A. Beattie, L. Castle


The sorceress archetype has evolved in respect to accessibility insofar as general mind has evolved through increased leisure, general education, depth psychology and the electronic media. The archetype embodies formative action at a distance which is particularly applicable to creative philosophy. Greek tragedy, concerned with catharsis and purgation, is directed toward ethical good as distinct from moral good. Nonlocal action at a distance is discussed in terms of physics and the vinculum between physics and metaphysics is approached.

That which Medea represents stems from early origins in Egypt seen in the goddess Nut, the matrix of the sky in which heavenly bodies are suspended. She covers and succors the earth from her position in what is now considered to be the realm of outer space. Geb is the god of earth, male.

Space is not only the extension in which physical bodies move in their ever altering trajectories, but is also container space represented by the quantum ether governed by the laws of nonlocal potentiality[1]. Bodies or corporeal particles are absorbed and again precipitated from the ether in accord with their several causes.

That which we here designate as the Medea Principle has a physical correlate in the concept of phase space. This is a term from physics which describes a condition in which the laws that govern a given particle are valid for all the waves that lead in to that particle. On any two dimensional section of this space, which is a mathematical rather than physical view, everything that takes place on the plane occurs simultaneously[2].

In respect to the metaphyscial aspects of our Medea Principle, any segment of time, past present or future, taken out of sequence renders a metaphysical view. Seen thus, the Medea Principle is the potential operative power present in the harmonious interaction of the human will with divine entities. To be metaphysical it must be potential rather than kinetic since the kinetic is at least physically measurable if not physically caused.

On this model the metaphysical is time related so that time, in all of its modes (lineal, circular, spiral) and varying velocities, (physical chronological time being velocity relative) must always be a consideration. Medea in her conversation with Aegeus in the play is very time conscious:

What said Phoebus to thee as to children?

Words too subtle for man to comprehend.

Surely I may learn the god's answer?

Most assuredly for it is just thy subtle wit it needs.

What said the god? Speak, if I may hear it.

He bade me "not loose the wineskin's pendant Neck".

Till when? What must thou do first, what country visit?

Medea as metaphysical adept immediately places the oracular message of the god in a time context. The image rendered by the god is clear but she sees that it does not represent a permanent condition. It is temporary and conditional. Wine may not be drunk until Aegeus makes a necessary visit to his native home. Until he has performed the necessary action he must remain ascetic and alert, forego the joys of the grape.

The Medea Principle then is a metaphysical constant which offers qualities applicable to physical processes. In that this metaphysical constant is beyond physical process it is innately karma free, which is to say that it is not hysterisized by having passed through the physical condition.

Hysteresis is a term empirically applied to metal formation. It is a process that magnetizes alloys at any given temperature in order to variously distribute molecular configuration so that resistance and capacity of the metal are altered. By extension the term hysteresis may be applied to electromagnetic particles in both physical and nonphysical states. It must be borne in mind that the nonphysical state into which a particle such as an electron may fall or be directed is not a metaphysical state.

In the myth, Medea is the daughter of Acetes who is semi-divine in the traditions of godmen from Hercules to the Christ who makes all men divine. Mary the Mother of God in Her origins is lunar, she is often portrayed stepping forth from the crescent. The Divine Isis shares her sphere. The origins of Medea are solar since Phoebus is her grandfather. Philosophically she is of the primary immutable essences which charge and alter the manifestation of the Platonic Form[3].

In the tragic play by Euripides she is the amoral principle, which like the monad in its phase space[4], assumes no other law than its own. She acts within a closed system which punishes all that interferes with the perpetration of her essence. Like the good Puritan child beater, the punishment she inflicts hurts her more than it hurts the child. Her trajectory, in this instance is like that of the Christ.

Medea is beyond evil in that she encompasses it to perpetrate the good. Jason is her pathetic foil, the flawed hero who must be eliminated with all of his offspring. We cannot dignify Jason by calling him a tragic hero because by his crime of adultery, committed for political reasons, he is profane.

Punishment enters as the result of so that it must not only eliminate error but must also eradicate the potential for its future recurrence. Medea punishes all involved, including the innocent, the final cause of her action stems not from vengeance as much as the necessity of purification. In Medea's eternal fire, Jason is yet burning.

The concept of the semi-divine heroine embodied in Medea has its place in contemporary myth[6]. The link which the mortal makes with the divine renders the human being to some degree immortal. The failure to forge the link is not necessarily punishable, but can be. Enlightenment offered and spurned carries punishment. Apostasy, or the state of grace abandoned, which is Jason's error, is also punishable and must be purged.

The Medea Principle is not so much concerned with morality (Jason's adultery and lawless behavior) as with ethics. Jason seeks political power beyond his capacity to sustain. Morality serves ethics, but the final cause of morality is civic harmony. Such harmony may be broken in conflict which obliterates all harmony. The chaos which ensues, at the metaphysical level, brings about new forms of ontological being.

Inasmuch as the spirit of Greek tragedy has to do with purgation[7] it is true to the spirit of the constant necessity to maintain high quality and to eliminate that which would bring this quality down. Since metaphysical philosophy is a written art, the relationship of the philosopher with logos is vital. The writer must be in a position of reception so that word choice is not derivative and so that tone is in harmony with the inspirational form and with its causes. Clearly then, the Medea Principle, which treats a formative essence, may serve in the task of evocation. Melpomene is not allured by the strains of pasotral dance music, though she may well appear to the melody of a sad song.

Some gods knowingly go against universal moral law. Zeus revolts against his father Kronos. Prometheus, gives prohibited knowledge to common mortals. Eros becomes a tyrant who destroys everything in his rage to perpetuate himself. Why do the gods encourage and help heroes in their far from moral actions as they do in the Trojan War? What actually is the nature of moral evil brought to our attention in tragedy?

