Showing posts from November, 2010
O spring like crystal!
If only, on your silver surface,
you would suddenly form
the eyes I have desired,
which I bear sketched deep within my heart.
~John of the Cross
Spiritual Canticle

The myth of Narcissus tells the story of a beautiful young man courted by many women but incapable of returning the affection of even one. The goddess Nemesis takes pity on one of his rejected suitors and determines that Narcissus should fall in love with himself and remain unable to reciprocate, thus cursing him with the unrequited love that had afflicted his cortege of spurned lovers.

The next time Narcissus catches a glimpse of his reflection in a pond, lo and behold, he is transfixed by the sight of himself. Enamored by his own appearance, he cannot leave the pond and perishes trying to embrace his elusive reflection on the water.

This myth is about conceit. It was conceit that prevented Narcissus from loving anyone and conceit that, in the end, led him to embrace a mirage.

Conceit comes from the word …