At work i am Achilles, contending with heroes over spoils of war; at night — Odysseus, with but a god for friend.


5 Comments to “”

  1. Even heroes build their bridges of friendships. On them they meet and see that their thoughts and fears were remote from reality. And also that the greatest fear is provoked by thoughts constructed and sentiments not shared. Like giants erected on sand, they sink in it together with their thinking minds and feeling chests and stomachs. And our heroes laugh at their thoughts and they drink to their fears. Above all, they celebrate a pleasure not thought of in mind and not felt in the chest. As with all thoughts and sentiments, our “heroes” have to become familiar with this new joy, not predestined in their chromosomes, how could it?: Repetition, habit, sweet anticipation of the future sharing happiness will do their work.
    Greetings. Be well.

  2. You are right, Achilles did have his Patroclus, and Odysseus Penelope. And yet their relationships were not the same. Achilles lived with his friend and fought in a rage to avenge him after he was killed; Odysseus was separated for decades from his friend and had to postpone his joy almost forever. For some, Patroclus is already dead and Penelope still far off on the horizon — though a lovely Circe does lie somewhere along the way… but you will say: i am quickly sinking into the sand once more, and you’d be right, friend.

  3. The only thing I may say is: Keep on learning from real relationships. They teach us what our sharp-witted minds and lively phantasies, together with all the books we’ve read, cannot. It is the friendships that make us human and make us change. The mind cannot see but the things it constructs, repeatedly (it is great to observe how great the mind is in repetitions) and somehow cunningly. And on the top of it, it thinks this is reality. Sometimes or even very often, it is not.
    I am looking forward to coming to the other side of the ocean, since it is there (Canada) that I found a job and not in Europe. I am happy that I will be among human beings and in real and every day relationships again. You cannot imagine how happy.
    Be well, friend. And force yourself to mix with people and in this way test the realities of your mind and heart, and become better in both.

  4. Well congratulations! So you are now berufen, eine echte Professorin. Btw, i am not without friends; i had originally written “At work i am Achilles, contending with heroes over spoils of war; at night — Odysseus.” but it felt too short, so i added the pathetic ending. What i meant to imply (admittedly in 21 short words) is that the workplace still has a structured ethical framework with a goal (the good of the company and its employees), virtues that support that goal and “agon”, a sustained striving towards those goals and competition both between companies and amongst employees. But once you leave work, that ethical framework disappears; you now deal not with hundreds of fellow employees who are all part of the same endeavor, but a handful of family members and friends in a sea of millions of strangers — and there are no longer clearly defined goals or virtues, but instead vague expectations. And so at night we become Odysseus and his sailor friends, lost and alone in an uncaring world, and consequently we deal with most everyone we meet (say, on the bus, at the store, on the road) as strangers, not fellow heroes.

    Achilles and Hector might have been enemies, but they were not strangers. And there were clear rules to decide who was truly agathon. Odysseus could only be cunning, there is no reason to be agathon with a Cyclops. Just so i might compete with those at work for the best jobs and projects, and with my peers at competitor firms, but i have no relation to the bus driver who takes me home, or to my neighbor in my apartment building. As soon as i leave work i am among strangers with strange habits, until i reach home where perhaps someone awaits me.

  5. Thank you. All that you say is worth fleshing out and communicating, I think. Why put it into just a couple of words? There were a lot of strangers in ancient times, but we do not hear a lot about them, as in all cultures.
    I am happy you have friends to learn from and to change and make yourself better for. Keep at it!

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