Greek Mythology Stamps

Narcissus

Narcissus, and the Narcissus flower. He was so beautiful but he rejected all his lovers (including Echo). One of his lovers asked Artemis to punish Narcissus: “let him find out what it's like to love someone you can never have”. One day Narcissus found a pool and as he tried to drink he saw his image. At this moment he was punished by Artemis who made him fall in love with his own reflection. Soon he understood the feeling that the others had who were rejected by him but it was impossible for him to love others.

Self-discrimination is important in Immunology. The "Science" magazine issue on 12 April 2002 shows a painting by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1573 - 1610) of Narcissus gazing at his reflection. It was interesting to reading some comments of Tatsua Tabata about Narcissus and Immunology:

"Narcissus could not notice that his reflection was his own image, and fall in love with it. However, he was unable to be loved by it, was exhausted and died. So what he did was not the effective recognition of self, but non-recognition of self as such."

It is difficult to believe that Narcissus did not recognize that the reflected image was his image since mirrors were known in ancient Greece. The message of the story is a) "recognize yourself !" b) Narcissus was beautiful but also stupid.

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