Monday, November 25, 2013

It ‘s hard to explain what the Perfect Beauty is.  It’s a somewhat amorphous concept while also being infused all around me.  I can see it, but I can’t seem to explain it even though it rules my life with an iron fist.  It is a beauty that demands worship—a worship you can not help, a worship that will eventual consume you.  For what the world does not realize is that once you have chosen to see the Pure Beauty, you are forever bound to serve it.  If you have the ability to see it, you also have the knowledge that it must be protected at all costs. And you have the knowledge that it is the single most endangered thing in the world.  You become a knight bound to protect it even though the fight will eventually consume everything you are and everything you have to offer.  Once seen, it owns your soul for you can never again look away and you can never again forget.

It is in people—people whose beauty is so stunning it causes physical pain.

In them, you see the perfection that is possible in life.  Perfection is nearly impossible to find in a world so filled with ugliness, and not just any ugliness but one that sinks into everything until chokes all that is good.  Here in Andrej Pejic and Jared Leto, you see absolute perfection unblemished and untainted.  It radiates holding them above the filth and despair of the world around them.  It seems almost other-worldly as it is hard to believe such perfection could be produced by such a screwed up world. It embeds itself into your soul becoming a part of your being as you will never be able to forget them once you have seen them. 

Apollo was the Greek god of light, music, art, and knowledge.  If he ever existed in human form, he would be Jared Leto.  I mean, hello, Apollo’s mother’s name was “Leto”!  Not only does he represent the physical aspect of the Pure Beauty, but also everything about the spiritual and mental aspects.  His music is transcendant.  The lyrics he writes explain the truths about the Pure Beauty and its role and actions in the world.

His song ”Alibi” is a soundtrack for every knight of the Pure Beauty

No warning sign, no alibi
Were fading faster than the speed of light.
Took our chance, crashed and burned.
No, we'll never ever learn.

I fell apart, but got back up again,
And then I fell apart, but got back up again, yeah.

We both could see crystal clear,
That the inevitable end was near.
Made our choice, trial by fire,
To battle is the only way we feel alive.

I fell apart, but got back up again,
And then I fell apart, but got back up again,
And then I fell apart, but got back up again.

So here we are, the witching hour,
The quickest time to divide and devour.
Divide and devour.

If I could end the quest for fire,
For truth, for love, and my desire
For my desire

And I fell apart, but got back up again.

I fell apart, I fell apart, I fell apart,
I fell apart, I fell apart,
But got back up again.

“Was It a Dream” chronicles the loss that serving the Pure Beauty brings and its inherent transitory nature.  It can be seen and it will make you desire to wrap yourself in it, but it will deny you the ability to ever reach it.  Each time you believe you have finally become a part of it, the dreams dissolves leaving you with emptiness in your soul.

"Was It A Dream?"

Your defenses were on high
Your walls built deep inside
Yeah I'm a selfish bastard
But at least I'm not alone
My intentions never change
What I wanted stays the same
And I know what I should do
it's time to set myself on fire
Was it a dream?
Was it a dream?
Is this the only evidence that proves it
A photograph of you and I
Your reflection I've erased
Like a thousand burned out yesterdays
Believe me when I say goodbye forever
Is for good
Was it a dream?
Was it a dream?
Is this the only evidence that proves it
A photograph of you and I
Was it a dream?
Was it a dream?
Is this the only evidence that proves it
A photograph of you and I
(A photograph of you and I)
Was it a dream?
Was it a dream?
Is this the only evidence that proves it
A photograph of you and I
A photograph of you and I
A photograph of you and I... in love...

Jared is the Pure Beauty incarnate but it comes with a price.  He rarely allows himself to relax, to sleep, to stop the endless quest to learn and create.  One day, I fear the Pure Beauty will consume him as it consumes all.  Will his Apollo-ness save him?

Vincent Van Gogh saw the Pure Beauty and vainly tried to capture it in his art.  The energy he poured into the quest vibrates in his art.  It was a quest that fueled the creation of beautiful art but consumed both his sanity and his life.  The energy and the madness both swirl in the frantic brushstrokes that are so indicative of his work.

His letters speak of his desperate struggle to show the world what he saw, to teach them to see the Pure Beauty, but he remained crippled by madness and poverty.  Not satisfied with just an ear, the Pure Beauty took Van Gogh’s life.
Michelangelo is probably the only one besides Jared Leto who has come to some sort of peace with Pure Beauty.  His art displays all the aspects of the physical perfection created by the Pure Beauty.


