RDP # 54: Reflection
eidolon (n.)1801, “a shade, a specter,” from Greek eidolon “appearance, reflection in water or a mirror,” later “mental image, apparition, phantom,” also “material image, statue, image of a god, idol,” from eidos“form, shape” (see -oid). By 1881 in English as “a likeness, an image.”
Narcissus was a hunter, son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope. Everyone who saw him fell in love with him, but he was not a kind young man. He treated his adoring followers with disdain, preferring his own company above all others.
One day, the Nymph Echo saw him and, like all the others, fell in love with him. But when Narcissus realized she was following him, he shoved her away and said harsh words to her. She drifted aimlessly until she finally died, and there was nothing left of her but an echo.
The goddess Nemesis, however, had more than enough of Narcissus and his selfish behavior. She lead him to a clear pool, where he saw his own reflection for the first time. Like everyone else, he fell in love with what he saw. Finally, though, he understood that his loved one was nothing more than a reflection, and in despair he committed suicide.
It is said that the narcissus flower grows around the pool where he died.
Is there a lesson to be learned here? Sure, of course. Don’t be a jerk. Don’t believe the lie that having great beauty makes you special, above others. Don’t fall in love with your own reflection. Eventually, it will kill you. Death by loneliness is not fun.