What is in a name? In a word? In its origin the name identifies, corrects, establishes a convention. To name something is to see a mirror, a law, an act of creation. In the name a figure is transformed to another state – curiosity reaches its highest or lowest point.
Such is in the name Actaeon, and all the names that accompany him. In a name there is curiosity and secrecy – they do not stand apart from each other but influence the figure in their own way. They are themselves a part of transformation, taking on new appearances with the movement of nature. Where a great number exists, curiosity arises, and is then quickly lost. Only secrecy provides an answer.
In this we see how nature reaches into all things. To name is to stand against nature, but in hearing the name nature realises its forces in a new way. Our massive cities with their law of numbers nevertheless retain a curiosity and secrecy of the first order – the founding of the New World as an eruption in time and space continues to appear in the construction of every city.
Nature is behind us, but endures beneath all new appearances; it waits, hides its form until the shock of a new transformation.
Can we not hear in the word “Actaeon” so many names that they might echo for an eternity? Every thing, whether in birth or death, is in this name – its boundaries stand as the era of nature.
To name is to translate the end into the form. To know the name Actaeon is to know its relation to Echo and Narcissus – any god, hero, or curse who calls out. Do we not hear in the word “Echo” the end of all words? In time the end of a phrase becomes greater, until nothing remains but the word – only a call or a lament remains. Silence reveals its secrets in last words.
Thus from the ends of the earth, beneath sun and darkness, we hear the return of the doomed words, "Ah, me."
"I am Actaeon, don't you recognise your master?" The curse that Narcissus is born with and that he endures for life is experienced by Actaeon in a single moment. After chancing upon Artemis and her nymphs bathing in a forest spring he is cursed with silence. Without any weapons at hand she drenches him with the spring's waters. Thus from nature, the source of all things, Actaeon has stripped of him the very nature of the Greeks, the words of fate, "Ah, me."
And here the great meeting of curiosity and secrecy, its final meeting. Actaeon returns to the hunt with his new form given to him by Artemis, he peers into the clear stream, sees his stag ears and horns, but cannot utter a "Poor me". Then he sets out for his dogs, who have caught wind of him already – calling out to them, silent – – and then the names of the whole of nature, one by one, descend upon him.
If Actaeon saw anything in this, therein is the word.
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