You probably know of Achilles? The protagonist of Homer’s Iliad and the go-to guy in the Trojan War. You probably also know of Achilles Heel – the only vulnerable part of his body.
Achilles shield, as can be seen in the picture on the right, represented the duality of his nature – the duality of man’s nature. Thus by association – the duality of your nature.
Achilles was a great fighter, perhaps the greatest. He was a born warrior who marched to Troy for the fame of a big battle. Yet he wasn’t just a warrior.
Even warriors dream of peaceful life, and Achilles was no different. On his shield, as described by a blind Homer, are carvings of normal everyday life – the cattle, villages, city at peace, dancing, reaping, shearing and much more. See the entire shield here.
Our life is actually not very different, even for those living in bustling cities. The best of us strive for peace and quiet while scampering around in the rat race that is life. We run after one thing, and wish for another. Isn’t this the duality of our principles – working towards one thing and wanting another?
I forfeit that money and other material pleasures are perhaps important for living. Even Achilles enjoyed the wars he was part of; after all, that was what he was born to do. But he wanted calm, peace and love in his life. As do we.
Now at no point will I coax you into giving up work and becoming a hermit. That is not practical and will probably result in you having to give up some of the most important things in life; at least they are important right now. So don’t. Instead, start taking some time out for yourself to achieve your dreams and ambitions, especially if they are strikingly different from what you do now. Our shield is our personality at the time when we are most vulnerable. We are able to put up a brave face for the world, but when alone, we realize the best and worst of us.
Achilles was really not that different from us. He was born in a different era, and had the role of a warrior in the society. We have a role and responsibility too, and shying away from this will be tantamount to failure on our part, and that on the part of the society that has raised us. So instead of giving up your sword or your shield, make them a part of you – so that you are not two different souls residing inside one body. Instead, take measures to live two lives at once – the one you have to and the one you want to.
Duality of the shield of Achilles is very similar to the duality of our lives.
What do you think? Does this article help you? I would really like to know if association such as this allows these important life lessons to sink in deep!