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Reply To: Lions, and Tigers, Athena, oh my!” with Professor Mark C.E. Peterson”


Hi Larry,

Thank you so much for the kind words. I did have to keep it fairly simple to stay underneath the required word count. 🙂 As I mentioned in one of these other threads, this idea of failing to acknowledge our own ignorance – as a way of understanding wisdom – wanders off into the deep end of the pool very very quickly. As you’ve noted here in your own response.

But I might have been clearer about what Medusa means to me. It has nothing to do with frustration. That’s not the experience I’m referring to. The experience I’m referring to is where your cognitive faculties completely lock up…. which seems to me to be where you’re headed in your response. I did mention reading Hegel, 🙂 and if you’ve tried to do that you know exactly what I’m talking about. Your brain tries to stop you from going any further. For me it felt literally like being frozen, as opposed to frustrated.

If I’m reading you right, I think you’re adding a wonderful addition to this metaphor – that business about being led astray into endless banalities. That happens to me all the damn time. 🙂 I would venture to say that these distractions are easily represented by the snakes and Medusa’s head. I had to cut a section out of the article to fit the word count but it was my yoga instructor who first pointed out the snakes. She asked me, “what does Medusa have on her head?” I said, “snakes.” She said, “do the snakes look happy?”

That booming buzzing confusion that happens when we approach wisdom without proper humility can be avoided by pursuing endless banalities instead. But these have the same effect of freezing us in our current situation, of aborting any further  personal development.

does that make what I was saying a little clearer? Thank you so much for your comments.