Thursday, December 22, 2005


When I was young lad in primary school I had a voracious appetite for knowledge.One of my happiest days during that period of my life is when my dad bought two collections of encyclopedias; The Book of Knowledge and Encycopedia Americanna.
On some days when I was home from school and tired of raising hell and beating up my smaller brother and sister I would read those large volumes.My favourite entries were those concerning Greek mythology and the vast number of players in the pantheons' varied schemes.I will not even begin to go into my favourite stories and characters but there is one character whom I remember.....Achilles.
Achilles was the son of the mortal Peleus and the Nereid Thetis.For your information a nereid was one of the daughters of the sea god Nereus.Anyway moving on there were two versions about how Achilles gained his fabled invincibilty.In the earlier version, Thetis anointed the infant with ambrosia and then placed him upon a fire to burn away his mortal portions; she was interrupted by Peleus, whereupon she abandoned both father and son in a rage. Peleus placed the child in the care of the Centaur Chiron, who raised and educated the boy. In the later version, she held the young Achilles by the heel and dipped him in the river Styx; everything the sacred waters touched became invulnerable, but the heel remained dry and therefore unprotected.
If you have watched the movie Troy you will notice that the second version is the lynchpin of the story.Also of note is the fact that in the movie that his mother is the one whom is human or is potrayed as having a human body.But what other way is there to make a conceited,merciless and unstoppable warrior human but to give him a mother.With his mother he ceased to be death's right arm but became a man.Achilles was destined to fight in the war against Troy and this had been told to his mother by the seer Calchas.She knew if he fought in this war that he would be slain.So his mother sent him to be raised at the court of Lycomedes disguised as a girl.But even as a child the warrior begin him began to rise and he was fascinated with swords and shields.This fascination led to him being tutored by Phoenix, during which he formed a close relationship with Patroclus.
Back to the situation at hand and the crux of this post.When Achilles seeks his mother's advice or could be blessing before the war, Thetis tells him of the two paths that lay before him.He could choose to refuse to go to war, marry and raise a family.If he did so he would be comfortable but his name would only live as far as the lips of his grand children before being obscured by the mists of time or he could choose to go to war where indeed he would meet his end in battle but his in the act of slaying enemies in biblical propotions his name would never die and would live on the lips and in the minds of men and women for thousands of years to come.
As a boy who read the myth and a man who watched the movie both you and I know what path he chose.What I am coming to is that many of us are chosen for some form of greatness that may involve sacrifice.It may not be the ultimate sacrifice but it may be those things that everyday men and women strive for; jobs,money,marriage,family etc.What I wonder is that how many of us are willing to ignore these things and seek out the greatness universe may have ear marked us for?I must admit that the more time I spend in meditation the clearer these things become but like most human beings the weakness and the temptations of the flesh tend to dictate what path I follow and not the strength or clarity of the spirit within.One of my New Years resolutions is to spend at least 5 minutes a day in meditation.Many of us either wallk our lives looking at the ground or looking at the sky, I intend to live mine looking straight ahead........


mutumia said...

Why did that guy knowing his leggie was kidogo kiwete-ish then go fighting in Akalas? Eh?

Acolyte said...

@ Mutumia
Your hindsight is sooo amazing!LOL!I guess akalas were the uniform at that point in time!

nick said...

1.that was a great movie uuuui dont make me start unleashin lines from it...come to think of it there is one line there that would tie in with your mood aco

"I would rather fight beside you than any army of thousands! Let no man forget how menacing we are, we are lions! Do you know what's waiting beyond that beach? Immortality! Take it! It's yours!"

2.But yes i understand that whole meditating-take a lil time for urself/reflect reach out for greatness its yours!

Acolyte said...

@ Nick
Thank you for not asking about footwear ala mutumia style!Yes that movie had some classic lines!It's hard to do but when you learn to look at yourself objectively each day you get better as a person.

mutumia said...

PS. I did NOT watch the movie. I read the book. In the original. Unabridged.

*said in the snootiest tone I can get*

Acolyte said...

@ Mutumia
I read the greek translation of Odysseus!So I win!!!

mutumia said...

Pish posh. I read it in the Greek declaiming as I did so. What??!!

Acolyte said...

@ Mutumia
Well dearest, given your rather pedestrian ramblings I was under the impression that you had the whole story spoon fed to you by one of your many outlandish caregivers during your childhood years.-Takes moment to light pipe,pokes at coals in the fireplace while seated in the massive library of the Acolyte mansion-

Keguro said...


What is this? Competitions over who read it in what language!

Me, I was told the story by that mama who sells mayai whose sister works for expatriates who gave her a radio that broadcast the story translated into swahili from an abridged version originally done in hindi.

Eh, it might have gotten a little changed in the translation.

But I remember the line about akalas!