Phrase: "A Face That is Uplifted"

"And even though all other animals
lean forward and look down to the ground,
he gave to man a face that is uplifted,
and ordered him to stand erect and look
directly up into the vaulted heavens
and turn his countenance to meet the stars;"
(The Ovid, 118-123, p18)

The phrase "a face that is uplifted" could be taken one of two ways, one positive, one negative. The positive spin on the idea of an uplifted face is one that deals with aspiration. Man is meant to rise above the other creatures of the earth, who "look down to the ground." This superiority is enforced by the idea of man's unique order to look to the stars. Man is meant to aspire to great things that will put him on level with the stars, and perhaps the gods themselves.

The more negative side of this phrase could be construed as a bit more subservient. In many Greek/Roman myths that deal with the early life of man, humans were looked down upon, denied even the boon of fire. Man's only use to the gods was worship and tribute. Because of this, the phrase "a face that is uplifted" could mean that man, being more intelligent than the other creatures of the earth, is meant to look primarily to the heavens and think primarily of the gods. In a manner of speaking, man is meant not to think what the gods can do for them, but what they can do for the gods.

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