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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Love - Echo - Narcissism and more

A cliché heard in Tamil movies – ‘better marry someone who loves you than one whom you love’ – life will be good ! – have you ever been loved ?  In Mythology, there is a character, who is so infatuated with a beautiful looking person but that beautiful person was fully engrossed in love with his own reflection that he continued gazing at his own reflection .. .. .. ..

In caves, in rooms, words, sounds echo.  Echo is a   repetition of sound produced by the reflection of sound waves from a wall, mountain, or other obstructing surface.  It primarily is the sound heard again near its source after being reflected. In audio signal processing and acoustics, echo is a reflection of sound that arrives at the listener with a delay after the direct sound. The delay is directly proportional to the distance of the reflecting surface from the source and the listener. Typical examples are the echo produced by the bottom of a well, by a building, or by the walls of an enclosed room and an empty room.

Amazon Echo (shortened to Echo) is a brand of smart speakers developed by Amazon. Echo devices connect to the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service Alexa, which will respond when you say "Alexa".  The features of the device include: voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, and playing audiobooks, in addition to providing weather, traffic and other real-time information. It can also control several smart devices, acting as a home automation hub. The Echo featured prominently in Amazon's first-ever Super Bowl broadcast television advertisement in 2016.

There is another ! - Amazon's Echo Look camera, which analyzes your clothing style and makes fashionable recommendations through machine learning, available to customers in the United States. Until now, the $200 device had been available only through invites.  The Echo Looks features a camera that can snap a shot or video of your current outfit with hands-free voice commands. You can add your favorite closet selections to the Echo Look app and organize those items using the Collections section. Daily Look lets you take a quick photo of whatever you’re wearing each day for easy reference later on. But the device’s marquee feature is Style Check, which will review photos of two different outfits to provide “a second opinion on which looks best on you.” Amazon says it does this through machine learning algorithms — but also human fashion experts. The process takes around a minute, and the Echo Look evaluates “fit, color, styling and current trends.” When the result comes back, it includes an explanation as to why one outfit won out over the other.

There is news that the  Echo Look and its companion app will cease to function on July 24 as Amazon announces it will discontinue the standalone fashion device. The Echo, which was made with clothing junkies in mind, harnessed artificial intelligence to give users fashion advice. If you love the device, you'll still be able to access many of its features, such as recommendations for new clothing and accessories and help organizing your wardrobe, elsewhere. Amazon has let users know they'll still be able to access "Style by Alexa" functionalities with the Amazon Shopping app. You can also talk to any other Alexa-enabled device. Just ask it the question: “Alexa, what should I wear?"  And if you have videos and photos stored on the Echo Look app after Alexa photographed you from head to toe, you can back them up through July 24, 2021 by creating Amazon Photos account.

Now moving to mythology for Echo !  In Greek mythology, Narcissus   was a hunter from Thespiae in Boeotia who was known for his beauty. According to Tzetzes, he was a Laconian hunter who loved everything beautiful. Narcissus was proud, in that he disdained those who loved him, causing some to take their own life to prove their devotion to his striking beauty. Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself and one's physical appearance or public perception.

                            The classic version is by Ovid, found in book 3 of his Metamorphoses  is the story of Echo and Narcissus. One day Narcissus was walking in the woods when Echo, an Oread (mountain nymph) saw him, fell deeply in love, and followed him. Narcissus sensed he was being followed and shouted "Who's there?". Echo repeated "Who's there?" She eventually revealed her identity and attempted to embrace him. He stepped away and told her to leave him alone. She was heartbroken and spent the rest of her life in lonely glens until nothing but an echo sound remained of her. Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, noticed this behaviour after learning the story and decided to punish Narcissus. Once, during the summer, he was getting thirsty after hunting, and the goddess lured him to a pool where he leaned upon the water and saw himself in the bloom of youth. Narcissus did not realize it was merely his own reflection and fell deeply in love with it, as if it were somebody else. Unable to leave the allure of his image, he eventually realized that his love could not be reciprocated and he melted away from the fire of passion burning inside him, eventually turning into a gold and white flower.

In Greek mythology, Echo  was an Oread who resided on Mount Cithaeron.  Zeus loved consorting with beautiful nymphs and often visited them on Earth. Eventually, Zeus's wife, Hera, became suspicious, and came from Mt. Olympus in an attempt to catch Zeus with the nymphs. Echo, by trying to protect Zeus (as he had ordered her to do), endured Hera's wrath, and Hera made her only able to speak the last words spoken to her. So when Echo met Narcissus and fell in love with him, she was unable to tell him how she felt and was forced to watch him as he fell in love with himself.

Echo and Narcissus is a myth from Ovid's Metamorphoses, a Roman mythological epic from the Augustan Age. The introduction of the myth of the mountain nymph Echo into the story of Narcissus, the beautiful youth who rejected Echo and fell in love with his own reflection, appears to have been Ovid's invention. Ovid's version influenced the presentation of the myth in later Western art and literature. The Metamorphoses is a Latin narrative poem by the Roman poet Ovid, considered his magnum opus. Comprising 11,995 lines, 15 books and over 250 myths, the poem chronicles the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesar within a loose mythico-historical framework.

Interesting ! ~ now read the cliché in first para again !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

Photo of Narcissus : from Wiki Commons - By John William Waterhouse - cgGohYq-VdecNw at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain,

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