[ by Charles Cameron — Netanyahu, Trump, and their interchangeable ambassadorships? — also fake news and truth ]
Two versions of two serpents biting each others’ tails to form a loop
On the left, we have a western, alchemical version of the two-serpent ourobouros, and on the right an “Infinite Wealth Sacred Buang Nak Bat Amulet” from Thailand. The accompanying text on the Billionmore Rare Thai Buddhist amulets and Talismans site reads:
Naga is the great snake of wealth in Buddhist belief when two Naga connect into a circle, it means wealth will never end..
That’s right, infinite wealth is yours for only $26.90.
In today’s New Yorker, we see the same secondary form of the ouroboros: two serpents, biting each others’ tails, to form a loop:
In recent years, ascendant political currents in America and Israel had already begun to merge. We have now reached the point where envoys from one country to the other could almost switch places: the Israeli Ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, who grew up in Florida, could just as easily be the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, while Donald Trump’s Ambassador-designate to Israel, David Friedman, who has intimate ties to the Israeli settler movement, would make a fine Ambassador in Washington for the pro-settler government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
As you may know, I’m generally disinclined to support one side in a conflict when it appears to me that conflict itself is the basic conundrum we should be examining. Accordingly, it’s the form here — the two serpents, the two ambassadorships working together as an integrated system, that I’d call your attention to.
While we’re on the subject of twin serpents…
Sometime back in the last century I suggested the utility of a Tarot-like pack of cards showing the great archetypal images that have populated the imaginations of so many cuotures across the globe and centuries.
Thus both the caduceus of western medicine and the kundalini of eastern yoga show twinned serpents spiraling up a central pole – and if Linus Pauling had seen that double serpent image when he was chasing the structure of DNA, he might have spent less time on the triple and more time on the double helix, and beaten Crick and Watson to the punch.
A similar case can be made for Kekule’s realization that the form of the benzene molecule was a ring, supposedly triggered by a reverie of the ouroboros or serpent biting it’s tail.
diagram of ouroboros and benzene molecule from ChemDoodle
It’s worth noting, however, that this appears to be an old wives’ tale, perhaps fashioned by Kekule himself, as detailed by JH Wotiz and S Rudofsky in Kekulé’s dream: Fact or fiction?” Chemistry in Britain, 20, 720–723 (1954).
Now, are the debunking stories better stories than their respective archetypal insight stories? And what’s the truth in story, in any case? In the psyche, story and fact are both story, tiny molecular weavings of the imagination.
And how does this tie in with “news” — fake and true?