Going off of my drug spiel from my last blog, I decided to look into the Oracle at Delphi. The oracle was a priestess whose mumbled prophesies were interpreted by the high priest. One high priest, Plutarch, noticed that the oracle’s stupor seemed to be an effect of inhaling natural vapors. These vapors could have put the oracle into the trance, but the suspected gas, ethylene, is unlikely to have been found in high enough concentrations to be the source. Despite uncertainty surrounding the cause, the prophesies of these oracles were highly valued.
Are the people we get advice from today any more reliable?
Let’s start with the absurd. Did you know that if you text your name and your lover’s name to 58585 with the message ‘flirt’, a relationship guru can let you know if your love will last? Surely a text message generator is all knowing. Or maybe you take your troubles to a psychic. I hate to break it to you, but I’m 99.9% positive fortunetellers are not connected with the spiritual world. They pay attention to clothes, body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions that encourage further probing on certain topics. That, and they describe situations that are common for most people. Relationship issues, tension in the family, and school and job stress are relatable for most of the population, and referencing any of these things may seem like the teller understands you, but really they just know that each person’s struggles are somewhat similar. Or perhaps you visit a therapist. You talk to the shrink about your issues instead of letting them guess your struggles. But do you ever get answers? That is the goal in all of this, I think. Sometimes it’s easier to let someone else make decisions for you. Letting someone else decide your choices seems to me that it keeps you from accepting the fault. The past two years I’ve hoped someone would tell me what to do with my life so that I won’t wake up one day when I’m 35, hate my life, and have only myself to blame. But I feel like an autonomous life should be more valued.
At the end of the day, the high priest was still the one making up his own truths through the oracle’s gibberish. If the 58585 number texts you that your relationship won’t make it, the choice is still yours to break up with him or her, and from the beginning you knew there was a chance it wouldn’t work. The psychic is there to tell you your future, but it’s not as if he or she has chosen that future for you and set it in stone. The psychiatrist is a little different because he or she asks you the questions and lets you come up with the answers. I guess it seems to me like we ask other people for the solution when actually we only want validation for the choices we’ve already made up in our minds. That, or we’re really just too scared of failure.
I found the one article by going visiting hope.edu > library sources > databases > modern and classical languages > jstor > searched “oracle at delphi” AND “gas”. My article was on the first page I believe.