What a Strange Creature is Man!

HOT & COLD, Poured acrylic painting by Cheryl Batavia

Detail of statue of a satyr, CS Lewis Square, Northern Ireland, UK, Photo by K Mitch Hodge from Unsplash

What a Strange Creature is Man!

A satyr rescued a freezing man and took him to his cave. The man began to blow on his fingers. The satyr inquired why the man was blowing on his fingers. “My hands are cold and I want to warm them up,” said the man.

The satyr prepared the man a bowl of steaming soup, and was surprised when the man began to blow on the soup. “Why are you blowing on the soup? “asked the satyr. “I am trying to cool the soup,” the man replied.

“What a strange creature is man!” the satyr remarked. “He blows hot and cold with the same breath!”

Satyr statue, CS Lewis Square, Northern Ireland, UK, Photo by K Mitch Hodge from Unsplash

Retelling of an ancient Greek/ Roman myth. A satyr is a drunken, lustful woodland god with the lower body of a horse or goat and the upper body of a man. I read this myth in Illustrated Classics when I was about eight or nine years old. I have always remembered this story and gradually came to understand the meaning as I grew older.

What does the saying, “What a strange creature is man! He blows hot and cold with the same breath.” mean to you?

78 Comments

    1. Michel, that is the same answer Robert, my significant other, gave me. ๐Ÿ™‚ I was thinking more in terms of the philisophical question raised by the story. I guess I have discovered two scientific thinkers so far! โค

      I hope you are doing well! Love, Cheryl โค

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    1. Thank you so much, Offshorewriter, for sharing such kind thoughts. โค I am glad you liked the story. Your support means a lot to me!

      If you are interested in poured painting, it is very easy to learn. Check out "Molly's Artistry" and "Gilly Kube acrylic pouring art" on YouTube for tutorials. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Have a great day! Cheryl

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    1. Thank you, Ariel. I am happy that you like the painting! โค Pourd painting is easy and fun, but kind of messy! You could easily learn. If you want to see what it's all about, check out "Molly's Artistry" and "Gilly Kube acrylic pouring art" on YouTube. ๐Ÿ™‚ I especially like their tutorials.

      Are you coming to Orlando this winter? Have a great day! Cheryl

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      1. Hi! ๐Ÿ™‚ we are not going to Florida this winter. We are going on a Coast to Coast Canada tour instead, and while traveling we are doing a Fundraiser for Food Banks Canada! I posted about it on Monday ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 2 people

  1. What a beautiful post for this morning Cheryl ๐Ÿ’–
    I just love the art, I never saw such use of acrylics, and it looks very intersting and calming.
    The word satyr is new to me, but the short story makes me think it’s synonymous to satire, where sad tragedies or big follies are presented in comical form to make it less gruesome and yet communicate the story. Sometimes maybe even to use analogy as a means of censorship not to make direct references to someone powerful.
    As a human characteristic itself, it could point to duality of personality or an act, which can have different impacts on different personalities, which is good for one yet bad for another.
    And the statue reminded of the lovable half fawn half man character Tumnus in Chronicles of Narnia, by C S Lewis ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Thank you, Deb, for so generously sharing your in-depth analysis of the story. Very interesting comment about “duality of personality or an act,…which is good for one and yet bad for another.” You also talk about not making references to someone powerful. This is very common in Mother Goose poems for children. Most of them are very political, and politicians are infamous for duplicity. That may have also been true in Greek myths.

      In ancient Greek/Roman mytholog a satyr is a drunken, lustful god who has the lower body of a horse/ goat and the upper body of a man. You are right…The statue represents a faun, a character from CS Lewis. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I always felt that the story is a comment about the unreliability of human beings, and had not articulated it beyond that. I am curious to know what others have to say.

