An ad in a recent issue of a trade journal touts the efficiency of the
product very forcefully. The graphic shows the classic maze scene complete
with a guinea pig and a piece of cheese in one corner. In the traditional
experiment, the little animal is supposed to find his way through the maze,
backtracking, remembering the paths already taken, and ultimately reaching
the reward. Instead, in this scene, the rodent zooms across the diagonal,
turning the parts of the maze in his way to dust, and claiming the prize
he richly deserves. I think that was a perfect illustration for the idiom
cutting the Gordian knot.
Can you think of a Gordian knot or two you could cut in your own life, at
work or at home? Give it some thought. In the meantime, look for more words
and phrases from classical mythology in AWAD this week.
Yes, indeed I can think of a Gordian knot: the knot of
human relationships. Last year, an old friend who was the most beautiful person I have ever known died of cancer in a relatively short period of time. Being with him through
these months taught me an invaluable lesson: don't hold
back the good stuff, because you might suddenly find that it is too late to make up for lost time. So I have pretty
much quit playing relationship games, and cut right to the
important parts: if I love someone, I tell them so. For
the others, I have learned that you might as well be nice--
it takes very little effort, and is MUCH more likely to
get you what you want (a good response) than being ugly is.
For the ones who do not reciprocate, then I decide whether
I want to continue in the same vein or not. People are not
required to like me back, and if I decide that it is costing me too much to continue, I can simply tell them so,
without rancor. Everything we do is about making choices.
I choose (mostly!) not to get ugly with people. Acting ugly takes a lot more effort than being nice, and I have
much better ways of spending my energy. Things like this
still feel quite risky to me, but mostly I'm finding that
I reap what I sow.
A Gordian Knot (not) in relationships? I noticed that if you look in Random House Dictionary of the English Language, unabridged edition, interesting enough you will find the word in-ti-mate - defined as personal relations involving warm friendships, cozy, etc. is followed by the word
"intimate borrowing" - defined as the borrowing of linguistic forms by one language from another when both occupy a single geographical or cultural community;
(home, personal relationships, workplace, government, schools,)
which is then followed by "Intimations of Immortality" - (Ode Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood) a poem (1807) by Wordsworth;
which is followed by the word "in-time" - intimate; cozy: in-time conversation;
The word which follows "intime" is the word "intimidate" conversely meaning to make timid; inspire with fear, overawe or cow esp with a forceful personality or superior display of fluencey, fame wealth, etc.; to force into or deter from some action by inducing fear.
Can one be genuinely intimate within or form a loving, trusting, long lasting, fulfilling relationship or successfully communicate with another person, community or country when there is any form of serious, willfull intimidate(ing)? How many of us allow THIS Gordian knot to ensnare, ruin or sabatoge relation-ships. Soooo close in alpha order yet, so far apart. At times, I've done this myself. I also know that...
If one strives to eliminate the "intimidate" which breeds fear and anxiety from the intimate relationships we try to establish with others, our dates may be more loving mates...in a more loving and peaceful world.
> don't hold back the good stuff, because you might suddenly find that it is too late to make up for lost > time
Thanks for this post Jackie. All that you've written I would like to be that way too.
this is the essence of life!
and it takes huge bravery or scary experiences to get us to arrive there.
"life is short"
"the rest of your life starts now"
what other sayings express this same thought?
and why is it that we all know it, but erect barriers as though reaching the cheese, the goal, was the last thing we could bear to do?
> why is it that we all know it, but erect barriers as though reaching the cheese,
> the goal, was the last thing we could bear to do?
Perhaps because of the fear we might find the cheese with too many holes than we had expected, also after we get the cheese - then what happens?
>>after we get the cheese - then what happens?<<
Avy, I think you've hit it. So many people have struggled
for so long, that they forget that there is any other
way of existence. Quite often, the thought of the
unknown is simply terrifying. This was brought to life for
me when a friend who has struggled for years with anorexia
was talking with me about it, and she said, speaking of
her efforts to deal with it, "If I succeed, then
who will I be?"
