I Want to Learn How to Think Beyond Academic Disciplines

Academic Frontier Lectures (A Semester)
Fiscal Year 2012 "Metamorphosis"



We have held mixed feelings of fear and yearning for the phenomenon called "metamorphosis / metamorphôsis" – something changing into a different form, emerging anew.

To begin with, something taking a form (morphê) means that the thing ceases to be fluid, that it becomes stable and subject to our grasp; at the same time, it also means that the thing becomes fixated, loses its flexibility and becomes confined within its limit. Thus, while causing us to worry and even pushing us into despair with its ability to unsettle our firm connection with the world, "metamorphosis" has stirred within us our secret desire with its ability to transcend the limitations of one definite form and break through impasse. Numerous examples from Metamorphosen by Ovid to contemporary super robot animations testify to the appeal we have felt of "metamorphoses" as a manifestation of uncontained power that borders on destruction. Looking outside of the world developed by such "works," we can still recognize the myriad of specific examples of "metamorphosis" – metamorphosing plants, the flexibility of brain, the renovation (revolution) of polity, possession and disassociation reported in ethnological studies and psychology, sex/gender change, and avatars on the web – that keep us enchanted. In this lecture series, we will consider "metamorphosis" and its repercussions in these various loci (topoi).