I am a woman born 1949 and my quest is to find a mindmate
to grow old together as a mutually devoted couple
in a relationship based upon the
egalitarian rational commitment paradigm
bonded by intrinsic commitment
as each other's safe haven and secure basis.

The purpose of this blog is to enable the right man
to recognize us as reciprocal mindmates and
to encourage him to contact me:

The entries directly concerning,
who could be my mindmate,
are mainly at the beginning.
If this is your predominant interest,
I suggest to read this blog in the same order
as it was written, following the numbers.

I am German, therefore my English is sometimes faulty.

Maybe you have stumbled upon this blog not as a potential match.
Please wait a short moment before zapping.

Do you know anybody, who could be my mindmate?
Your neighbour, brother, uncle, cousin, colleague, friend?
If so, please tell him to look at this blog.
While you have no reason to do this for me,
a stranger, maybe you can make someone happy, for whom you care.

Do you have your own webpage or blog,
which someone like my mindmate to be found probably reads?
If so, please mention my quest and add a link to this blog.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

332. A Mythological Winner of the Darwin Award

A Mythological Winner of the Darwin Award

Someone mentioned the Greek mythological story of Hero and Leander in an email and we disagreed about the interpretation.   He perceives the story as romantic, blaming the tragic end entirely on the carelessness of Hero, while I think that Leander is a fool, who deserves the Darwin award.  
"Hero and Leander,  two lovers celebrated in Greek legend. Hero, virgin priestess of Aphrodite at Sestos, was seen at a festival by Leander of Abydos; they fell in love, and he swam the Hellespont at night to visit her, guided by a light from her tower. One stormy night the light was extinguished, and Leander was drowned; Hero, seeing his body, drowned herself likewise."

There is a longer text, from where the following quotes are taken:
"This unstable arrangement did not last more than the warm season."
He obviously continued his nightly swimming for a considerable time without even considering to improve his method of seeing her.  
"in AD 1810, by the English poet Lord Byron, who swam from Sestus to Abydus in one hour and ten minutes". 
Someone doing this twice every night, needed rest in the day time.   That means, that Leander was certainly not a hard working laborer, but had enough money to have options. 

Therefore he had alternatives to risking his life:
  • He could have bought a boat and rowed or sailed.  
  • He could have moved to live somewhere near her, so he could visit her without crossing the water.
  • He could have eloped with her to a place, where nobody knew about her obligation to remain a priestess.   
Seen from a rational perspective, he was a fool, who brought his death upon himself.   That is, why he deserves the Darwin award.   And if she never suggested less risky options, she was as much a fool as he.

But this is a mythological tale, and only interpreting it like I did above is missing an important aspect of reading such old tales.   As much as its message of Hero and Leander being role models is obsolete, the story is an interesting illustration of how the subconscious animal instincts are represented consciously by attitudes. 
A mythological story tells, what is commonly accepted as normal at the times of its origin.   
By animal instincts, female breeders are driven to prefer the genes of the strongest and most daring studs, surviving all risks to his life before being allowed to procreate.  In this story, Hero's instincts did not allow her to choose a prudent, intelligent male using the safety of a boat, just as Leander's instincts drove him to risk his life to win her favors, instead of wooing a woman preferring intelligence.   
The first known written sources of this story date back not much more than 2000 years.   But maybe the tale is much older and dates back to the times before the evolution of rational thinking had an influence upon the choice of a mate.   Here I am speculating again.  
If I would start to analyze more old myths, fables and fairy tales, many could probably be reduced to a positive attitude towards instinctive behaviors not only of breeding, but also of ingroup-outgroup, of hierarchy forming, enhanced by gullibility.