Whereas Van Gogh’s art swirled with its manic desire to capture and explain the Pure Beauty, Michelangelo’s shows the small bit of peace that one can achieve in serving the Pure Beauty once one realizes that the Pure Beauty has chosen to bless them with talent and one accepts that the price of that blessing will be their life-long service as an instrument through which the Pure Beauty will work.  It is not the same as the price as the disciple/knight must give for these lucky few receive the blessings of talent in return.  While the Pure Beauty can never be truly caught, it does very rarely choose to deposit a small part of itself into vessels through which it will work.  Michelangelo produced works of astounding beauty in exchange for a solitary life as a loner.  His poetry speaks of a great capacity to love and his art shows a deep understanding of the Pure Beauty, but as with us all, even though the Pure Beauty deposited a bit of itself in him, it still took all he had, it demanded his very soul.

Monday, August 19, 2013


Some more thoughts.  I suppose they have a tendency to ramble a bit, but I felt the need to get them out.  I also find that rambling is a dreaded side-effect of attempting to explain the unexplainable. So, anyway, apologies for any annoyance.

In my last post I spoke of the new world Alexander created--a Hephaestion-shaped world, my world.  I've often spoken of the profound effect these two mentors have had on my life.  However, I realized I may have failed to give equal attention to my third mentor--who is somewhat related to Hephaestion and Alexander and equally as epic.

With this new world Alexander created came the possibility of the perfect person--someone who combines all that was great in Alexander with the very best of Hephaestion.  Enter Jared Leto.  I have known of his work since the very beginning of his career and have always been a fan, but it is only within the last year, especially the last six months, that I realized how profoundly his work touches me.

As I said, I believe in Jared lies all that made Alexander great with all that Hephaestion was.  The motto Jared adopted for himself and his family is "Provehito in Altum" which loosely translated means "launch forward into the deep".  Jared can constantly be found up in the air over a new deep.  According to sources, this is something Alexander did from the time he could form full thoughts and intentions.  It was this very drive that led him to push to the very edges of the known world and beyond being held back only by the fears of his short-sighted army.

Alexander possessed a great thirst for knowledge begun under Leonidas and Aristotle and continued throughout his lifetime.  As he crossed Asia conquering new lands, he conquered new information.  His retinue included all sorts of artists, philosophers, and scientists.  Artistic competitions held equal footing with games.  It is said Alexander himself even directed the treating of some of his men's illnesses and wounds.  Jared, as well, always seems to be learning something new, always seeking a new experience, always reaching for the next horizon, always fighting for a new dream.

Yes, Alexander had flaws.  As amazing as he was, he could be spoiled, petulant, arrogant and out of control.  Jare is no stranger to trouble having been very open about his turbulent childhood and adolescence.  But as Alexander did not allow these parts to define his whole, Jared overcame his troubles to create a new world for himself--a world focused on knowledge, art, and beauty--all the best gifts of Apollo.

Little is known of Hephaestion,  He rarely surfaces in the ancient sources, and when he does, the information is often contradictory or clearly slanted.  I have detailed in previous posts who I believe Hephaestion to be.  Much as Mary Renault said, I believe him to be the most under-rated man in history.  It is a Hephaestion-shaped world for it is a world created by Alexander and its is Hephaestion who tempered Alexander.  It is Hephaestion who ensured that all that was good in Alexander would control the flaws, at least the majority of the time.

As mentioned above, Jared has admitted to doing some horrible things in his early days.  Both he and his brother lived for some time in a world predominated by chaos, violence, and ugliness.  However, something within Jared finally allowed him to look beyond that to the beauty that was in his world and reevaluate his path.  I would like to think that the beauty in his soul finally defeated the demons hiding the potential of life.  He chose to build a new world for himself that focused on creativity.  In creativity, he found art.  In art, he found beauty.  In beauty, he found himself.

Hephaestion seems to be a man who combined a love of knowledge and art with the physical life of a soldier.  He fought for the better part of a decade yet he possessed the ability to organize millions of disparate people into a vast empire and the diplomatic skills to somewhat unite them behind a common set of ideas.  He lived a life on campaign with rough and tumble men, yet he corresponded with philosophers.  He may not have been Alexanders' most militarily-distinguished general, yet he held his own on the battlefield as attested by both his scars and Alexander's trust.

