Man has found he way to the resonance of the word


"What walks on fours in the morning, twos  at midday and threes in the afternoon?"

Sophocles, Antigone (lines 332-75). There are many translations, this one by Ralph Manheim is best I know of.

There is much that is strange, but nothing
that surpasses man in strangeness.
He sets sail on the frothing waters
amid the south winds of winter
taking through the mountains
and furious chasms of the waves.
He wearied even the noblest of gods, the Earth,
indestructible and untiring,
overturning her from year to year,
driving the plows this way and that
with horses.
And man, pondering and plotting,
snares the light-gliding birds
and hunts the beasts of the wilderness
and the native creatures of the sea.
With guile he overpowers the beast
that roams the mountains by night as by day,
he yokes the hirsute neck of the stallion
and the undaunted bull.

And he has found his way
to the resonance of the logos,**
and to wind-swift all-understanding,
and to the courage to rule over cities.
He has considered also how to flee
from exposure to the arrows
of unpropitious weather and frost.

Everywhere journeying, inexperienced and without issue,
he comes to nothingness.
Through no flight can he resist
the one assault of death,
even if he has succeeded in cleverly evading
painful sickness.

Clever indeed, mastering
the ways of skill beyond all hope,
he sometimes accomplishes evil,
sometimes achieves brave deeds.
He wends his way between the laws of the earth
and the adjured justice of the gods.
Rising high above his place,
he who for  the sake of adventure takes
the nonessent for essent* looses
his place in the end.

May such a man never frequent my hearth;
May my mind never share the presumption
of him who does this.

*essent: the being that belongs to every being, the present participle of "sum" in Latin. From which "being-there" emerges.
** logos is translated as "word" but it is much more.




"wind-swift all-understanding"

The Titan Prometheus  steals the divine fire for humanity, enabling language, consciousness,  and the development of civilization.

Plato thinks that the name Prometheus derived from the Greek prefix pro- (before) + manthano (intelligence) and the agent suffix-eus, thus meaning "Forethinker".


One of the  first philosophers to deal with the Logos is Heraclitus. He stresses that the message is not his own invention, but a timeless truth available to any who attend to the way the world itself is. “Although this Word is common,” he warns, “the many live as if they had a private understanding.”  The Word (account, message) exists apart from Heraclitus' teaching, but he tries to convey that message to his audience:

"Of this Word's being forever do men prove to be uncomprehending, both before they hear and once they have heard it. For although all things happen according to this Word, they are like the unexperienced experiencing words and deeds such as I explain when I distinguish each thing according to its nature and show how it is. Other men are unaware of what they do when they are awake just as they are forgetful of what they do when they are asleep."

Plato thinks (techne) is  superior to merely natural instincts (physis). For Plato only reverence and justice can provide for the maintenance of a civilized society.  The gift of techne is the ability to make tools and the most valuable tool given to man was logos, language. But Sophocles and Plato both warn us about the misuse of our tools. Plato says actions must be tempered with reverence and justice. Sophocles says if we replace the essent for the nonessent we  will lose our way.

Language, consciousness, and memory are interrelated, so we must take a peek at the myth of memory,