This nOde last updated January 20th, 2004 and is permanently morphing...
(9 Ik (Wind) / 10 (Muan (Owl) - 22/260 - 188.8.131.52.2)
Ouroboros ("the tail-devourer") is the symbolization of concepts such as completion, perfection and totality, the endless round of existence, etc. It is usually represented as a worm or serpent with its tail in its mouth.
The Ouroboros (or Uroboros) is the symbolic rendition of the eternal principles presented in the Emerald Tablet. The great serpent devouring itself represents the idea that "All Is One," even though the universe undergoes periodic cycles of destruction and creation (or resurrection). In Orphic and Mithraic symbology, the Ouroboros was called the Agathos Daimon or "Good Spirit" and was a symbol for the "Operation of the Sun." In Greek terminology, the Ouroboros was the Aion, which Herakleitos likened to a child at play. To the Greeks, the Aion (from which our word "eon" is derived) defined the cosmic period between the creation and destruction of the universe.
Some of you may know the story in the 19th century of Cuclai(sp?), the German chemist who was struggling with the molecular structure of Benzene, couldn't get it straight, and then he had a dream in which he saw the ouroboric snake take its tail in its mouth and he awoke from that dream with the carbon ring burning in his mind. Well, the carbon ring, the six sided heptadle(?) state of the form of the carbon ring is the basis of all organic chemistry. And I mentioned earlier Farraday and Heimholtz and the rise of the electromagnetic field. The point I'm trying to make is that, however rational we may assume ourselves to be, however rational we may assume modern science to be, it is all really founded on angelic revelation, demonic intercession, and an extremely mysterious relationship between the human mind and the world of what science calls inert matter which, from this point of view, is revealed to be not inert at all but alive and pregnant with purpose for mankind.
McKenna lecture on Alchemy
constantly adjust themselves to the effects of their own actions and to
the incoming flux of information.
Curiously, Gnostic and hermetic lore
furnishes us with an amazing image of such feedback
loops: the Ouroboros, a serpent who eats its own tail and thus
symbolizes the self-sufficient cyclicity of nature. In the hands
of modern engineers, his dynamic and self-reflexive snake has helped
design everything from antiaircraft guns to robots, and has also
provided a rigorous model for understanding how machines and computer
programs can "learn" about the world, updating and improving their
output to optimize programmed goals. But this vision of feedback,
learning loops, and constant interaction with the outside
world also provided a new way to think about biological organisms. Wiener
suggested that living creatures could be seen as systems that resist the
evil deathlord of entropy through information, communication, and
feedback. In due course, DNA would be assimilated
to this model, its constant stream of dictated messages acting as an
internal governor of system efficiency."
- Erik Davis - _Techgnosis: Myth, Magic & Mysticism In The Age Of Information_
Information (and art) wants to be free
Andy Warhol was litigated against, a few different times. Also Rauschenberg, and others, and Jeff Koons. The interesting thing is that most of these fine art cases were settled out of court and the settlement involved the defendant simply giving a few copies to the plaintiff, which is ironic, in a way - famous artist creates value from something else, makes it even more valuable than before, pays for this privilege by giving part of the made thing to the maker of the "original" materials. Sort of an ouroboros.
The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a snake or dragon swallowing its tail and forming a circle. It is associated with alchemy, Gnosticism, and Hermeticism. It represents the cyclical nature of things, eternal return, and other things perceived as cycles that begin anew as soon as they end. In some representations the serpent is shown as half light and half dark, echoing the dichotomy of other similar symbols such as the Yin Yang.
The Ouroboros can be traced back to the Greek philosophers who used it as a symbol of their understanding of the nature of time as cyclic. It could very well be used to symbolize the closed-system model of the universe of some physicists today.
In Norse mythology, the serpent Jormungand grew so large that it could encircle the world and grasp its tail in its teeth.
The organic chemist August Kekulé claimed that a ring in the shape of Ouroboros inspired him in his discovery of the structure of benzene.
The uroboros symbolises the circular nature of the alchemical opus which unites the opposites, the conscious and unconscious mind and the coincidence of the uniting of the opposites.
The symbol of the Uroborous the serpent or snake which circularly eats its own tail, devouring, slaying, begetting and self- fertilising itself occurs frequently in alchemical literature was defined by the Swiss psychologist C.G.Jung as the basic mandala of alchemy whose antiquity can be traced back to Egyptian mythology. As a symbol of the life-cycle , the serpent or snake was adopted by christianity for as C.G.Jung recognised -
'christianity borrowed a great deal from Egyptian religion so it is not unsurprising that the allegory of the snake found its way into the world of christian ideas'. . (C.W. Vol. 14 para.483)
Jung defined the Uroboros’ relationship to alchemy thus-
'The alchemists, who in their own way knew more about the nature of the individuation process than we moderns do, expressed this paradox through the symbol of the uroboros, the snake that eats its own tail’. In the age-old image of the uroboros lies the thought of devouring oneself and turning oneself into a circulatory process, for it was clear to the more astute alchemists that the prima materia of the art was man himself. The uroboros is a dramatic symbol for the integration and assimilation of the opposite, i.e.of the shadow. This “feed-back” process is at the same time a symbol of immortality, since it is said of the uroboros that he slays himself and brings himself to life, fertilises himself and gives birth to himself. He symbolises the One, who proceeds from the clash of opposites, and he therefore constitutes the secret of the prima materia which,..unquestionably stems from man’s unconscious'. (from C.W. Vol. 14 para.513)