Hephaestion was  man noted for his physical beauty, one of the few things the ancient sources do mention about him.  As striking as Alexander was said to have been, it was acknowledged that Hephaestion was even more so.  Jared has long been known for his as well.  Much to his frustration, I suspect, the often mindless focus on that physical beauty distracts attention from all that is deeper.  For just as Hephaestion's beauty did not define him, neither does Jared's.  Hephaestion remains a man who defies labeling.  Partially because little is verifiably known, but more so I think, because of his complexity.  Labeling brings one certain aspect into specific relief--assigns a certain category--boxes into a preconceived notion.  Jared defies labeling and will challenge anyone who attempts to give him one.  One of his most common encouragements to those around him is to constantly and consistently challenge that very compulsion to label.  The human desire to do so comes from its deep need to understand what is around it for understanding brings control.  For Jared, the journey is the goal, the treasure.  The very point is to not understand or control for that is what brings growth.

Provehito in Altum

Friday, August 16, 2013

Apologies ahead of time as this may ramble a bit, but it's something that has been rolling around in my head for awhile but haven't been able to put adequately into words.  I think I still haven't, but here goes.  And I more than realize that this may be a Hephaestion that only exists in my mind, but it is MY Hephaestion.............

I live in a different universe than the rest of humanity, one guided by twin suns--one named Alexander and one named Hephaestion.  One sun inspires ambition, energy, a need to always conquer, to always learn.  The other calms, tempers, brings balance, brings beauty.

In the life and career of Alexander the Great are the secrets of life.  In him is greatness. In him is immortality.  In Hephaestion is everything that makes all in Alexander worthwhile.  Alexander set fire to the history obliterating everything that came before, creating in its place a world that was not and never would be the same.  But it was a Hephaestion-shaped world.  For, no offense to Alexander who was no mere mortal, everything that made Alexander Alexander was Hephaestion.  He supported Alexander's ambitions and dreams.  He sacrificed everything, including his own life, for those dreams.  While there is little doubt Alexander would have out-excelled all mankind, he would not have gone so far and the journey would not have been as worthy without Hephaestion.

Hephaestion was the greatest of men--a soldier but also a strong servant of Apollo.  He showed that a man could be strong, athletic, physically beautiful, and possessed of great endurance but also intellectual, regal, philosophical, and a lover of beauty.  He balanced two seemingly disparate halves with a transcendent grace.  It is this balance he gave to Alexander and to the world they created.

Alexander was brave, almost to the point of lunacy at times, intellectual, quick-witted, playful, and fiercely loyal; however, he could also be petulant, spoiled, enraged, and occasionally cruel.  Yet one word from Hephaestion could calm all that--often the only thing that could calm all that.  Hephaestion was the axis around which Alexander spun.

My world is more often than not filled with chaos--a chaos in my own head that I can not escape.  Like Alexander, I have grand ambitions.  I have always had a deep and abiding love for history and archaeology which I wish to share with the world.  I want to spread knowledge throughout the world and make it a better place before I leave it.  I believe in Alexander and Hephaestion's desire to create a world that shared culture and knowledge, that broke down barriers.  But I have been cursed with an illness which injects chaos and madness into my world leaving it unbalanced.  So much as Alexander, Hephaestion is the axis around which my world spins.  He brings peace, he brings he brings balance, he tempers the storms.  He pushes me to continue in both his and Alexander's foosteps, even if I often am reduced to crawling, in the dream of one day meeting them in Elysium and hearing Hephaestion say "I am proud of you, my beloved friend.  You have achieved more than Alexander and I could have hoped."

Alexander's world did not function without Hephaestion.  Mine does not function without the pair of them.

(I realize that very little is actually known of Hephaestion.  I have faith, but if I get to the afterlife and find out that Hephaestion was really a douche, I will so incredibly beyond pissed!)

Monday, July 22, 2013

So with the encouragement of a few people, who both know their role and don't, I am embarking on a project that I have actually had in mind for some time--a scholarly examination of Hephaestion.  While I have actually been working on this project for some time already in my head, it is thanks to Jared Leto, Richard Beck, Kelly Palik, Terri Oak, Alexander the Great, and Hephaestion, himself, that it will see the light of day. May I not embarrass any of them!

The basic premise I am exploring is that Hephaestion is by far the most under-rated man in history.  I have always felt that, (no offense to or belitting of his own epic talents and drive) Alexander the Great owes his success in at least some part to Hephaestion.  I hope to show that having a man of unimpeachable support who fulfilled whatever role or duty Alexander most needed done regardless of the supposed "glory, honor, or political weight" of that role was an invaluable part of Alexander's ultimate success. Likewise, having Hephaestion, who as a true friend, would sit with Alexander and discuss and think through his thoughts, decisions, and plans provided Alexander with a moral compass that often saved Alexander from his own temper and made him a better king.  That is not to say in any way that Alexander could not count on Hephaestion to support him in all things, whether he agreed with the King or not.  I also hope to show that the lamentable dearth of surviving information on Hephaestion and his career is in some part due to the jealousy and misunderstanding of his rivals and contemporaries.  I believe Hephaestion operated from a mindset that would have been rather incomprehensible to the rank and file Macedonian.

