FAVOURED BY THE GODS
“Whom the gods wish to destroy, they make them mad first.”
(in HW Longfellow poem “The Masque of Pandora”)
In classical mythology, the gods control the fate of mankind. Man as a matter of fact according to ancient view was even considered a toy or a mere plaything of supernatural beings. Legend tells us that he is ruled by the heavens, guided by nature and everything around him is dictated by whims and caprices. Anyone who tries to deviate, contest or even stray from what is required by the forces is immediately punished if not destroyed. Unless of course man by way of heroism would match the gods with their innate power tit for tat.
Those days were gone, and it was replaced by religion, then by arts, thereafter by ideology and eventually by technology. Man has evolved and has made himself literally the ruler of his universe. He is even within the striking distance of dictating the forces that would govern him. He founded science and used it to his advantage. He developed it further and came out with advanced technology and now, man is even threatening to alter the foundation of his existence, tinkering even with natural laws and bending everything in his favour. The gods, if at all they existed in his imagination, has been recreated in another form. Man has conducted the tempo of what used to be nature and mythical phenomenon according to his own volition.
But there are still unanswered portions in man’s philosophical quests. He is still clueless when miracles would happen. He is still dependent on fate or what its equivalent in science, if at all there is any. He could not determine that which he cannot see although he can define air as matter despite its invisibility. He is still ignorant about will, love and luck. Even if his command of science is almost absolute, he is still at a loss on the cure of cancer and some debilitating diseases.
Whenever man faces a dilemma, he cannot restrain his instinct for speculation. His suspicious inclination would even border on that of superstition. For him, the truth is sometimes made and at times even manufactured. He could not ascertain yet what certainty is all about.
Man has not changed even if he has overhauled his environment. His nature is the same even if everything around him has been overturned several times over. Man during biblical times is the same man we have today. He may have progressed in terms of using the wheel or reinventing fire, but his basic outlook, his principal psychological and even his biological make up remains as it was.
The mind which visualized the gods of Olympus, the spirit which conscripted holiness, the thought that reconfigured philosophy is the same as the will that prompted the arts and sciences. For centuries, man has expanded his understanding of his universe, even attempted to see through the far end of galaxy but would fall short in comprehending what lay behind his consciousness.
Despite his superiority lies his inferior nature when faced with a challenge. By day, his brute strength is almost immeasurable but by night, he is as helpless as an infant. At a glance, he is modern but up close he is just a mere shadow of his past.
Half of his life is like that of a god, the other half is that of a prey. As he confronts reality, he either fights or goes into flight. If he remains passive, indecisive and faltering, he ends up at the bottom of the heap, unable to grasp veracity and would wither with poor perception of what made his life possible. On the other hand, if he leads a life of adventure, a life devoted to struggle and a life indulged in discipline and great effort, unafraid to fail, and does not fear death at all, he eventually becomes strong.
Strong are those whose names are remembered and whose deeds are memorialized.
It is so, because, in the words of Homer, “the gods favor only the strong.”