Archive for the ‘Mythology’ Category

Life is myth

May 23, 2009

Life is myth, but we have forgotten it as such.

It is anti-social to talk of life as myth, as many negative images and connotations are interpreted. Myth does not mean lack of seriousness, it does not mean an attack on science, it does not mean superstition, it is not anti-materialistic. Myth is how we understand our world.

We live in myths handed down to us; custom is our nature (Pascal). We derive new myths in the context of existing ones.

Us moderns recognising life as myth connects us more deeply to our ancient ancestors who were not shy at all to delve into mythology. It helps us to negate the superiority complex that would have us believe that we understand the world better than generations before. Our ancient ancestors had a much more colourful, dramatic and broad-minded understanding of the world.

Remarkably, many people may agree that our ancestors have lived better lives than us, lives less stressed and full of wonder. Yet they are reticent to associate this better living with better understanding. Moderns are distrustful of the myths though which lives ticked in the ancient world. But could it not have been that these myths provided a better understanding of the world, i.e., a better understanding of the world for living it?

Is not better living the result of better understanding? If better living is not the result of better understanding than exactly what ‘understanding’ are we talking about? What ‘understanding’ do us moderns choose to value and emphasise?

The West lost scientific knowledge as a type of understanding when it lost Alexandria to the Mohammedans. But it did not lose a more important type of understanding, an understanding which is for life. It did not lose its myths.

Today we live in different myths to those of the ancients: progress, consumerism, evolutionary teleology, utilitarian telology, capitalism, scientism, atomical individualism, more-real-than-real mass media, environmentalist cultism, wars involving ‘collateral damage’. Are our myths any better than those of yesteryear? Do they give us better understanding for living? We have long since outgrown our myths, yet we stubbornly cling to them. Perhaps we should re-energize the old myths, perhaps they are better for life?


Humans are mythology-machines

May 23, 2009

Humans are mythology-machines, we make and absorb meaning.

I trust no one who views Truth (with a Capital T) as anything but a myth that is taken seriously, dogmatically, with all its implications and applications for living.

We are machines in that our bodies are biological systems and our primary senses do quite a good job of measuring the world.

Thus for us it is important to maintain a healthly body and mythology. The latter is ideally one of joy. Good food, good myths; the absence of toxins and diseases; the absence of negative emotions, and people and situations which, through our prior conditioning, engender them; transformational myths which take the bad and reinterpret it as good; humour — all this is needed for the human to thrive.