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Fig 3.5 – Athena

Text: Page 92

Athena, the favorite child of Zeus, was the goddess born to bring wisdom into the world. It is easy to understand why the Western mind might find it difficult to understand the depiction of Athena in a helmet and a spear. Her militaristic look symbolized a warning to be strong and brave like a soldier because for science to progress, a scientist needs to seek a world beyond what is currently known. It is an awareness that science cannot be politically neutral because throughout history, when scientists challenged scientific convention, there were often threats of persecution and even death.

Her myth distinguishes between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is based in rational thinking, which does not always lead to wisdom. Poseidon had knowledge; Athena had wisdom because of a connection to something greater, something divine, that allowed her to create a science that had never been seen in history. Like Athena, scientists can be inspired to seek inner wisdom, their symbolic inner owl, beyond the knowledgeable inner Poseidon, to make “divine magic” and provide humanity a gift never discovered. The victory of Athena over Poseidon was more than winning the right for the name of Athens because it became the birthplace of modern Western psychology, a science rooted in the importance of divine wisdom over traditional knowledge.

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