Wednesday, 25 September 2013

'A Beautiful Idea'. (The Iranian Angel)

 Just a note really. I'd like to write something about what we mean when we say that something is a 'beautiful idea' - prompted by the passage below, courtesy of here. We don't mean that we immediately salute the literal  truth of the idea. Perhaps it has something to do with its relation to existing ideas, how it twists or reconfigures them. Also the way that it's not just a self-sealed idea, but a kind of metaphorical outline of other ideas which it invites us to take up -in the example below, ideas which have as their mobile elements corruptibility, mutability, justice, symmetry and much else..

"Giorgio Agamben writes:
…Iranian angelology… gives the guardian angel its most limpid and astonishing formulation. According to this doctrine, an angel called a daena, who has the form of a very beautiful young girl, presides over the birth of each man. The daena is the celestial archetype in whose likeness each individual has been created, as well as the silent witness who accompanies and observes us at every moment. And yet the angel’s face changes over time. Like the picture of Dorian Gray, it is imperceptibly transformed with our every gesture, word, and thought. Thus, at the moment of death, the soul is met by its angel, which has been transfigured by the soul’s conduct into either a more beautiful creature or a horrendous demon. It then whispers: “I am your daena, the one who has been formed by your thoughts, your words, and your, deeds.” In a vertiginous reversal, our life molds and outlines the archetype in whose image we are created."

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