The sin of Icarus

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by youreyes, Aug 9, 2012.

  1. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

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    What is the sin of Icarus? The son of Daedalus, defied his fathers warnings and flew too close to the "sun" and fell to his death down below. While Daedalus flew on, the master who created the wings to fly with for himself and his son. What does the sun represent? The myth is being explained as the sun being an ambition that is beyond limits. Is this a warning for humanity to not venture far into the "sun"? The humanity has surpassed the limits defied by the imagination of the Greeks...we have standed on the moon, floated in space, and sent our vessels around the Sun, the planets of our system, and outside of the solar system. So what is this "sun" for us? What is this limit to humanity that is a warning in the story of Icarus?

    Dare we not fly? we did...

    A human ornithopter, the dream of civilizations, had been flown ... it got almost no media attention, either

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    Is this "sun" an everchaning limit, that changes as our civilization evolves in consciousness of itself and the surroundings? Is the rate of evolution of our civilization the warning? What would happen if we were to choose a path where we would step over bounds of our own evolution of thought? Utopia and a new social structure of community that lives in total balance with itself and surroundings is what we are striving for, right?
     
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  3. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    But people did die achieving those things. They should have stayed at home.
     
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  5. R1D2 many leagues under the sea. Valued Senior Member

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    Our "sun". Is like boundless, we humans push the boundaries all the time. We are ambitious, yes. But some never fulfill there ambitions. But its always fun trying. But when we succeed, its on to the next goal.
    An icarus's wings if I remember correctly were made of wax an feathers. The sun melted them when he did not listen an flew to high.
    In that regard I would say don't set you expectations to high an get burned.. An take what your elder tells you with a grain of salt. They said something for a reason.
     
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  7. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

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    if they stayed at home, so would Vinton Cerf and Tim Berners have stayed home too...and you wouldn't be writing that quote now, as the internet would probably been delayed till someone else invented it.
     
  8. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

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    no but the thing is, I am beginning to question the message that this myth carried. About the expectations being set too high, is this a limit imposed upon humanity by the laws of physics? What is the penalty? And what of Daedalus who succeeded and went on to his next goal? The myth ends there...its no longer interesting to us.
     
  9. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

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    You can stay home and invent the internet.
     
  10. R1D2 many leagues under the sea. Valued Senior Member

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    Just maybe, I'm not understanding what you really are looking for. I apologize if my message didn't do good enough to your question.
    But further I will add that I think the penalty for failure is death in this story. An that is what it is a greek story. The myth ends because if I remember right Icarus (who I like) was trying to escape. Maybe the story is hinting that there is always another way. An to always look for another option.
     
  11. Promo Registered Senior Member

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    How would you get your supplies? You could have them delivered but someone would have to drive them, meaning someone has to leave their home.
     
  12. Cavalier Knight of the Opinion Registered Senior Member

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    There is never "one" interpretation of anything, and Icarus has been used (though rarely in my experience) as a symbol of high ambition, rather than hubris or overweening ambition.

    That said, if we tried to fly to the Sun on wax wings today, we would also, like Icarus, be demonstrating our foolishness. Just because something is a good idea doesn't mean a particular method of achieving it is a good one, or that a person relying on an inadequate method should be lauded for his "can do" (espcially where, as with Icarus, one has been warned). The point of the Icarus story was definitely not "ambition is bad", so the most that can be gleaned from it is "ambition can exceed one's ability to succeed, so don't set and pursue unattainable goals". That message seems painfully correct.
     
  13. youreyes amorphous ocean Valued Senior Member

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    So in context of humanity and how our civilization is presently developing how would we distinguish what is an "unattainable goal"? Will we be able to stop pursue of such a goal once we realize it?
     
  14. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    It wasn't a sin. It was a navigation error.
     
  15. Cavalier Knight of the Opinion Registered Senior Member

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    If you are looking for a heuristic that will always sort the possible from the impossible, there is none. There are definitely light and dark areas at either end of the many shades of gray. If you goal is to brush your teeth every morning, that goal is (for the average modern American) clearly attainable. That said, if you would like to orbit the Sun using nothing more than bronze age technology and some fanciful waxwork wings, that is not.

    One path to great accomplishments is to set more immediate, obviously attainable goals, that align with some broader plan. Don't wake up every morning saying "today I'm going to cure cancer" but rather start smaller with "today I am going to study organic chemistry for three hours." That may then align (after a series of similar smaller steps) with a goal of getting a degree in medicine or molecular biology, then later researching different aspects of particular cancer cells, then retarding the reproduction of those cells, then stopping that reproduction, then stopping that reproduction in vivo, and then to a possible human treatment for curing that particular cancer (say colon cancer). Then you can follow similar series of steps to work on another cancer, say leukemia.

    Some people say a man's reach should exceed his grasp, but one needs to understand that most men who strive to make their reach exceed their grasp wind up empty handed. And of those who succeed in their goals? They likely overestimated the difficulty and happened to have succeeded because the object of their goal was closer than they knew.
     
  16. GASHOLE Registered Senior Member

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    Sadly, this is just another myth like the bible.
     
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Jung looks in the opposite direction and (after studying the legends of all the cultures throughout history) says that the Earth represents our mother. In Jungian dream analysis, for example, a dream of flying supposedly means that you're trying to get away from your mother. The fact that most people end up back on the ground (perhaps with injuries) indicates that we can never really be free of our mothers.

    Jung tells us to analyze the Icarus archetype by looking down, not up.
     

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