Sunday, February 27, 2011

Geryons and Ligers and Snares, Oh My!

We're experimenting with a new blogging schedule, in which I post on the weekends in order to be able to drive the boy to school a couple of mornings a week.

***

Hey, who's that up ahead? Why, it's Geryon, the Monster of Fraud! Let's hitch a ride on his back and see if he'd be kind enough to take us down into the eighth circle of Hell. Beats walking, and he's headed in that direction anyway.


As you can see from the artist's rendition, Geryon looks like a lizard with bat wings, a leonine body, and a human head. I call it a liger. It's pretty much my favorite animal. It's like a lizard and a tiger mixed... bred for its skills in magic. I tried to draw something similar once. Came out like this:


Anyway the liger, I mean Geryon, is an important symbol, because his function "is to lure souls into the deeper circles of Hell" (Upton). And in order to accomplice this crime, he possesses "the power to delude others" (ibid.). Like his father, he hypnotizes and seduces. He never forces.

Geryon's outward form mirrors that of the human brain, which has a reptilian remnant (the hindbrain), a mammalian component (the midbrain), and a human option (the cerebral cortex, or outer covering). Obviously this cannot be understood in a linear manner. One might say that in human beings these three natures are still one person; although distinct, they are inseparable.

However, in a properly functioning soul, it should come as no surprise that the human part is supposed to predominate. But in the case of Geryon, all three are in the service of "abysmal delusion; thus Geryon's truest nature is his lowest part," i.e., the reptile, whose venom fills the world (Dante).

Geryon's reptilian tail is an even deeper atavism descended from the insect -- or arachnid -- world, in that Dante compares it to the scorpion. Interestingly, Dante likens its soft and seductive web of deception to Arachne's loom, which would seem to imply maya in its most demonically illusory aspect -- the Mother of all bad mothers.

Upton notes that "the tail of a scorpion represents fraud in its essential form: with it he hooks his victims, and then administers the coup-de-gras, the poison of illusion."

Which reminds me of the old joke about the scorpion who asks the frog to ferry him across the river. Halfway across, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog says, "why'd you do that?! Now we're both going to die!" The scorpion says, "hey, I'm a scorpion, sucker."

Or, if you prefer a musical rendition:



Dante characterizes Geryon as a kind of con artist (and it is a kind of inverted art) who relies upon the innocence and naivete of his mark in order to accomplish the hustle. He can do nothing on his own, but requires a subject who is in some sense willing -- willfully willing, I might add, like the woman in the song, whose sexual desire allegorically overcomes her common sense.

You know what they say: you can't cheat an honest woman. And you shouldn't let your lizard subordinate the human, nor let the boy overpower the man in you:



The confidence man -- from the tenured on up -- recoils at clarity, and always tries to muddy the water. As Upton explains, these are people who "absolutize the relative," which begins and ends in the destruction of wisdom. And once wisdom is out of the picture, everything is at once conceivable and permissible.

Thus, Geryon is the very image of "the inverted hierarchy" (Upton). We might call it an inside-out brain, in which the reptilian rules the human. There have been a lot of reptiles in the news lately, from godawful to Gadhafi.

But some of the worst examples are the spiritual frauds such as Deepak, Tony Robbins, and the rest of the piety pimps. These lowlifes "are attempting to directly tap the Spirit to embellish their egos" (Upton), and are so objectionable that Dante actually places them in a deeper circle of Hell, because they ruin everybody's lives and eat all our steak. We'll get to them in the next post.

17 Comments:

Blogger julie said...

The song of the snake brings to mind the gruesome tales one of the Discovery channels was showing last year about people who were attacked or killed by their pets - usually snakes, lizards, or venomous insects. There was also an episode about chimpanzees.

Watching the show, you can't help wondering what's wrong with people who identify so strongly with the lower orders, to the point where they convince themselves that their wild pets feel love for their masters in any kind of human way (usually if the pet owner is female), or that they can somehow control the lower orders and establish some sort of mastery over dangerous creatures (if the owner is male).

***

Now that I think of it, Geryon also reminds me of Thulsa Doom in the Conan movie - a charismatic man who beguiled his followers, and had the ability to turn into a giant snake.

2/27/2011 08:30:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

This is pretty much the best post I've ever seen.

