Fascinating and such a thought provoking topic – Athena, Medusa, Reflection, Wisdom and Stoned.
You wrote, “And suddenly, Athena made sense to me. Wisdom, which (for Socrates, at any rate) means recognizing your own ignorance, must only be approached after careful reflection. If you confront it directly, you’ll be immobilized?”
Metaphor of being stoned to me is also when one’s heart grows cold, like Scrooge, unable to feel the pain of the other. Four visits from the ghost of Christmas’ past compelled him to reflect upon his darkness and walk out of it. In this case, reflection was the saving grace.
But there is no immobility when we approach wisdom to simply philosophize, ask questions about life and death, seek wisdom on subjects that elude us. Dwelling upon death so as to approach it wisely does not immobilize me, it clears the fog, it demystifies the mystery, it eases any unnecessary anxiety around the issue. The immobilization is in facing our betrayals and wondering without reflection on our blindness.
So, am I right in saying that at times I have been stoned by Medusa (without reflection) and at other times, it’s just a play with Athena, without encountering Medusa?