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The aquisition of colored plumages:
a Parintintin myth of the liberation of the affects in a state of transition between
life and death.
      An old man is abandoned to die by a friend who was his best companion for life.  Feeling betrayed and agonizing he has an experience. The most powerful animal from the forest, the Amazonian eagle, comes to rescue him from his fate. The animal is a mother and, with the matter of the body of a another human being, it makes paints for coloring the gray birds.
      Eagles in reality are powerful creatures who can hunt animals and fly, a desired capacity by every human being. The eagle appears in many mythologies. For instance, it is the creature which eats the liver of Prometheus, a god-man from the Greek mythology. According to the myth, this happened as a punishment by Zeus, because against the wishes of the latter, Prometheus gave the fire for the mortals. But Prometheus was an immortal, and for this reason his liver was eaten one day and regenerated in the other day. This Greek myth tells that the acquisition of the fire by human kind had a terrible price, that was a human sacrifice. This is a lesson which is still to be learned, considering the price we pay by many of the technological advances which come together with the development of our science.
      In the Parintintin myth, a similar situation happens since the acquisition of colors by the birds also involves a human sacrifice. The colored birds have also a great value for that people, although of a different kind. They are not only astonishingly beautiful but their meat feeds the humans and they have the desired property of flying, what humans cannot do by themselves. Colors have a meaning which transcends our visual experiences, being associated to emotional experiences of different natures. This aspect of the birds, in comparison to the external aspects of the human body and in contrast with the human skin color, a world of green leaves, white sands and brown earth, makes, from colored birds, symbols of the power of nature above the human existence. The vision of the Amazonian sky, full of colored birds, can have a psychological impact which simple words cannot describe. Birds can then be considered as semi-gods, half animals and half magic creatures from the heavens, like the angels.
      There is also punishment and sacrifice in the Parintintin myth. The two old men were together and their presence was a threat for the eagle’s chicken. They did not succeed with their intent, both friends suffered and were punished with the destruction of their old friendship. Seen as a couple, their existences completed each other and, later, what one loses the other gains. One loses the life and the other regains his life, participating in the reconstruction of Nature. The one who died also contributed, with his internal organs, for this reconstruction. It is a strange fact of nature that the contact with the internal parts of the human body only can happen with the death of the being. So, the fact that from this internal material was made color for the semi-god birds, clearly suggests a transformation to a new form of existence.
      The means of this transformation is a new form of partnership. Human existence is a complex of experiences of body and soul, including the strong emotions related to the feelings of love and friendship. These feelings are in the foundations of the human life. They are broken in the myth and a new form of partnership emerges, involving the man and the eagle. And from this new settlement the knowledge of the origins comes about. For the old man, the eagle represents the power of liberation from his terrible suffering, with the understanding of his old values of human friendship. This myth suggest the birth of a new kind of religion, based on the recognition of the value of the human friendship, cooperation and integration with Nature.

 

 

Illustrated reflections on contrasts between

New York City and the Amazon Rainforest

New York, pdf