Mar 9, 2006

Icarus Rising

So why is it that everyone remembers Icarus but nobody recalls Daedalus?

If I remember my mythology correctly, it seem to me that Daedalus was the smart one. It was he who envisioned his and his son escaping from their prison, it was he who gathered the materials, the wax and what must have been mountains of feathers, and most importantly it was he who fabricated those wonderous wings for himself and his son. And of course it was Daedalus who kept a level head throughout what must have been to him a miraculous time--winning his and his son's freedom as well as the overwhelming pride that he must have felt when he realised not only that his invention was working properly but that he had given all of mankind the gift of flight. He could join the realm of the birds, but despite this heady discovery he was certain to think clearly and logically about the potentially fatal implications of his invention.

And having warned his impetuous, hedonistic son Icarus about the dangers of flying too high, Daedalus made a perfect, sane, and level flight all the way to his goal. His son the git decided that fun was to be had, and started playing the fool. This of course lead to his soaring too close to brave Helios, whose radiant and life-giving warmth melted the wax, releasing the feathers from his father's incredible discovery and dropping Icarus straight into the sea, where he drowned. Drowned, that is, if she survived the several thousand foot fall from the sky. Why? Because he was too much of a block head to listen to his father.

What a doofus.

So why is it that everyone still remembers Icarus' flight? Why does everyone recall the flight that didn't succeed? He died, as we just discussed. He died a miserable death, all because he didn't have his father's gift of thinking ahead, didn't have the desire or the ability to realise that all actions have their reactions, that every stone tossed in the pond is going to cause ripples. So what is it that makes us recall Icarus and not Daedalus? Is it our desire to root for the underdog? Icarus was not the underdog, he was an equal to his father. What he needed was GIVEN to him, he didn't even have to work for it. Is it our appreciation and love of those who fail bravely? Icarus didn't fail bravely; he failed foolishly. It was his own foolishness that killed him, his failure to listen to the warnings. So perhaps it is our need to, as a certain young man once said, "Live fast, die young, and have a beautiful corpse."

I don't know about you, but I plan to live for as long as I possibly can. Not hiding myself in a cave where I can be safe and secure, but out in the real world, with all it's attendant dangers, toils and snares. I might see you there. I'll be the one listening to the warnings, taking at least a passing heed to them.

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I wrote all that several days ago, and abandoned it when I realised that it was going in a direction I didn't care for--a direction that seems to point me out as a uber-cautious Casper Milquetoast of a man, and that's not the case, but I had gotten too far into the hole to climb back out, so I'll present it as is, and let you make your own call.

2 comments:

Vulgar Wizard said...

What brought that on?

Mickey Glitter said...

I'm with you, at least listening to the warnings but not allowing them to make my decisions for me. If I did that, I'm damn sure I'd never leave my house! =)