Between Tartarus and Heaven


At the toe end of desire in this big bad world, lies a fundamental inescapable prison, which the Greeks poetically named Tartarus. What the Greeks implied by this stark imagery that could only be concocted in their minds, was the simple assertion that there would always be a battle between desire and its repercussions. We, the creatures of Earth, or Gaia, are deemed to lie between these two extremes eternally.

This poetic imagery renders itself viable to any number of interpretations: the extremes of paranoia and orgasms, of death and life, in short, of any two connected extremes with Tartarus representing the horrid extreme while Heaven the attractive one. In most of the cases, the latter leads to the former, and in a less obvious way, the former also leads to the latter. This is what I call ‘the cosmic balance’. These two extremes complete each other, and are, through an imperceptible dimension, connected as well. This is the same dimension that connects Hades and Gaia, which may represent trifle sorrows and trifle joys. I am sure the readers will do without an elaborate (and in some ways condescending) explanation of why I find the extremes connected.

The point of this article, however, is to show how our basic thought about life has remained the same, from the time of the Greeks to the present day teenager. This is how our society is shaped. We all eventually know that like our joys, our sorrows too are ephemeral, but it would not prevent us from treasuring or being tormented by them.

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