Another friend recently pointed out to me something significant: that you get trained in all kinds of ways to
prepare you for work, but you get nothing to prepare you
for retirement. I think the same kind of thing applies to
what you said--most of us are taught from childhood that we
should "achieve": good grades and a good job will lead to
your being successful. But I think very few of us are
taught how to deal with that success, if we are fortunate
enough to achieve it.
P.S.--Good to have you back, Dear!
The Old Quibbler wonders if the "Gordian Knot" qualifys as mythological, since it was allegedly cut by Alexander the Great in historical times.
Cutting the Gordian knot
According to Graves, Alex's cutting of the knot solved the puzzle about like overturning a chess board and breaking the opponents king would count as winning a chess game.
Faldage, old buddy, my remarkable command of the obvious had got me that far.
Now please address your quasi-mythological perspicacity to the question: Is it
not mildly erroneous to call something that happened in historical time "mythological"?
Is it not mildly erroneous to call something that happened in historical time "mythological"?
Not necessarily. The knot had mythical significance. Whether Alex's alleged cutting of the knot occurred is of no import. The Knot itself was mythological in its significance if not in its existence. The mere fact that Ęschylus wrote a play about it does not stop the story of ?dipus from being a myth.
The Gordian Knot has been in existence for only a comparatively short
time, if I remember correctly, otherwise there would have been no King
for a very long time. It was a tradition, I would say. Something mythical
is so old that its existence cannot be documented.
I guess you can define mythical however you want. To me it means something that reverberates on a deeper level than we can talk about rationally.
Uncle Bill, I came across a news article you might be interested in:http://www.msnbc.com/news/681100.asp?pne=11947
The Gordian Knot is mentioned in the second section, although it's spelled Gordion in this article.
A very good, very large glossary of names from Greek mythology Well worth browsing through.When you first get into the site, you have to click on a line. I forget now what it says, but it is self-explanatory.http://www.beazley.ox.ac.uk/CGPrograms/Dict/ASP/OpenDictionary.asp
And a note on old Alex - one of my history lecturers steadfastly refused to accord him history's sobriquet, instead calling him Alexander of Macedon. I'm not sure whether he (the lecturer) was egalitarian or didn't think he was all that Great.
"Even the name of their goddess of love,Venus, had originally meant a garden of herbs;
a well cultivated piece of land is 'fine Ceres and love and Bacchus together' "
From The Ancient Mediterranean, by Michael Grant
"About an infant's neck, hang Peonie. It cures Alcydes' cruell maladie." Josuah Sylvester,
1591,De Bartus. It took a good bit of searching to find that Alcides is an alternate name
for Hercules, who was said to have been epileptic. In the process I found a new mythology
There's no relationship, is there, Bill, between peonies and epilepsy?
Dear Wordwind: You have my permission to conduct a controlled scientific research project
into merits of a peony blossom around the neck of as many infants as you can enroll in the
project. Of course you may have some problem getting large enough year-round supply of
the blossoms. Figure five years to get the protocols approved. How many colors do you
think ought to be tested? And should blossoms be on chest or on back? For how many years
should the blossoms be kept in place? Should paper imitations be used as a control? How would
you manage to have double-blind study?
Maybe alex williams, doc_comfort, and wofahulicodoc will have some helfpful suggestions.
There's an old saying, credited to the Old West writer Ned Buntline: "If the myth conflicts with the reality, print the myth."
He is also credited with making Bill Cody and other Old West characters famous.http://www.xphomestation.com/nbuntline.html
If the myth conflicts with the reality, print the myth.
Are you saying that Wyatt Earp and the other famous Old West gunmen weren't really famous? That it's just a myth that they were famous?
Dear Faldage: the truth is that those gunfighters mythed as often as they hit their targets.