      Have a great day, Deb! โค Cheryl

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      1. Cheryl thank you at the outset, for mentioning Mother Goose poems, I hadn’t heard those, and just checked out some in YouTube ๐Ÿ™‚
        The view of unreliability of human beings certainly is a way to look at this โ˜บ๏ธ I was going though the other comments too and this post has triggered some lovely thinking ๐Ÿ’–

        We will definitely give the poured art a go, even more so because it’s messy, we love messy โ˜บ๏ธ

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment, Ashok. Do I detect a hint of cynicism? ๐Ÿ™‚ So glad you like the art. I am learning from YouTube tutorials. It is easy and fun, and the result is partly the result of chance. I did about twenty paintings last year and plan to paint again in cool weather.

      Have a great day! โค Cheryl

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  2. What a beautiful painting Cheryl with such vidid gorgeous colors. All of my favorites. The sculpture is quite marvelous. i love the play on hot and cold as our world turns. โค๏ธ๐Ÿค—โค๏ธ
    Cindy

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    1. Thank you so much, Cindy! โค I am glad you liked the painting. Easy and fun and results are always somewhat of a surprise. I am learning from YouTube tutorials. Last winter I did about 20 paintings and plan to do some more when it cools off. Interesting comment about "play on hot and cold as our world turns," I hadn't thought of that. You are seeing that up close and personal. I wish that were not so!

      Enjoy the weekend coming up! ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheryl

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      1. You’re so welcome Cheyrl. Are you selling them or do you have room in your home for them? They are so awesome and I can imagine it is fun to see how they turn out. Amazing what we can learn on youtube. I actually think of the political debacle.. blowing hot and cold..lol but the fire works too.. I sure am seeing it.
        Thanks you as ell Cheryl! โค๏ธ Cindy

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    2. Cindy, I did the paintings to decorate the bare walls of our new home. A few, I threw away, and a few I gave away. I plan on doing more this winter. I might sell some at an art fair if I get good enough and if the coronavirus ever goes away! I belong to an art association that has a shop and sponsors an annual event. I have also done some watercolors, but I am not very good. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Yes, I tend to think of the duplicitous politicians, too! โค Cheryl

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      1. Oh how lovely to admire your work on your own walls. You could also do an onlive presecne perhaps. Art fairs would be perfect, they’ve been doing those online here these days as well. Oh that’s awesome, you are well connected! โค๏ธ๐Ÿค—โค๏ธ๐Ÿค—โค๏ธ๐Ÿค—
        Oh, what interesting times… let’s hope we have a couple fly by nights that blow out.
        The fly swattes that were made are hysterical. We have to laugh.
        Have a great weekend! ๐Ÿค—โค๏ธ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ XO Cindy

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  3. Amazing acrylic art work Cheryl. It’s hard to imagine a splash of colors pourrd can create such a stunning piece of beauty.
    Well, regarding the question you’ve asked, I don’t have much understanding on it. But my take is that man is a bundle of contractions, surprises, frailties and dualities. His attitude and behaviour to a similar situation or challenge may be good or bad connoting blowing cold and hot in the same breath. Don’t know if I am making much sense Cheryl, but this is what my limited understanding could decipher ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  4. Such a beautiful story to start my day with. And I love your acrylic pour. ๐Ÿ˜ I think life is truly about finding the balance. Slowing down and being aware of each moment. Knowing we have the abilities within us to show up for any experience and can handle them. Although, recognising the ironies and finding the happy medium in just breathing and being. Stay safe, stay beautiful. Anna ๐Ÿ’œ๐ŸŒŸ๐Ÿฆ‹

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    1. Thank you so much, Anna, for sharing your kind thoughts. โค I appreciate your dropping by and commenting. Finding balance is never easy, but I agree with you that is what life is about. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope your day is filled with beautiful thoughts. As you spread sunshine to others, may it come back to you! Cheryl โค

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    1. D, Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, I agree that it is thought-provoking and open to many valid answers. I used to have my elementary students discuss the old question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” I think this is much harder! ๐Ÿ™‚ I am glad you loved the art. Thank you so much for your kind comments. All the best! โค Cheryl

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    1. Thank you , Subbashini for your kind comments. Yes, that statement is profound. It has so many valid interpretations. I am happy that you like my painting. I enjoy seeing your vibrant paintings. โค

      Have a wonderful weekend! Cheryl

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  5. Think it’s reasonable…I think it shows that humans have needs that require a variety of solutions. The man was freezing and he tried to warm himself. The soup was hot so he cooled it avoid injury.

