Quote of the day
Morning meditation - Look beneath the surface

Weight, the book

Weight is the title of a book written by Jeanette Winterson about the myth of Atlas and Hercules published in 2005. It is almost poetry as it recounts the labors of Atlas who has to hold up the world and Hercules who holds up the world for a brief period while Atlas steals Hera's golden apples for Hercules.

This myth of Atlas and Hercules is a story about choice and duty and their formative influence on one's fate and destiny. In the introduction Winterson writes:

"Right now, human beings as a mass, have a gruesome appetite for what they call 'real', whether it's Reality TV or the kind of plodding fiction that only works as low-grade documentary, or at the better end, the factual programmes and biographies and 'true life' accounts that occupy the space where imagination used to sit. Such phenomenon point to a terror of the inner life, of the sublime, of the poetic, of the non-material, of the contemplative."

I do not agree with Winterson that people have a terror of inner life and so favor their entertainment in pedestrian "reality TV" shows. People tend to be, at least in the United States, very taken with religious myths of all sorts, UFOs, Harry Potter, etc. The Greek myths of old, though, get to the heart of the mysteries of our human existence and after 2500 years they still are as current as ever. Winterson's book, Weight, takes the old and makes it relevant and new again. It is worth the read if you like this kind of literature.


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