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I read Iliad as a boy . . . Badly. I wished to see Helen, the face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium. I did not wish to speak to Helen, honor Helen, be human with Helen.
This was unwise. To be like Paris, is to be the worst character in Iliad. Paris betrays ever honorable value for “love” that is just Eros. Helen is a “prize,” an object to be won, when reality demands we see Helen as a human.
Achilles - Hero - Thing - Woman - Prize
Achilles, the greatest Greek hero, does the same thing. He reduces a woman he “loves” to a prize. Of greatest importance this harms her, but is also devastating to the Greeks. You cannot treat a soul created in the Image of God as a “prize” to be won and not do great damage to the cosmos.
Thing - Soul - Soul - Means - End
You have taken an eternal thing, a human soul, and used that soul as a means to some selfish end. Achilles fractures the Greek army to get his prize back and many die, including his friend Patroclus. Paris destroys everything around him and the greatest pity is he is one of the last to suffer.Things are bad when you root for death, but Paris is so bad that a sentimental reader has no interest in his triumphs.
No human can be a means to an end. Every human must be the end for any other human. We are not God, not even gods, so we must honor the sameness of all humans. They are not for us. We are not for them. Yet men, or at least this man, can struggle to see beyond our need and desire.
Man - Women - Totality - Humanity - Woman
No man should treat women as “other,” because the totality of humanity is woman and man.
“Are women human?”
Dorothy - Sayers
Dorothy Sayers asked and young me...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Eidos
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