Monday, September 16, 2019

Studying Ancient Lore

Those already inner circle to "the gossip" know Python, the computer language, got its name from Monty Python, the famous Anglophone comedy troupe. Where did the latter get its name? Ah, well now, feel free to dive down that rabbit hole.

In the meantime, we have the ancient Greeks in the background, with their hallucinogenic (?) rotting snake carcass, if we're to believe the myth, not that myths are designed to be believed (not by Protestants anyway, after what all they've done to that word).

I'm referring to the famous myth of Apollo, who displayed adult masculine qualities quite early in his youth, one of his first feats being the heroic protection of his mother, Leto, and Zeus's ex.  Apollo slew the great Python that the new Mrs. Zeus (Hera) had sicced on Leto, Zeus being his dad.

True also, is Athena enjoyed cult status among the Delphians and her lineage potentially traces back to sybils (female seers) well before the Pythian ones were installed to serve Apollo.  Vapors rising from the rotting Python under Mt. Parnassus is what supposedly gave them powers.

We might use Athena's story as a portal back to a more Amazonian root, wherein women were known to handle snakes (symbolic of their healing power).  Yes, we're somewhat talking about Wonder Woman here, invented later, but with the same Greek pantheon for a backdrop.

Spreading such lore in North America, today, is more the business of the comic book and blockbuster entertainment business, than it is of any practicing cult.  A Python programmer is more likely to absorb memes such as these through pop culture than through anything like formal scholarship.  The latter is about studying myths as these were cast in ancient times.  Contemporary broadcasting is something else entirely.

Apollo is conventionally cast as the archetypally rational, but at what cost?  Some young anglophone gents I was listening to on Youtube, suggested Europe had struck a Faustian bargain to obtain a rationalist enlightenment, at the cost of its soul (Philemon).  Goethe, Nietzsche and others were hoping to revitalize the moral fiber (which translates into morale in many ways), but the collective madness of world wars proved overwhelming.

Contrasting the Apollonian with the Dionysian has become cliche. Indeed, Apollo took off at the end of autumn, allowing the Dionysians to see Delphi through the winter.  Apollo would return in the spring.  The arrangement, from this distance (21st Century) seems symbiotic.  Athena, going back to the original Gaen wisdom, is in her furious form more a Medusa herself.

I'd be off base to suggest I'm alone in my willingness to connect Python, the computer language, to the mythological lore.  From the early days, Medusa was a way to deal with the tangle of asynchronous programming, which reinvented itself as Twisted, and then in the Standard Library, as asyncio.

What Apollonians might call "rot" (as in "rots the brain") is to others the sweet vapor of insight, conferring oracular or ocular powers (points of view) upon the Muse inspired programmer.  Athena is the goddess of crafts, including military (e.g. arts, including martial).  She helps with the process of individuation, within the minds of her PyLadies (Pythians).