Moral evil is often the result of karmic forces which bring about a dilemma that presents only two choices, both of which bring on more evil. Agamemnon has to sacrifice his daughter to save the army from catastrophe. He received the oracle from the gods to do so. But did he have any other choice? Thus put, the question becomes one of determination. In the quantum view, when an electron appears and begins to interact with a positron could it have been dissuaded? And then how can it be dissuaded?

The Priestess Medea reads from the signs of the gods all that lies before her, but goes through evil and toward suffering following her love and confirming in this way that the law of Aphrodite is above all others, since the very being of mankind is dependent upon her ethics. But we must make a distinction between ethical evil and moral evil. The laws and causes which extend from ethical essences are not in the same genus as those which extend from moral accident.It follows that the laws which extend from ethics are hierarchically distinct and must be take priority within the paradigms of our principle.

The Medea Principle, which governs formation, is seen to be operant in the tradition of the noble character, the heroic which must test the quality of nobility and be tested in turn. Oedipus, for example, is the link in a karmic chain of ethical evil. He inherited a curse from his ancestors along with his brilliant mind and great air. He would inevitably transfer this curse to his children, and this almost happened, but because of his self determination he was able to stop it, just as was Medea able to eradicate Jason's corruption by the murder of Jason's children.

Both Medea and Oedipus do what would be impossible for an ignoble or apostate person. All the unknowing crimes which Oepdipus committed paradoxically become causes of his ascent. He did not hesitate fearlessly to dive into the underground of his soul, to the antique chaos dwelling there. But when his well ordered Apollonian soul faced its Dionysian counterpart terror embraced him.

Oedipus was presented with the choice of not knowing, but by choosing the path of deliberate ignorance the curse would continue to exist[8]. Medea in the play was offered comfort in exchange for honor. She chose the heroic path, the passage through evil, or in Judaeo Christian terms, as Luther puts it, "to sin boldly" and go transcendentally on.

Divine forces prohibit and at the same time invite the hero to participate in the Medea principle. Ethics is ever a test of morality and the chosen ones can cross the border to the prohibited land beyond moral good and evil. The price of such a crossing is high, since all moral evil in the self must be recognized and lived through. The eradication of borders, or boundary breakdown, is a prime symptom in schizophrenia which is philosophically the inability to polarize a principle and make an ethical choice.

Schizophrenia, or the state of divided mind, is a common neuroses which might be reduced to tragic Hamlet's inability to make up his mind, and may never cause psychotic debilitation. Simple hypocricy is shizophrenic in character, for the hypocrite attempts to portray what is not truly there. In this effort there is a lapse into falsity and the processes of formation go awry. In terms of Kant's categorical imperative, to act in accord with universal good, rigid self honesty is the vital principle governing creative endeavor. The writer of fiction cannot lie and the writers of philosophy must do their level best not to confound.

The very act of employing the Medea Principle is to admit punishment as a constant. The hero suffers, not joyously for suffering is not a joy - but it is the cost of action. Prometheus is punished by Zeus. Apollo killed Python to establish the new gods in the place of the chthonic gods, but even though his motives were good it was still murder and he had to spend nine years in the underworld for his sin.

There is no real crime in the sphere of the gods because the essence of the gods is goodness. Thus the laws of karma do not function in the same way as they do in the physical zones, but the return to the physical always entails karma. We can then conclude that karma or nonlocal hysteresis is a determining factor in the cause of electromagnetic particle manifestation.

The amoral principles which we see acted out in the tragedy and which are a phase of the formative process embodied in the Medea Principle are not criminal because they are divine. In that they are erroneous, the punishment which they entail is a constant. It is only thus that the divine quality of moral impecability is retained. There is no Dostoyeveskian shuffling of moral values within the hierarchies of ethical arete. The Medea Principle is not concerned with morality, but with the ethical tone requisite for perfection.

Alasteir Beattie - Gianfranco Spavieri University of the Andes (Venezuela);

Lilia Castle - Director of Center of Global Affairs Ass. professor of history and philosohy Chaminade University (Honolulu)


[1] Nonlocal is a term used in physics which is synonymous to non-mechanical. In other words, nonlocal forces are not measurable in terms of mass or velocity, their causes are not so much final as formal.
[2] Alastair. The Eleatic Unmoving Viewpoint as Foundation. Proceedings of the International Association for Greek Philosophy / Ed. K. Boudouris. University of Athens, 2002.
[3] See Proclus on the Timaeus. The Commentaries of Proclus on the Timaeus, Vol. I, Kessinger. South Dakota, 2000. P. 188.
[4] Roger. The Emperor's New Mind. Vintage, London, 1990. P. 228. - Penrose is particularly concerned with quantum effects in mental behaviours such as learning.
[5] Hamartia is a Greek term etymologically derived from archery. It is that which causes one to miss one's aim.
[6] Superwoman like Siegal and Shuster's Superman is a child of the heavenly body Krypton. Don Juan of Castanedan fame manifests from his separate reality, that of the nagual. Rowling's Harry Potter carries a stigma from the other side.
[7] Catharsis is a form of purgation. The soul weeps out her division and again finds her medium when she sings. As Ben Jonson, born c. 1572, has it:
"Slow, slow, fresh fount, keep time with my salt tears
Yet slower, yet; O faintly gentle springs;
List to the heavy part the music bears,
Woe weeps out her division when she sings".
[8] Jung, Carl G. Mysterium Coniunctionis. Bollingen, Princeton, 1963. P. 474. - "If the demand for self knowledge is willed by fate and is refused, this negative attitude may end in real death".

©СМУ, 2003 г.


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