So that's the plan, anyway.  Hopefully, these are ideas and assertions that I can effectively prove.  I will admit that I go into this project as a great fan of Hephaestion, but I believe that I can produce a scholarly work that is not led by this love to the exclusion of all that does not agree it.

Wish me luck. And I dearly hope at least one person will actually want to read it!

Friday, June 14, 2013

In her book The Nature of Alexander, Mary Renault calls Hephaestion the most underrated man in history.
I fully agree with this statement.  I have always felt one of the secrets to Alexander's success was Hephaestion.  From what I have read of Alexander, the one thing that kept his more wild tendencies in check was Hephaestion.  When Alexander succumbed to his darker side or to one of his faults, Hephaestion reminded Alexander of who he was.  He was, in a sense, Alexander's moral compass.  Everything that was good in Alexander rested in Hephaestion.

I think the best example of this can be seen in Alexander's behavior following the death of Hephaestion.  He did not eat.  He did not sleep.  He did not campaign.  He executed Hephaestion's doctor in a horribly cruel manner.  Though he did, after a time, leave his tent, begin planning for future campaigns, and ordered full honors for his fallen comrade, it seems as though he was walking dead, a man going through the motions, a ship without it's compass.  And perhaps the best example of all, within 8 alcohol-hazed months, the seemingly invincible Alexander, who was covered with battle scars and had survived near-fatal illnesses, was dead himself.  The body seems to have finally followed the soul.

This is my hypothesis anyway.  I am currently undertaking the research to prove it.  I hope to find the sources support this, and it is not just my extreme fondess for Hephaestion that colors my opinion.  If you are interested in the findings, please comment below and watch this space.

Jen Jones

Monday, June 10, 2013

2336 years ago today, Alexander the Great died.  There is no part or parcel of the modern world that Alexander did not touch.  We live in Alexander's creation.  I try to live in Alexander's footsteps.

While the myths focus on the fact that Alexander dreamed of being Achilles, it was not only glory he sought.  He was also a man who thirsted for knowledge.  Trained by various philosophers, including the esteemed Aristotle, Alexander gathered as much information as he could from wherever his campaigning led him.  He brought Homer and other Greek classics and Western knowledge with him and brought Eastern knowledge home.  He treated his men with his vast medical knowledge and constantly sought new cures from the natives he encountered.  Against the vehement wishes of many of his men, he embraced many Persian customs, combined them with Greek & Western ones, and created something entirely new.

This is why Alexander should be remembered.  Alexander, unlike any before him, took the world he was in and created an entirely new one.  Alexander took a melange of ethnicities, nations, tribes, people and set the foundations for a truly global society.  That very hated decision to adopt some Persian customs was an example of this very trait.  Alexander took what he saw to be the best of Western society and the best of what he found in the East and combined them to create Alexander's world, a world in which all lived on equal intellectual footing under the banner of Alexander.

Alexander possessed great faults but also great strengths.  He also possessed the love & loyalty of Hephaestion, who served not only as Alexander's rock but his moral compass.  Together these two men created a new world that resonated far beyond their death.  Their accomplishments have never been equaled.  This is why I walk in their footsteps.

(The above represents my thoughts on Alexander.  I am far from an Alexander expert, but this is what I have gleaned from my studies.  Any errors are mine.)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

So tomorrow, I am off to London for the very first time.  I will very shortly not only be seeing Stonehenge, but also I will be coming face to face with artifacts that may once have belonged to my mentors, Alexander and Hephaisteon.  May that sight infuse me with even a small bit of their strength, wit, courage, and stamina.  May I walk with honor in their footsteps...................

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What constitutes greatness?

Due to different events, I have spent the majority of my life feeling inadequate.  I have spent many an hour contemplating what it is I seem to lack when viewed by those around me, yet I never seem to make any progress.  While this may seem like a trip to self-pity land, it does raise a very important philosophical question, what constitutes greatness?

My mentor, Alexander, was deemed great after conquering most of the known universe.  While he did have flaws, he achieved things which have made his name ring throughout the ages.  While I am not looking for immortality of such a degree, I would like to one day reach adequacy.

I have gifts and abilities that I struggle to find a proper use for in my daily life.  The question I find myself asking is at what point to you cease to have goals and, in fact, become a fraud?  What makes greatness as opposed to just mediocrity?

I can't help but feel that the answer lies in a close study of the career of Alexander and Hephaisteon.  Hence, my study continues.........................