The Parable of the Lorelei

A mermaid, beautiful and alluring, sings from the top of a rocky point in the most dangerous section of the Rhine River. Like the sirens of the Homer’s Odyssey, she causes sailors to jump overboard and captains to forget about the deadly dangers surrounding them. Is this German legend about a seductive mermaid a parable for our times? If we focus on the sirens’ song of temporal pleasures do we disregard immediate dangers? An encounter with a woman named Loralai leads Joshua Becker to a story and a poem which, he says, are a metaphor for modern existence.

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