Ariadne’s thread

In modern psychology, some schools of thought find in the Greek myths several important archetypes of our modern behavior. Basically, everything has already taken place before, and history repeats itself by re-proposing events and situations previously experienced, deeply rooted in our genetic heritage. We can use these as reference in comparing our own reality and draw useful lessons.

Zeus punished Sisyphus by forcing him to roll an immense boulder up a mountain, only to watch it roll back down, repeating this apparently senseless action for eternity. But perhaps not everyone knows why Sisyphus was condemned to this fate – a toil that all of us, at least once, have identified with. Sisyphus opposed Zeus’s will and to punish him, the king of the gods handed him over to Thànatos (Death). But Sisyphus succeeded in immobilizing him through trickery, thus preventing any man from ever dying… 

His punishment, that daily fatigue that Albert Camus interprets as a repossession of personal destiny, is connected to the vicissitudes of Ariadne, princess of Crete, since they have the will of the same gods in common. Ariadne, for love and for fate, betrayed her father Minos and offered Theseus the thread that allowed him to find his way out of the labyrinth after having defeated the Minotaur.

The labyrinth, too – symbol of that complexity that we find in our daily lives – is an ancient sign, found throughout the centuries in different shapes and forms, but often present in our commonplace routines. Where?

Just think about tissue paper rolls that, thanks to modern technologies, can be produced in massive quantities. They, too, just like Ariadne’s thread, have a starting point, a spiral-like labyrinth to cross that arrives in a center from where, like a modern-day Sisyphus, we can start off again…with another roll.

Maura Leonardi

Login or Register to publish a comment