Sunday, June 27, 2010

Aldous Huxley's Adonis and The Alphabet

Main discussion of the essay

Adonis was a handsome youth loved by both Aphrodite and Persephone. Aphrodite was Goddess of love and beauty and daughter of Zeus in ancient mythology; identified with Roman Venus. Adonis was killed by a boar and spends most of his time underworld and also on the earth. A temple stands in his memory where he died. William Shakespeare has made Aphrodite the heroin of his poem, Venus and Adonis in the following words:

                I will be a park and thou shalt be my deer
Feed where thou wilt, on mountains or in dale
Graze on my lips or if those hills be dry
Stray lower where the pleasant fountains lie

Shakespeare has given superiority to Adonis and the repeated lines: Graze on my lips and Stray lower has been refrain. This coupling is far better than killings of human beings or sacred prostitution despite being immoral.  Byblos is an ancient city of Phoenicia, on the Mediterranean Sea, near present-day Beirut, Lebanon. Extensive archaeological investigations, begun in 1921, indicate that Byblos is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, with remains of civilizations dating from about 5000 bc. The city was the principal city of Phoenicia and an important seaport during the 2nd millennium bc, when it exported cedar and other woods to Egypt. The name Byblos, applied by the Greeks to papyrus, which they imported from Byblos, is the source of the word Bible. Gebal was the biblical name for the city; the Book of Ezekiel (see 27:9) mentions the maritime pursuits of its inhabitants. The city of Byblos is now occupied by a Lebanese village called Jubayl.

Byblos is now a city of romantic pilgrimage. Where we pay emotional homage to the Aphrodite – the woman who loved Adonis. Byblos is much more than a romantic city. It was this city where alphabet was invented. It was here that ABC was polished and perfected. We are nothing without language. Our feelings and emotions are expressed through words and syntax. Language is a conditioner of thoughts and emotions; it is molder of sentiments, a reflector of perception and a creator of behavior of-patterns.  Wisdom rests upon language. Even Socrates says writing abides; while spoken word flies away. Before the invention of Alphabet, people used various methods of writing; most commonly hieroglyphic writing of Egypt or some ideographic symbols similar to Chinese Picture writing. 

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