Mimetic deities, by Chet Raymo

Rest on the Flight into Egypt, by Caravaggio, 1594-1596

Rest On the Flight Into Egypt, by Caravaggio, 1594-1596

Snowflake by Simply InnocuousWinterviews continues today.  From the Solstice till Imbolc, we’re bringing you non-stop interviews and other goodies from big-name authors:

Today, we have an intriguing article from Chet Raymo’s Science Musings column.

Those of you who have been on the porch for a while will know that my favorite Caravaggio is “The Rest On the Flight Into Egypt”. I love the way it captures the yin and yang of existence — the feminine and the masculine, the dark and the light, the soft and the hard, the wet and the dry, the tender and the fraught. Each quality depends upon the other. The painting is all about balance, moderation, humility. Resignation. Acceptance. Grace.

Narcissus, by Caravaggio, 1594-1596

Narcissus, by Caravaggio, 1594-1596

Here is another Caravaggio, “Narcissus,” a depiction of the story from Ovid of the beautiful youth who falls in love with his own reflection in the still water of a pool. (Click to enlarge.) So transfixed is he by his beauty — look! his lips are poised to kiss — he lingers and dies.

Not a painting I like. No yin and yang this. A bleak narcissism. Cold, dark, stasis.

Where are the apples and the pomegranates? The cedar and the myrrh? This young man is not in love with the world, but with himself. He has created a god in his own image. He worships that god with a fixed attention that frustrates growth and development. His arms and those of his image form a circle that turns round and round upon itself, enclosing nothing. Not a leaf or blade of grass, not a pebble or ripple.

This article reprinted from Science Musings under a Creative Commons License.

The author

Chet Raymo

Chet Raymo (born September 17, 1936 in Chattanooga, Tennessee) is a noted writer, educator and naturalist. He is Professor Emeritus of Physics at Stonehill College, in Easton, Massachusetts. His weekly newspaper column Science Musings appeared in the Boston Globe for twenty years. This is now a daily blog by him. Raymo espouses his Religious Naturalism in When God is Gone Everything is Holy – The Making of a Religious Naturalist and frequently in his blog. As Raymo says – I attend to this infinitely mysterious world with reverence, awe, thanksgiving, praise. All religious qualities.  (bio text courtesy of Wikipedia)

Chet Raymo’s Science Musings are now freely available at blog.sciencemusings.com.

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