Odysseus Lashed to the Mast

September 22, 2013

An online search for an image of Odysseus – lashed to the mast of the ship to resist the dangerous allure of the songs of the Sirens – led me to this picture.


I’ve no idea who did it, but it is an illustration to this article, ‘Anti-Odysseus’, which draws inspiration from a primordial Dionysian current against the poverty of a life of unspoken despair under the rule of Law. The deprived existence which this Greek-language article addresses is more fundamental than, though coincident with, the material austerity imposed as part of the ‘debt crisis’ in Greece. However, against these different forms of poverty, its motto ‘is not the makropolitiko interest of a sick society’, the wealth management of utilitarianism, but ‘the completeness of the subject’, ‘intensifying the sidelined desirable and reinventing the human person born for enjoyment’.  Through the warped optic of its automatically-generated English translation, the blog as a whole is a hypnotic blend of portentous Deleuzian mysticism, deepened by the main image of what appears to be the ‘Peacock Angel’ (revered by a pre-Christian and pre-Muslim sect called the Yezidi, in northern Iraq). Phrases like ‘prismatic subjectivity’ (presumably, in contrast to the bounded subject seated in the ‘egotistiko throne of Ithaca’) permeate the text, wherein ‘all sides comes the Dionysian laughter, no reason to tame playful activity under the requirements of homogenised Law’. I’m really not sure what to make of it all. It’s interesting, though disconcerting, reading…


Odysseus and Calypso
Max Beckmann


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