The Procrustean Generation

Procrustes was one of the villains in the story of Theseus. He was a thug who extended false hospitality to all the travelers passing through his territory.

Here’s what he did: he offered them rest in his house, where he had an iron bed in which he invited them to lie down. But thus was his demand: the guest had to fit perfectly in the bed. If the guests were too tall, he would amputate the excess length; the shorter ones were to be stretched until they reached sufficient length…

And we today, how many things in our life do not we cut or stretch to match the beds that are our expectations?

Our presence on social networks. The stories we tell to family and friends. The resumes we deliver to potential employers.

We want to cut short the failures of our children, brothers and sisters, partners; we want to stretch their qualities.

We need a better car. A bigger house. A phone with a brighter screen. A higher salary; of course, working hours should be cut.

Why is it that the current measure of things never satisfies us?

Because Procrustes is all of us.

(And here’s the final revelation: Procrustes had two beds, of different sizes, which he picked based on the guest.)

Painting: “Ariadne Abandoned by Theseus on Naxos” by Angelica Kauffmann