oracles ancient and modern

What I was trying to say last night when noise took over is that we have a long list of modern oracles–not that their message is (necessarily) mystical but because, like ancient oracles, they have been assigned the task of acquainting us with the unknown and unknowable.  We appoint them, pay them and we listen to them: pundits, pollsters, statisticians, consultants, ministers, psychoanalysts (of which I’m one), physicians, experts and self-anointed experts of all stripes….

The point is that the impossible wish to know the unknowable–and the unconscious–is deep in the human program.  And that for thousands of years, Herodotus teaches, the wish has led us astray.  (It’s interesting in this regard that Herodotus regards it as one of the wisdoms of the Persians that they ignore physicians!)

Henry Seiden

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One Response to oracles ancient and modern

  1. April 10, 2008 at 10:15 AM says:

    <p>This is a bibliographical list from Wikipedia. The sources I know best (aside from Herodotus himself) are Burkert and Guthrie. I recommend those first.</p><p>Broad, William J. The Oracle: Ancient Delphi and the Science Behind its Lost Secrets, 2006. ISBN 1-59-420081-5.<br>Burkert, Walter, Greek Religion 1985.<br>Farnell, Lewis Richard, The Cults of the Greek States, 1896.<br>Goodrich, Norma Lorre, Priestesses, 1990.<br>Guthrie, William Keith Chambers, The Greeks and their Gods, 1955.<br>Hall, Manly Palmer, The Secret Teachings of All Ages, 1928. Ch. 14 cf. Greek Oracles,www, PRS<br>Herodotus, The Histories<br>Homeric Hymn to Pythian Apollo<br>Parke, Herbert William, History of the Delphic Oracle, 1939.<br>Plutarch "Lives"<br>Rohde, Erwin, Psyche, 1925.<br>West, Martin Litchfield, The Orphic Poems, 1983. ISBN 0-19-814854-2.<br></p>

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