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metis

sexta-feira 25 de março de 2022

All of the key expressions that Parmenides   is using to evoke our state of lostness belong to a very specific vocabulary. And the essence of this vocabulary can be summed up in one single word: metis.

Metis was the Greek term for cunning, skillfulness, practical intelligence; and especially for trickery. It was what could make humans, at the most basic and down-to-earth level, equal to the gods. Metis might sound like just another concept. But really it was the opposite of everything we understand by concepts. It meant a particular quality of intense awareness that always manages to stay focused on the whole: on the lookout for hints, however subtle, for guidance in whatever form it happens to take, for signs of the route to follow however quickly they might appear or disappear. [90]

And in the world of metis there is no neutral ground, no second chance. The more you let yourself become a part of it the more you begin to discover that absolutely everything, including the fabric of reality itself, is trickery and illusion. Either you learn to stay alert or you will be led astray. There is no pause for rest, or hesitating, in between.

Parmenides   chooses the word “helplessness,” rather than any other, to evoke the human condition. In Greek the word is amechania—which literally means “without a ruse.” It was used to describe people who have been tricked and trapped, outwitted, who are deprived of any resources in a hopeless situation.

And it was the one word used to define, to perfection, the result of a total lack of metis.

Then comes Parmenides  ’ reference to “steering.” As any Greek knew, the only way of steering horses or a chariot—or a ship across the ocean—was through metis. To be able to steer one had to know all the tricks of the road or the sea, to be watching, completely in the moment. Allowing one’s mind to wander was not allowed.

Always it was a matter of keeping both eyes on the path ahead; looking out for warnings and, above all, for anything that could serve as a signpost or sign. But it was also a matter of listening, of being fully alert in every sense. Even a minute of deafness or blindness and one was lost.

There is a good reason why the imagery of journeying is so important for the language of metis. It’s because of the speed involved. There is the absolute need to keep focused in spite of the way everything is constantly changing, or appearing to change. Metis has nothing to do with argument or careful reasoning, because there is not even the time to think. There [91] are no moments for leisure, because everything happens far too quickly.

The demands on one’s awareness are enormous. And the fact that Parmenides   happens to use this language of metis, rather than anything else, to define the human condition can be viewed as a promise or as a threat.

We can see it either as a hope of rediscovering something we have lost or as a warning sign on the horizon—whichever we wish. (p. 90-92)


Segundo Peter Kingsley  , no Fragmento 6 do Poema de Parmênides  , a deusa descreve a condição humana como de "falta de metis": uma qualidade muito particular de estar-ciente firmemente, e enquadradamente enraizado no mundo sempre mutável dos sentidos.

A metis é tão governada por sua própria lógica interna que ela destrói qualquer expectativa, estilhaça todos os moldes normais. O que quer que a metis toque é agraciado com tal precisão que muito raramente parece nítido e arrumado. Seguir o caminho razoável e sensível, afastando-se dos riscos do engano, da fraude, não é seu estilo.

Ela busca por certeza no reino da incerteza, não em qualquer outro lugar; ela está sempre dirigida ao coração do perigo. Assim a deusa está nos mostrando como navegar através do oceano da existência, como navegar um mundo de desafios com astúcia e artimanha — como encontrar quietude no meio do movimento, a prova da unidade na aparente separação, a evidência de algo além de nossos sentidos através do uso da leitura e da escuta.