Tuesday, July 12, 2016

X. Myth

WE HAVE HARDLY any sort of excuse for existing, that is, those of us who spend our time crafting thought into words and placing words in a medium, one which differs according to our time and place. In our present time, we think it no higher charity than to pay people for this, but what we have paid people for, like Charles Dickens, is the production of text, rather than of actual content.

IT GOES ON further than this; even if money were not exchanged, if honors were exchanged, in a society which primarily operated upon the establishment of credit in an intangible way, we would run the same risk. Carlyle says rightly that the purpose of eloquent writing is not to produce text, but rather, that if someone has something to say, to be able say it in the most excellent way possible. It would as though when we wanted men to produce more blackberries we asked for mere blackberry-flavor; and then are startled at what ingredients are employed to produce it.

IF THERE IS ANY EXCUSE for our avocation, it must certainly be the construction of myth. Myth tends to fill the unknown spaces and arrange them, giving shape to the darkness of the abyss. Where histories are unknown, myth substitutes; where sciences, mythological explanation, and so on. This creates a confusion to us, who have collected a lot of information on the past (history) and on the operation of natural forces ('science'). It seems to us that since these voices speak, myth ought to be silent.

BUT YET HERE IS A MYTH itself, that is, the story that someone discovered the scientific method (perhaps it was Francis Bacon) and after that, we entered an age of knowledge rather than one of superstition. The concept of revolution - revolt being the activity - applied to science, a process involving very little armed force and a lot of writing, some argumentation, and much money passing around, should have been to us a tell-tale sign that we were reading a myth. It is not necessarily untrue that this was a revolt, but rather, the facts alone reveal no revolt, we must therefore ask if a revolt is indeed the apt way to tell the story.

MUCH ABOUT THIS AFFAIR inclines us to believe that this myth is the most pejorative of myths, that is, an elaborate falsehood designed to deceive so that a theft may occur. We are told of some pagans that had a statue that seemed to eat food that was offered to it. In fact what happened was certain men snuck in a secret entrance during the night and stole the food offered to the god. The Hecatomb was at least offered in the open and eaten there; the showbread was given to the priests as a sacrifice to God (and because they had no land of their own) - and so on.

I WILL NOT GO INTO the details of this particular deception. I will but say that if we should discover that Bacon did not invent a new method, and that he was in fact nothing more than a paid shill whose views helped someone politically, whilst better scientists labored elsewhere and built the knowledge which we really make use of to bend nature to our will, we ought to reject him and this myth as false. But in our era, myth is itself a synonym for false, is it not?

THAT IS OF COURSE not true; myths we have heard may be confirmed or busted - how can a myth be confirmed? It is this - a myth is a conceit or a claim about events which is unsubstantiated or perhaps unable to substantiated. Axioms and priors cannot be proven, but are necessary to make use of information. We can at least have some satisfaction that if the use of those axioms produces good results that there is some truth to them. It does not make their truth unlimited, only they are often not specific about the scope of their applicability. Myths are axioms or priors in the form of stories, which truth we have already heard and recognized in a way of trying to justify the activity of more primitive groups - telling stories that seem obviously false to us.

IN FACT, IN ORDER for a history or a science to be useful, it must be part myth. That is, it must arrange the information in a way that is useful to us. The only way for it to really be useful to us is by being, in some way, true. Certainly it was true to some extent that the idol ate the food, but obviously much truer that Christ ate the fish and honeycomb. Deception is the first principle of war, and a society which operates primarily by deceiving its own members risks war on itself, and for what reason?

WE BELIEVE THAT WE must have proof before we believe, which precludes the possibility of myth. This is also a myth, since belief itself pertains to 'that which has not yet been seen' and therefore if we are believing still and yet have already seen (instead of simply knowing, since it is now been established as fact) we wonder what sort of 'belief' we mean? Is it helpful to describe this as belief at all? Or is it better to describe this as a society of unbelief? What really is the story here?

RATHER IT IS PROBABLY better to describe this as a society of deception, since its central mythos is that it has no mythos; its religion that it has no religion, its violence that it does no violence, and so forth. It certainly, like the Hindu, believes with utter sincerity the things that it believes, but it has, due to cunning, chosen carefully the things which it believes in order to protect the spirit of belief from doubt.

FASHION RULES IT, for the fashion of disbelief is important to its value system. Thus it must pick things of weight to disbelieve, for the sake of status. It has numerous myths told about its supposedly defeated enemies, while it decries its enemies speaking any word that could possibly be construed as false or at least, be unprovable. This is the nature of intellectual sovereignty, and the question that remains for it is not to be powerless but rather to be true.

DOES OUR LORD ESCHEW myth? No - he constructs particular fictions, true fictions called parables. His parables are notable for often containing counter-factuals such as a man giving to his sons their inheritance long before his death, but his parables tell us important truths about spirituality and about anthropology. Anthropology is very descriptive indeed, when in the hands of the one who made man.

IN ANY CASE we are often told - it is believed that Christianity has run its course. Something 'next' is at hand. But I tell you the truth; the Truth cannot run its course. What has run its course is this belief which has no belief; Christians were for certain carried up in it, citing our canon as inerrant, or perhaps treating 'In The Beginning' as a scientific text. How had they not bought into this myth? No one knows what happened in the beginning - in the same way we know what happened last week.

EVEN IF WE are to collect facts about the world in the far past, bits and pieces we can reason to or happen to observe because of the conflation of space and time - we will still need a story to make sense of them. No, I tell you the truth - it is that system which believed it had discovered ancient men were cave-men that hit their women on the heads with clubs, that believed that if you asked enough men you would come to even truths that no man possessed? Yes, it is that system that is dead.


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