(sirens) In Odyssey xii. 39. 184, Homer relates how Ulysses has himself tied to the mast in order that he may hear the sirens' song, yet not follow all other sailors who, having done so, are driven to follow the sound, shipwreck, and perish. The myth is a focus for debate over paternalism, and the relation between higher and lower inclinations, or reason and desire (for a spectacular example, see Democritus ). Although sirens are popularly depicted as nebulous Victorian nymphs it should be remembered that in early representations of the legend they are male and bearded: representatives of alienating, god-like powers whose force we should know but against which we must be forearmed.

Philosophy dictionary. . 2011.

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