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<The "debates" on phylogenetics on this list brought to mind Sisyphus, the
legendary king of Corinth. Sisyphus was condemned by the gods to forever
roll a boulder to the top of a hill, from which it always rolled back to the
bottom. Tom Holtz, Chris Brochu and others deserve
sainthood for the continual patience they show. My attitude is simply to
plug for objectivity and repeatability.>
I'm not sure Sisyphus's punishment is the best model for their much
appreciated effort. After all, he was punished for divulging who abducted
Aegina. Given Zeus's reputation, I don't think Asopus, Aegina's father,
would have taken long to figure it out. So Sisyphus was punished for
disclosing a name prematurely. This is an offense our honored fellow list
members have avoided carefully.
Further, Sisyphus was the inventor of using a character (if not an
inheritable one) to identify a particular line of animals (quoting Carlos
Parada on the Greek Mythology Link):
<Sisyphus came also into conflict with Hermes' son
Autolycus 1, who received from his father the gift of being such a skilful
thief that he could never be caught. For the god made him able to change
whatever he stole into some other form or colour, from white to black, or
from black to white, from a hornless anirnal to a horned one, or from a
horned one to a hornless. So Autolycus 1 kept continually stealing from the
herds of Sisyphus without being detected.
However Sisyphus knew who the thief was because
Autolycus 1's property was increasing while his own was decreasing. So, in
order to catch the thief Sisyphus put a mark on the hooves of his cattle so
that he could identify it.
Thanks to that device Sisyphus could take his cattle
back, but while he was fetching it, he delayed at the thief's home and
there he seduced Autolycus 1's daughter Anticlia 1, who later, after
marrying Laertes, gave birth to Odysseus, the doubt remaining as to who the
real father was.>
And considering that relationship is determined despite apparently confusing
changes in 'form or colour,' I think there is some resemblance.
So, Sisyphus may be the model for the patient teachers on the list, but for
his virtues and not his faults.
Now, 'objectivity and repeatability'... Hmmmm.
- From: Kendall Clements <firstname.lastname@example.org>