2/27/2011 08:35:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

"...and a human option..."
Nice touch.

2/27/2011 09:26:00 AM  
Blogger jwm said...

Now that I think of it, Geryon also reminds me of Thulsa Doom in the Conan movie - a charismatic man who beguiled his followers, and had the ability to turn into a giant snake.

Reminds of a certain president.

JWM

2/27/2011 09:40:00 AM  
Blogger Brazentide said...

"This is pretty much the best post I've ever seen."

Like anyone could possibly know that.

2/27/2011 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

jwm wrote:

"Reminds me of a certain president."

Napoleon to Pedro:

"Just tell them that their wildest dreams will come true if they vote for you."

2/27/2011 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Rick said:

This is pretty much the best post I've ever seen.

Heh. Just when you think OC is getting too highbrow, he lets loose with the liger...

2/27/2011 10:50:00 AM  
Anonymous the spirit of fergus the cat said...

Hmm, that drawing . . . looks quite a bit like me, to be honest. Spikey fur and all.

And of course, I too have the power to seduce. Needless to say, right?

I might turn myself into a mountain lion this afterneen, in case you're wondering.

2/27/2011 01:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Napolean said...

I wish Deepak would get out of my life and shut up!

2/27/2011 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Joan of Argghh! said...

Simon the Magician glommed onto the spiritual and evidential power the Apostles employed in their preaching. He saw something and wanted it, thinking it was a new hustle. There was enough there for a practiced fake to be impressed and he was ready to pony up cash to have a piece of the action.

Once again, we see that evil has no power to create. In its enslavement, it only desires to destroy and distort; it never once occurs to Simon that there might be a pure Source and a reality that is better than anything a Union thug can promise.

2/27/2011 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Cool drawing, Bob!

Now that's what I call art! Art without the gimmicks.
The kind of art that would look good on velvet. :^)

2/27/2011 11:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Geryon my wayward son...
you'll be in pieces when you are done...


Skully, song writer extraordinaire

2/27/2011 11:52:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

NB said:
"Heh. Just when you think OC is getting too highbrow, he lets loose with the liger..."

Hobrow to be sure. :^)

2/27/2011 11:58:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

I'm betting that those who resemble this remark,

"The confidence man -- from the tenured on up -- recoils at clarity, and always tries to muddy the water. "

, pretty much experienced pure consternation at this one...

"One might say that in human beings these three natures are still one person; although distinct, they are inseparable."

, if they managed to draw the connections, that is... some people's triads differing One from an others, as they do.

2/28/2011 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Joan said "it only desires to destroy and distort; it never once occurs to Simon that there might be a pure Source and a reality that is better than anything a Union thug can promise."

I spent Saturday experiencing a bit of this three part harmoanie, at a rally at our State Capital. One, on the front side of the capital, below a statue of Jefferson, we had a Tea Party rally for "... a human option..." of liberty, while around the backside of the building of the body politic, the moveon.org union types held their tailgate'r rally... and oh what a mess it was to wade in to.

A couple of us did (I've got some links there to my friends sites who are more photo & video inclined), trying to pass out some free Constitutions... what a noxious wind that stirred up... like offering dixie cups of holy water at a get together of vampires.

Except that these vampires come out in the day time... one of them is just a few cubes away from me right now.

Sure wish that daylight thing actually worked on the vamps... or maybe we'll just have to patiently wait for the dawn of Dei....

2/28/2011 11:40:00 AM  
Blogger philmon said...

And it is the eating of our steak that cinched it for me. Bloody Geryons.

I loved this:

The confidence man -- from the tenured on up -- recoils at clarity, and always tries to muddy the water. As Upton explains, these are people who "absolutize the relative," which begins and ends in the destruction of wisdom. And once wisdom is out of the picture, everything is at once conceivable and permissible.

Perfect.

It tied right in with my recent and related ramble. This is why I shouldn't fall so far behind on your blog. I could've used the above in my post!!!

3/07/2011 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger philmon said...

YOU were THERE, Van????

So was I!

In a brown leather jacket and brown fedora.

Dang, I would have loved to have met you. I met Jim Hoft there. I had no idea. I heard Phil Todd got the permit for the south lawn (the MoveOn'ers hadn't bothered to get one) and with that great coup, I knew I must go. Glad I did, too.

3/07/2011 06:43:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home