Sissy Nofuss

Gravity gets heavy, am I right? But we can defy it, together. We can raise our cheeks, we can smile with each other.

I've had a good run or two, some deep dives, many hard climbs, and one long journey written with careful footprints. Time exists within the soul, so the soulful needn't concern themselves with questions about the past or future. What is now is. What was then was. What will be will be. Who you are envelops these temporal axioms, leaving much unseen.

But let's not delve too deeply too quickly. I know very little, and you have much to teach me. Let's give it a few days; I hope we'll find some wondrous things to share with each other, things that glow brightly within us, that yearn to be seen, that beg for sunlight.

A little about me, a poor mortal

I messed up. A lot. If you think you've failed, well… I'm sure you have. We all have, in varying degrees, and we will continue to fail, though many of us may walk our paths denying and defying our failures. What I've found after hundreds of lifetimes is that we can only progress when we admit to and own our failures, when we confront and conquer our fears.

After all these torturous years I am still afraid of two things: the Dark (Erebus), and Mortality (Iapetus).

Erebus, so dark

Erebus is the Darkness that sprang from Chaos. Many assume Chaos to be the first of us all. I have come to know otherwise.

The oldest of souls among us can muster an ancient parentage long forgotten. Once and only once, long, long ago, before the Greeks launched a thousand ships and razed Troy to reclaim Helen from Paris, before an Egyptian tamed a Sphinx to guard his pyramidal sanctuary, before one fateful ape clubbed another with the tooth-ground femur of their mutual prey, before all of these there were only two: Time and Need, Chronos and Ananke.

Chronos (Time) made way for our Fates. Ananke (Need) fueled our urgency. Time began to pass, and Need arose. There was nothing else around. Chronos and Ananke had little else to discuss save his unidirectional way or her all-encompassing need as the Myceaneans and Greeks have cast their genders. Talk between them was utterly scattered and unintelligible, so they let it be, and It became Chaos.

This writhing semblance—this spurious summation, Chaos —spawned some species of its own: the Dark and the Night, Erebus and Nyx. Its random collisions with its impossible self came up with the first Idea (Thesis), fostered Nature itself (Physis), and gave us Flow (Hydros).

Erebus, the Darkness I still fear, wasn't all bad. Erebus and Nyx had a lot of Chronos to think about their lot in life. Eventually they beamed out Aether (Light) and Hemera (Day) to lift their spirits. Contrary to what you may have heard, these pairs (Dark and Light, Night and Day) are not equal opposites, but rather parents and children. There would be no Light without Dark, but there was Dark without Light. Likewise Night predates Day. Yin before Yang, egg before chicken. I'm not afeared of eggs, but Erebus/Darkness could pull the proverbial wool if it found the Ananke, the Need. Let's hope it never comes to that.

Iapetus the Bold

Iapetus was the first Titan to recognize that our Chronos—our Time—is finite. Iapetus fathered and raised Prometheus, Epimetheus, Atlas, and Menoetius. The rest of the Titans didn't take long to come around. Their father Uranus was a consummate asshole despite the loving embrace of their mother Gaia. They never could escape the doom of their origin, fight as they might. The Titanomachy ended well for Zeus and the Olympians, and in Tartaran demise for the Titans and Hecatonchires. Having a hundred hands does not make a body more able, the Hecatonchires now lament. Having the strength to lift the world does not make that feat possible, over which the Titans now weep. Knowing that time is limited has helped few if any; Iapetus found no solace in his titanic wisdom, only Darkness, only Erebus and Nyx. Endless night does not blink even for a Titan.

The sons of Iapetus soon found themselves similarly mired in dim, dire circumstances. Atlas ended up shouldering the Heavens at Zeus' behest. Cronus, the baby of the family, couldn't fathom a younger sibling, and Zeus, his hidden son, felt the sane. Zeus went to the ends of the Earth (Gaia) to ensure his grandparents (Uranus and Gaia) would never couple again after Cronus. No more Titanic foes would be born of them to contest Zeus and his Olympians. So once the Titans had fallen to Zeus in the primordial uprising later known as the Titanomachy, Zeus and his thunderbolts and his newly vomited older siblings (we'll come back to this) ensured their reign thusly:

  • The Hundred-handed first-born of Ouranos and Gaia were relegated to the deepest region of the Universe—Tartarus. Tartarus is as far from Gaia as Ouranos (the Heavens) are from her. Zeus cursedly disposed Atlas to ensure the Heavens would remain distant from Mother Earth, hence his eternal burden, not the Earth on his shoulder but rather the Heavens while bracing his Titanic feet upon from the Earth.
  • Zeus cast down the rest of the Titans as well, leaving only Atlas on the surface. The rest were cast asunder to Tartarus along with the Hundred-handed, Fifty-headed monstrosities that first wriggled out of Gaia's womb. Ouranos had not been pleased with the Hecatonchires, nor the Titans. He observed and demurred during the Titanomachy. Gaia endured and ensured that the Olympians would not encumber the next generation of great souls. She abided the imprisonment of her first two generations with everlasting spite and a seething grudge. Before long they rose again to liberate us, as you well now know.

Prometheus feels a mortal

Foresight and hindsight have long been at odds—Prometheus and Epimetheus, sparring. None of us could save Prometheus as he's been fabled to have saved us. None of us mortals embody Prometheus' infinite guts, which a monstrous Eagle shall devour day in and night out. None of us could unshackle our first martyr, try as we might like to. Prometheus accepts his doom with every breath, on our behalf.

At his eternal expense he gave us flames. If we could not defy death like the immortals, at least we could burn our infringing neighbors: trees, vandals, varmints, underbrush, shrubberies, silly English knnnnniggghts. After Prometheus nothing could stop us. The mortals raised their crosses and bore them, no matter the weight. Thanks to Prometheus, we mortals began our infinite, cyclical reign.

One such mortal is Sisyphus. He pushes on and up each day. He has never succeeded. He is content, he smiles through his toil. The mountain he climbs is lofty but finite. The boulder he rolls is large but weighed with every push and stride. Billions of strokes and rubs and pushes have clarified the boulder's status. With mounting information Sisyphus strives onwards and upwards without masochism or cataclysm.

A lesser mortal might concede. A weaker one might be flattened under this harshly intended curse, but Sisyphus presses on. This boulder is manageable, it is understood. This will be the last burden Sisyphus will bear, and he will bear it better than anyone else ever could. And in this known struggle he finds peace. He finds contentment unbeknownst to mortals previous or latter.

But Sisyphus is no angel.

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