Mythology: From Ancient to Post-Modern

By Jürgen Kleist; Bruce A. Butterfield | Go to book overview

world again and again? What makes ever more interpretation possible? What really is chaotic intensification of language? If we can talk about the language of fractals, can we also talk about the fractals of language? And if we can, does this imply a variety of new and interesting "hyper-texts" that open up to a wide choice of "hyper-orders"?

As far as I am concerned, we have just begun to read the Odyssey. Most of the works that are based on this text have, over the centuries, tried to restrict the information it contains within carefully controlled boundaries. I have been suggesting that control is a two-edged sword. We cannot know, consciously, everything that is simultaneously present in word texts, even if we had all the time we needed to explicate all the possibilities in all possible reading trajectories. But we do have the ability to select parameters and perspectives that suit our needs for regulation. If therefore we can learn to live without the finality of a single closed and perfect reading, I have faith that the provisional gods and hormones we have currently chosen will serve us well in our continuing search for their equally provisional successors.


Notes and Comments
1
"The possibility of failure becomes the postulate of a moral excuse for profit. From the standpoint of the developed exchange society and its individuals, the adventures of Odysseus are an exact representation of the risks which mark out the road to success. Odysseus. . . had the choice between deceit or failure." Max Horkheimer/ Theodor W. Adorno, Dialectic of Enlightenment ( New York: Herder, 1972), p. 62.
2
Michel Serres, Hermes ( Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1982), p. 48.
3
"Reason plays Odysseus as he plays it; he is not Virgil, for whom the providential teleological closure of non-reflexive reason has been completed, and hence for whom the future has been decided. . . In the Odyssey reason has yet to fulfill its appetite." Michael Clark, "Adorno, Derrida, and the Odyssey: A Critique of Center and Periphery," Boundary 2, xvi n. 2 (Winter/Spring 1989), p. 119.
4
Richard Noel Re, Bioburst: The Impact of Modern Biology on the Affairs of Man ( Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University, 1986), pp. 51-52.

-12-

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