Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Phantoms and Images

MEPHISTOPHELES:
A glowing tripod, finally, will let you know
that you have reached the deepest depth of all,
and in the light it sheds you'll see the Mothers.
Some will be seated, some will stand or walk--
there is no rule--for all is form in transformation,
Eternal Mind's eternal entertainment.
About them hover images of all that's been created,
but you they will not see, for they see only phantoms.

from Goethe's Faust, line 6283

I'm pretty sure there are mythological roots that Goethe is drawing from in this section, but I'm not sure of them. This underworld eerily resembles the degree of information access we are quickly approaching. Our fascination with "the sum of all human knowledge" goes way back, and I'm interested in tracking it. Interpreted from a contemporary perspective, this brief passage sums up some of the problems with total information awareness.

3 comments:

madame l said...

i will be giving this some thought.

michaelnau said...

thanks to mme. l, i am reading your work and realy *digging* it. you might like siegfried zielinksi's "media archaeology"--but i think you must know it already.

Ross said...

thanks - i have actually not heard of that. most likely i've read people influenced by him. will look it up!!

ps. nice pun. only a *dirty* mind would come up with that one.