Posted by: Brian Glass | May 3, 2010

Ignorance

Narcissus

Recently Micah and I studied the names of the constellations of the Zodiac, which happen to be Latin words. The Latin curriculum we are following suggested we get a copy of D’Aulaires book of Greek Myths (we also discovered a few other free online books such as The Boy and the Constellations, Zodiac Stories, and Star Lore of All Ages). We both read through D’Aulaires and I was amazed at my ignorance, not only of Greek mythology, but of the English language.

Did you know that Echo was the name of a nymph who was cursed by the god Hera to only be able to repeat the words of others? Did you know that Hygea was the daughter of a half-god who was a physician? She spent all her days washing the patients with soap and water. Did you know that Narcissus was a hunter who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water and wasted away to death staring into it?

There are numerous other examples that I cannot mention here. There is a reason these myths used to be taught in school. So much of our history, culture, and language is rooted in these and other myths and stories that in order to truly understand our own selves we must understand our past. They are part of our intellectual heritage.

We are like Narcissus, wasting away staring into the shallow pool of our own glory. We’re so much more intelligent than our forefathers that we have cut ourselves off from our roots. We have evolved.

And thus we wither away as did Narcissus.

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