Muses, Mythology

Alexander’s Conundrum

Alexander_and_Aristotle

Alexander seeks the Hellenic wisdom of the philosophers and the Gods. He is not a haughty King and he does not fear the advice of his betters, mortal and immortal. He inquires as to how to be a warrior worthy of respect and love

Alexander: What is required of a mans spirit if he is to become a successful man of war?

Aristotle: In his spirit he must seek the kindness inherent in the conqueror. He must fail in the attempt at ruthless dispassion.

Alexander: Why must the man of war attempt dispassion at all if he is to fail? What an exercise in futility!

Aristotle: There is no futility in failure if the endeavor is undertaken with a simple purity. The only failure I can contemplate is the failure to act upon our spiritual drives. We feel as men in a world of eunuchs do when we exercise our power over others. We further strive for that power by ignoring the instinct endowed in us for moderation in action.

Alexander: But why Master? Why must we fail at dispassion? Is it not healthy for us to distance ourselves from those we conquer?

Aristotle: How would that be healthy? To eliminate the humanity of those we destroy we eliminate the humanity, and the divine imperative, of the mission we set out upon; to unite the factions of the world under a singular banner and a singular rhythm, through the act of war we seek to forge an everlasting peace. Dispassion is the enemy of action, and action is the only route to power.

Alexander: But you evade my question: why must we attempt dispassion at all?

Aristotle: We attempt dispassion because we can never understand the wickedness of that state of mind until we see what it does to our own mind and soul. I repeat because it is worth repeating: Dispassion towards our enemies eliminates the humanity of our actions in favor of peace and unity.

Alexander: But how does a wolf whelp a lamb? How does peace come from war?

Aristotle: Grow to become a wolf and find out the truth for yourself.

Alexander: I tire of your riddles.

Aristotle: I tire of your willfulness, but  alas it is that feature of yours that keeps me well fed.

Alexander: So eat your fill old man, and I will think over your lessens while I wrestle with my friends.

Aristotle: Hark! Do not forget to treat your opponents with the passion befitting your rank.

Alexander: And what rank is that?

Aristotle: Youth, Prince, Philosopher, and Brazen hearted bull.

 

The modern youth turns to his drugs and to his modern philosophy when in mental turmoil.

In desperation the ancient youth turns to his gods, the resplendent Apollo and the deviously wise Dionysus

 

Alexander: Oh gods his is a foolish genius! Truly a blessed curse.

Apollo: The son of the gods in all but deed. He will return to us a star brilliant in a constellation of his own Creation. Nothing can be more true then this truth.

Alexander: A truth! An immodest declaration of opinion as fact! I live for these moments where I can frustrate the certainties of an honorable but simple mind. Where is the truth in the realization of Alexander as a god? How a god if he cannot even succeed as a man?

Apollo: There is no perfect man. Perfection is the nature of the gods, and to be a god one must be perfect. In     the act of attaining, reaching, perfection one invariable must have the immortal spark in his very     nature. Alexander is ours in nature and in potential. That is truth.

Alexander: But! But! I proclaim however and as a reminder: you stated that he will return to you a “star brilliant” as any and beyond what a mortal can hope to achieve. If that spark is indeed extant in him  then why trap his brilliance in this infernal flesh you so despised and only reluctantly deign to robe yourselves in? Why not plant the star yourself in the sky of your own sovereignty? Why waste a star? Why waste your time in games of fallible and inevitably fetid flesh?

Dionysus: Why waste a star? Indeed why waste a god? Haven’t we enough of those to last us the day and longer? A day is a day enough for me, and a hero is enough of a god for the men who fart most of their libations skyward anyway.

Apollo: Figh! A day with you is indeed a day enough. Sooth that ardent vine of yours brother and leave the     business of heaven to those who do no ruminate under the sway of mortal poisons.

Alexander: Oh how I must have pleased Olympus! They have sent me a quarrel worthy of my prayers and sacrifices. To obfuscate my own troubles with the quibbles and rivalry of greater beings is indeed a treat that I will not pass up.

Apollo: Great beings my eye! Look upon this fool I must call a brother. He is as much a god as I, and yet I fail to see the glory in gross inebriation.

Dionysus: The glory is not becoming drunk; the glory is in being drunk. Drunkenness can bring me to the post profound realizations about the nature of my existence… and in the nature of a fine woman’s ass.

Apollo: I need no wine to enjoy a beautiful woman!

Dionysus: Aye, but you might need a bit to enjoy a homely one.

Alexander: There are no homely women; only sober men.

Apollo: Do not encourage his crassness my son… He takes to concord like a babe to a teat.

Dionysus: I never left my teat… what is the point in that? As a babe it brings succor and milk, and as an adult succor and… a more joyous brew.

Alexander: I took in much more than sustenance from my mothers breast. I was, from my earliest days, fed the words and deeds of men great and proud. Stories of warriors, demigods, and yea, even gods like thee. I was brought up to be their equal, and in the case of mortals, their betters. Such a tiresome chore being a prince of man; no length run is long enough, no leap skyward high enough, and no foe fierce enough for the man who would be a new Achilles. And nothing less than Achilles is expected for the noble, mystic wife of Philip. I must be a man if men, but a man above from one moment to the next. Tell me O Lords… How does one live as a god and a man?

Apollo: You cannot. There is no god made man. You must live as a man to become a god, or be born a god  from the beginning of things. A man can reach immortality through domination of his fellow man, and through the mastering of his human emotions and thoughts. There is no immortality in man that can grow in a garden of earthly delights.

Dionysus: Why is it that you look at me when screeching your platitudes? The vine is not born of any “earthly” garden; it sprung from the rich and immortal slopes of Olympus. To drink is to live as a god. To engage in the fruits of drink is to live an Olympian existence! Men live in anticipation of immortality, a fate that most will never have. Here I find myself in partial agreement with my more stoical brother; Man at his best is indeed a god, for only a god can be the best among men. And as this is nigh impossible for a man to become god, then it is nigh impossible for a man to be at his best in the mortal world. Be as a man among men Alexander. Lead them as a cunning wolf would a flock of sheep. When you lead them to the pen, sup at you own pleasure.

Alexander: You vex me! I am wholly split in my admiration for both of your arguments. I see the wisdom of both points of view. How am I, a mortal man despite all my airs, to choose of these two paths? Must I live as a two-faced worshiper of duty and deviousness?

There is no God of final moral arbitration. There is no sage that can choose your path. Alexander must be an Oracle unto himself

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