    Interesting post.

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    1. Thank you, Lawrence for reading and sharing your thoughts. I like your pragmatic approach…a lot like my significant other’s science-related response ๐Ÿ™‚ I am glad you enjoyed the painting. With poured paintings, you can never predict exactly how they may turn out.

      I hope things are going well for you. โค Cheryl

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  6. Beautiful post Cheryl!! Loved your art piece โค๏ธ we are truly strange creatures. I suppose we like to be in equilibrium, neither much on the higher side nor much on the lower side. Or so to say, we are always complaining, we are never satisfied the more we have the much more we want. Have a great weekend Cheryl, take care โค๏ธ๐Ÿค—

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    1. Kritika, I am delighted you like the painting! Thank you for your kind comment. โค Those are my favorite colors.
      So many different interpretations of the quote! All responses are valid…no right or wrong! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much, Kritika, for your ongoing support. It means a lot to me. โค Have a great weekend! Cheryl

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  7. Beautiful Acrylic pour. Iโ€™ve always wanted to try one of those.
    I love the myth. Thatโ€™s one to unpack. Human beings are strange creaturesโ€” full of incredible magic. Itโ€™s only that so few of us realize it!

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    1. Thank you, Beck for sharing your thoughts on the myth. It has always intrigued me. You idea that human beings are filled with incredible magic is especially meaningful during this pandemic. We are all exploring our inner resources. Well said! โค I am happy that you like the painting. I am learning from YouTube videos. It is fun and easy, and each pour ends in a surprise! I especially like tutorials from Gilly Kube in Australia and "Molly's Artistry" from here in Florida.

      Hope you are having an enjoyable weekend! ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheryl

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      1. Thank you Cheryl! So true we are all having to explore our inner resourcesโ€”we can always find the positive.
        Have a good weekend too,
        I will have to check out those videos!

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  8. (I love that art work at the top, I have had a crack at this, not so simple) I think the story names the human dilemma directly, the Satyr sees what it thinks it sees, but in fact diagnoses the human well. An allegory for our times is how I came at it.

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    1. I agree with you, Paul, the old Myth does seem to be “an allegory for our times.” I am so happy that you like the painting. As you probably experienced, a lot depends on chance. Thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful comments. โค All the best! Cheryl

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    1. Thank you Dwight for your kind comments. โค Those are my favorite colors.

      I used to take my spending money to the drug store in fourth and fifth grade and buy Illustrated Classics. ๐Ÿ™‚ They were a good introduction to classic literature. Like you, I loved them! โค

      Take care, Cheryl

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  9. I knew the phrase ‘blowing hot and cold’ – which always meant to me someone being mercurial, but I didn’t know its origin. Thank you for teaching me something new today, Cheryl!

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  10. “He blows hot and cold with the same breath,” shows that many things (maybe all things) are relative. Perspective means so much, like with your fascinating painting. I saw birds first, but I believe I will see much more the longer I look at it. Great image for a wonderful post!

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    1. Thank you, JoAnna, for such a kind and thoughtful comment! โค I am glad you like the painting. I usually can't stand to look at my own paintings, seeing only the flaws. But with abstract paintings, i just see different images each time I look. ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course, the story is open to a wide variety of interpretations as well. I would say your response falls somewhere between the science camp and the philosophical camp. It's been fun reading all the wonderful interpretations. โค Enjoy your Sunday! Cheryl

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