Sunday, March 4, 2007

Archetype v. Apotheosis

Well, besides the misleading surface Latin v. Greek etymologies...

Archetype derives from the Latin THROUGH the Greek for "first" "mold, model, type, blow, or mark of a blow" while apotheosis derives from the Greek for "to deify" or "to change into a god," literally. So, based on the Greek culture, archetype, might be the ultimate example from the quintessence from which the Greek gods emerged or more likely, the perfect mortal example (e.g., Orpheus, Heracles, Hebe, all of whom were later deified), where apotheosis represents that deified mortal example. But remember, the Greek gods were fallible, and therefore, the standard for deification and, therefore, apotheosis does not mean perfection, but just a high Greek ideal, although perfection is the incorrect current connotative meaning. So it is possible that archetypal is a higher and greater standard than apotheosis, depending on the nature of the model, although a mortal who could be deified would be a great mortal hero/heroine. Now, given that archetype has a partial etymology relating to "blow" or "mark of a blow", that implies a forging or chiseling of the model, perhaps from stone or metal, and perhaps related to the stone children of Deucalion and Pyrrha, or the statue of Galatea, or the "children of Ares" in the Jason/Medea tale, all of whom were imperfect to divine eyes and mortal, and in the last example slain immediately. Basically, these words cannot be used interchangeably (again, no true synonyms), and should be noted in the context from which they originated for current usage. Now, from a current usage level, apotheosis should only be used with living entities (e.g., mammals), while archetypal may be more abstract. Cats reached their apotheosis in Egyptian culture, while dogs remain only an archetype of domesticity. Yes. While I.M. Pei's archetype was the free-form sculptures outside the National Gallery, the Louvre Pyramid is hardly the apotheosis. Possibly, at least for abstract humor value. [Ed. note: I first visited Le Louvre long before La Pyramide made you descend to enter the museum. Nothing is ever the same afterward.]

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