Home: Scrying: Schrödinger’s Apple, Part 3: Apples and snakes

Schrödinger’s Apple, Part 3: Apples and snakes

January 27, 2006

I’ve always had a fascination for symbols (if my banner doesn’t already show this.) I love how simple things, like an apple, can become such powerful symbols, thus containing far more meaning than simple definition. Sometimes, as in the case of the apple, the symbols cross cultures, but retain similar meanings.

Eris (Here portrayed on the Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy)The Greeks told the story of an apple, as well. On the occasion of a grand wedding on Olympus, those who made the guest list overlooked a certain goddess, Eris. Whether this was a simple mistake, or they thought the Goddess of Discord might be a party pooper, it turned out to be a problem. When Eris found out, she crashed the party with vengeance on her mind. She threw a golden apple into the midst of the crowd, inscribed with the word kallisti, or “to the fairest.”

All of the great goddesses of Olympus, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, began to argue, for each felt that, naturally, she ought to be considered the fairest. Ow. Don’t piss off a Goddess…. soon after that, it got pretty ugly. They dragged poor ignorant Paris into the mix, and made him choose. Each goddess bribed him, but it was Aphrodite’s offer of the hand of the beautiful Helen of Troy that really got to him. Of course, Helen’s family wasn’t at the wedding, and wasn’t too happy to have their daughter given away to their rivals as a prize, and soon a whole bloody war broke out.The Apple of Discord

So, let’s compare this a bit. Before the apple, everyone is getting along fine. Then, all of a sudden, the apple (chaos) gets thrown into the mix. After, there is confusion and arguments over value. In the end, things are never the same again. It doesn’t matter if the apple is eaten or not; the temptation was there—and as soon as we had the tools to argue (i.e., words,) we were trying to define complex things with simple values. It fits the temptation of Eve in the garden and the subsequent loss of Eden, and it fits the apple of discord tossed so casually by Eris.

In fact, as I’ll explain at a later date, it sort of describes the creation of the universe as well. (Think a peaceful singularity, lacking dimension and so folding in upon itself. Then, all of a sudden, something happens—that’s the part that is a whole other subject—and it gains these dimensions of values {forces, matter, etc} information, experience, time, and most importantly—chaos. After that, BANG you have this vast, complex universe, leading to stuff like planets and plants and people.)

Now that I’ve compared apples to apples, I’d like to examine other symbols in the Eden mythos. If, as in my strange dream, the fruit of knowledge was uncertainty, then who or what was the snake that tempted Eve? Looking back, I’d call it language. As soon as we gave words to objects, we attempted to assign them also with value. We began to ignore the complexity of values which made the existence of an object possible. Is it possible, then, with language, to return to an Eden in which we never fight over values? Probably not. Perhaps, at least, as we come to appreciate complexity and uncertainty in nature, we can glimpse the beauty of Eden.

To wrap up this series, here’s a page from my notebook, a few doodles I scratched out while trying to straighten out this whole “Schrödinger’s Apple” mess. Sometimes a little visual can explain it better than 3 verbose posts.

A page from my notebook; Schrödinger’s Apple 
Notes: Check back later; I’ll post one of my favorite poems, inspired by the diversity and complexity of value. Picture of Eris (As seen in Cartoon Network’s Billy and Mandy) courtesy of Cartoon Junkies on www.templelooters.com; golden apple from “Maui Boy’s Page for the Goddess“ [Eris]