Friday, April 20, 2012
Those Pesky Gods, Again
If you read some of my latest blog posts, you can see that I have mentioned gods quite a bit.
In American Dreams, I explored them in relation to their modern (American) counter-part - the superhero. Their animation in the form of a singular entity (ie. Zeus is father of all, and yet he appears to people, and largely takes a human form, in his actions, if not in actuality) causes us to ask the question: Why?
Taking it very literally, and trying to explain this motivation beyond the usual, "This was the way people made sense of the world back then," I came up with two possible reasons. Either they are extremely bored, and are playing out all possible scenarios, or they are trying to assert will and dominance over us.
In the first case, they would appear in human form, disrupting the natural order, just for kicks, so to speak. Their is this element of desire at play, an infinite desire. There is also an element of play, on their part. It is like surfing the web aimlessly, trying to amuse yourself with youtube clips or funny memes: every time you click onto something different, you enter into the world of the website, disrupting it with your mouse that goes click.
This would be a consistent metaphor if there was such a thing as an inert world, an inert website, into which we enter. That can never truly be, and inert states are notoriously hard to find in nature. Get down to the smallest scale, and they're nigh on impossible to find.
And yet, it works, because this is what myths about the gods', and Gods', intervention imply: the observers, the masters, making it all tick by, and when they intervene, they change the pattern, and the natural succumbs to the unnatural.
That is, at least, from their perspective.
Then there is the second possible reason: that they wish to assert dominance. This is a performative act in that they surely have an inherent, latent form of dominance, a natural one, which makes Neptune lord of the sea, Aphrodite the goddess of love. But to perform it, to show that these complex processes have singular form, is surely an active form of dominance. It also belies a need, a desire, not to play as a cure for their infinite boredom, but a need to be noticed. The gods here betray a pathetic need, especially considering their divine status as prime movers of the earth and the sun and everything between and beyond.
Is their a god, then, that embodies these short comings so overtly that he somehow overcomes them? This is Loki, the trickster God. In some of the oldest Norse myths, Loki and Odin are one and the same, each one side of the same coin. Loki reveals all these pathetic traits; jealous, zealous, always causing mischief. He is without the mask of pride, however, without that mask that allows the other gods to be noble and righteous, while also engaging in these silly, pathetic interventions, or attempting to show us who's boss.
Loki is an honest god, unlike the rest of those charlatans.