alive in Myth” (2013) about Robert Calasso’s book, The Marriage of Cadmus and Harmony[i]
“No psychology since has ever gone beyond [the ancient Greek idea that only gods can cause things to happen] this; all we have done is invent, for those powers that act upon us, longer, more numerous, more awkward names, which are less effective, less closely aligned to the pattern of our experience, whether that be pleasure or terror. The moderns are proud above all of their responsibility, but in being so they presume to respond with a voice that they are not even sure is theirs. The Homeric heroes knew nothing of that cumbersome word responsibility, nor would they have believed in it if they had. For them, it was as if every crime were committed in a state of mental infirmity. But such infirmity meant that a god was present and at work. What we consider infirmity they saw as “divine infatuation” (átæ). They knew that this invisible incursion often brought ruin: so much so that the word átæ would gradually come to mean “ruin.” But they also knew, and it was Sophocles who said it, that “mortal life can never have anything great about it except through átæ.”
The Greeks remembered that there was a time when men and gods feasted together. That closeness fitted with the momentous decision of the deities of Olympus, their great innovation in the history of the world, as Calasso puts it, to aim, not at power, but at perfection. … Their perfection made itself perceptible to mortals as an aesthetic experience. The mortal heroes and heroines existed for a brief period of time, one marked by “the supremacy of the visible,” when the unseen powers of the world consented to fashion themselves according to the rules of the visible, so that the most anthropomorphic of gods resembled the most splendid of men.”
Read Griffin’s entire essay
CONSIDER these ideas when reviewing DETERMINISM (FREE WILL), CREATIVITY and IDEALISM.
Also look at, “Can we perceive reality?” reported by Alison George (2020) in New Scientist : “Can we perceive reality?”