Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A (boisterous and primitive) Nietzschean look at Hesiod's "The Hymn to Hekate"

Abstract - or in the evolution process:

The thing considered most universal among all of humankind—when specifically regarding corporeal nature—is the concept of mortality. We quite literally bet our lives on the fact that nothing physical persists eternally. As rational beings we compensate for this lack of the eternal by conceptualizing abstract realms of infinity: such as in the case of mathematics. Unfortunately, theoretical reasoning tends to produce no empirical evidence for anything eternal—rendering the mathematical equation for infinity as the least objective.
Consequently, nearly every culture that has existed has possessed a will to immortality. Surely, listing the various ideologies of our recorded history would seem rather trite, but I assume anybody can think of fifteen religions off the top of their head—if not fifty—dealing with a promise of immortality. If most of us admit that we are certainly mortal, why then do most cultures—and surely individuals—hold on to this will to become immortal? This will certainly persists in human nature alone, as animals don’t possess the rationality needed in order to conceptualize such an endless realm of existence.

In ancient times, mortals realized that if one were to attain immortality, it must be through physical means. Thus they glorified the name of human beings for such acts as Olympic competition and especially the act of heroically dying in battle. This was all divined through Hesiod somewhere around 800 BCE.
However, this excluded the weaker human being from ever having the opportunity of attaining immortality. From this, Nietzsche speculated a revolt—or a sort of revenge—which grew out of bitter hatred toward the noble class. However, this possibly could have been a revolt, not against the noble class per se, but at the divine theory of a mortals possibility to attain immortality.
This so-called “revolt” first changed religiously, not politically or from any other seed. This movement was one of mere religious nature, which then grew out to other realms as it evolved memetically.
This revolt Nietzsche speaks of—in the context of master/slave morality—is probably more than likely correct, but not for the precise reasons he posited. It is, rather, the unbridled will to immortality that we, as evolving entities, possess intrinsically without our nature in order to better survive and persist as a species. All species (and all living organisms) possess this will intrinsically; but with the human beings more evolved and rational mind, we go beyond the physical in hopes of attaining this. But alas, this "hope" we wish to grasp at all costs will prove to be nothing more than the hope to win the lottery. It will always exist as something to look forward to, but something that will probably never exist.

The title mentions "The Hymn to Hekate" simply because of an interpretation I am currently working out from Hesiod's text "Theogony"; in which I argue that Hesiod (who first mentioned Hekate in literature) intended her to be the Goddess of Immortality, rather than the dark persona of witchcraft she is currently associated with. It's a rendition of how things can be hijacked and warped overtime: be it in making The Goddess of Immortality a Witch, or in making Mortal Life desired to a lesser extent than the unsure Immortal Life.

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