French philosophers, Marcel Detienne and Jean-Pierre Vernant published a thorough examination into metis in their 1991 book titled Cunning Intelligence in Greek Culture and Society. In this extensive recollection of greek mythology Metis is known as a woman and metis as a knowledge for the art of making come to life. They begin with, "From a terminological point of view, mêtis, as a common noun, refers to a particular type of intelligence, an informed prudence; as a proper name it refers to a female deity, the daughter of Ocean."
Much the same that I became intrigued by metis, the authors were interested in the lack of theoretical focus on metis, "although metis operates within so vast a domain, although it holds such an important position within the Greek system of values, it is never made manifest for what it is, it is never clearly revealed in a theoretical work that aims to define it."
By exploring the concept through tales of strategic cunning and opportune moments (kairos) where metis is invoked, the authors explore the domains of cunning intelligence. The story begins with Zeus concerned about being overthrown after seeing the child (Athena) conceived with Metis as his wife. He is certain that if Metis bore him a son that he would be more powerful that Zeus and thus engaged in a game with metis whereby she was taunted with what being she could be morph into. Once Zeus challenged her into smaller and smaller forms, he simply waited for her to become small enough, a fly as it were, and swallowed her whole. Thereby consuming Metis and taking her powers for his own. After swallowing her, "not a single cunning trick can be plotted in the universe without first passing through his mind."
Detienne and Vernant continue with an account of Greek tales that invoke metis with calculated precision. Another example of metis in action is that of Antilochus’ Race. In this story Antilochus is clearly the underdog in a horse race where his opponent has experience and all of the bells and whistles associated with high-class races. Acknowledging his lack of resources Antilochus waits for the perfect moment to take advantage of what he does have, metis, and the muddy track provides him with an opportunity to out maneuver the race favorite. The authors announce the main takeaway from this piece being that metis can exist anywhere in every confrontation or competitive situation. For the purposes of remediating the concept of metis, I submit that metis can be seen in more arenas than just confrontation or competition. The case studies from Brady's piece illustrate this concept as well.
Another key discussion point in this digital context is to explore successes achieved from invoking metis. Detienne and Vernant submit the following for consideration on the topic:
Thus success obtained through mêtis can be seen in two different ways. Depending on the circumstances it can arouse opposite reactions. In some cases it will be considered the result of cheating since the rules of the game have been disregarded. In others, the more surprise it provokes the greater the admiration it will arouse, the weaker party having, against every expectation, found within himself resources capable of putting the stronger at his mercy. Certain aspects of mêtis tend to associate it with the disloyal trick, the perfidious lie, treachery—all of which are the despised weapons of women and cowards. But others make it seem more precious than strength. It is, in a sense, the absolute weapon, the only one that has the power to ensure victory and domination over others, whatever the circumstances, whatever the conditions of the conflict.
The implications of this are explored in the ethics portion of this website. It is this last sentiment that I find intriguing and part of what I argue makes metis a good candidate for revitalization in thought and acton. A topic for discussion, practice, learning and, ultimately, a way for the underdog to have his or her day.