Mythology and science fiction give way to public policy.
Drunk, rowdy guests disrupt a king’s wedding and try to kidnap the bride and other women there.
These troublemakers are Centaurs, half-man and half-horse, described either as a man with the barrel and hind legs of a horse extending from his back, or a horse with a man’s body from the waist up in place of the horse’s neck and head (H.J. Rose, A Handbook of Greek Mythology, Including Its Extension to Rome, New York: 1929).
In attacking the wedding of Perithus, king of the Lapiths, the Centaurs, who lost the ensuing battle, disrespect marriage. Other hybrids in Classical mythology, including the Sphinx and the Minotaur, also foreshadow the anti-life, anti-family agenda.
Not that all mythological hybrids were evil. Chiron, a Centaur, tutored Achilles, Asclepius, and Jason and knew the healing arts (Oxford Classical Dictionary 1970). Myths, furthermore, didn’t develop to serve as morality plays. And no oracle revealed that the British Parliament in May 2008 would vote to allow scientists to combine human and animal DNA in human cloning attempts, with resulting embryos killed 14 days later (see LifeNews.com, May 19, 2008).
But in their mythical lives and origins, these hybrids suggest a primordial horror that can reside in the blending of the human and the animal.
The Centaurs had an evil progenitor, Ixion. He came to Zeus to be purified because he had murdered his father-in-law, to avoid paying the agreed-to bride-price for his wife, Dia. “As this was very near to murdering a blood-relation, if indeed they were not actual blood-kin, and no one had ever done such a thing before, no one would purify Ixion until at last he took refuge with Zeus, who consented to purify him,” wrote Classicist H.J. Rose. But Ixion, with characteristic disregard for ties of blood, marriage, or friendship, attempted to seduce Hera, Zeus’ wife.
Zeus retaliated by creating a replica of Hera, Nephele, out of a cloud, and by her Ixion fathered the first Centaur or the race of Centaurs. Ixion’s offspring “were as rough and impious as their father,” Rose noted.
Equally telling are the origins of the Sphinx, who is usually portrayed with wings, a woman’s face, and the body of a lion. The Sphinx, along with Cerberus, Hades’ watchdog, and other monsters, issued from the underworld’s serpent-woman Echidna, and her mate of multiple dragon heads, Typhon.
The Sphinx was plaguing the city of Thebes when Oedipus arrived there. She asked a riddle of all and killed those who could not answer it. The riddle: What moves on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three legs at night?
Oedipus solved it: The answer is man, who crawls in infancy (four legs), walks in adulthood (two legs), and uses a cane in old age (three legs).
The enraged Sphinx killed herself. Her intellectual pride had been thwarted. She needed to dominate through her intelligence and killed those “inferiors” who couldn’t figure out her riddle. When Oedipus defeated her, she took her own life, the ultimate anti-life act.
“For, of course, power is what Pride really enjoys: there is nothing makes a man feel so superior to others as being able to move them about like toy soldiers,” as C.S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity.
That is a description of genetic manipulators, who wish not merely to move people about, but to redesign them. Like the Sphinx, they wish to dominate out of intellectual pride.
It’s interesting that the Sphinx’s riddle involved something definitional to a human: walking upright on two legs.
With human-animal hybrids, however, we lose our sense of what is human.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?