Common Use of the Word, "Myth"

Joseph Campbell believed that "...each of us has an individual myth that's driving us, which we may or may not know." This forum is for assistance and inspiration in the quest to find your own personal mythology.

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CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:36 pm

Roncooper wrote:I don't think we have changed much. The most universally recognized character for the human race is a humanized mouse, Mickey Mouse.

This may sound trivial, but humanizing animals has probably had a big impact on the modern human psyche.
Yes! And branding humans as animals has had both wonderful and horrific consequences.

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Post by CarmelaBear » Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:44 pm

Andreas wrote:They are all true if you interpret them metaphorically. Literally not so true. It makes me wonder sometimes how much of the stuff science "discovers" touch the metaphysical realm and how much is actually factual.
Some kinds of science, like quantum mechanics, has enough support from both math and experimentation that it qualifies as factual while it tends to confirm metaphysical beliefs.

The idea of energy and force can be scientifically defined and measured while retaining many or most of the fuzzy characteristics we associate with spirituality or religion or mythology or storytelling. It is the nature of nature to appeal to both the right and the left hemispheres of the brain.

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Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Andreas » Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:09 am

Agreed Carmela but something tells me Romansh disagrees with you. lol
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Post by romansh » Fri Jun 03, 2016 4:42 pm

Andreas wrote:Agreed Carmela but something tells me Romansh disagrees with you. lol
There is a thread on spirituality here somewhere. It means different things to different people apparently.

As for metaphysics, I am not sure I believe in that.
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Post by CarmelaBear » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:24 pm

romansh wrote:
Andreas wrote:Agreed Carmela but something tells me Romansh disagrees with you. lol
There is a thread on spirituality here somewhere. It means different things to different people apparently.

As for metaphysics, I am not sure I believe in that.
Myth is not science. Though the study of it involves a good bit of science, it is a window to ideas that cannot be measured or observed in the usual ways. Instead, myth uses art, and metaphysics is only one of a number of artful lenses people peer through to find insight, enlightenment and a path through the labyrinth that is life. There are so many artistic views and fervent belief systems and religions, and they all have their myths or dreams.

Campbell studied them all without believing in any of them. Surely, you can appreciate their value for understanding the world around us and the life within.

As for my POV, it's not that serious. If you ever need perspective on the Bear, just ask Cindy. She takes me with more than a grain of salt, and that's the best thing. I'm just a bit gabby. Blah-blah-blah...nothing comes of this. The world keeps spinning, and we're still listening to our own echoes.

How does science measure infinity? How does the rational brain understand eternity or timelessness or reality without space? How does awareness live in our brains? How are we our own selves? How are you your own self? Is location real?

At some point, to solve puzzles we have to identify our assumptions and question them. I try to assume that I am competent and trustworthy, but I don't trust myself any more. I have not worked toward any goal that makes sense. I dutifully studied in school. I lived in a family and believed what I was told to believe until it became too absurd for words. I functioned in the office and the courtroom and worked to assist a disabled person. I wrote a boring book of life stories that listed trivia and bragged about good luck and bitterly complained of unpleasant events and people. On the last part of the journey, I don't have much to show for my efforts, and I find myself to be as inadequate and flawed and failed as ever. Some days I care, and some days, I just don't care at all...not one whit.

I'm bored and disappointed when I do not use my imagination. But when I look at whatever is before me with the eyes of a child, anything is possible, there are no problems and joy is everywhere. My adult self wants to take control and stop the drones from firing on innocent people. My child self knows she is small and insignificant and alone.

There are men who want drones and death. I cannot stop them. I can only look away and protect myself from the grief with stories and ivory tower classes and internet wanderings and pretending that any of this goes beyond these little taps on letters.

Myth is happy in a miserable old life that shrinks before the sight of anything we can call real. The thought of life contains the inevitability of death. The thought of death breeds a craving for the possibility that our experience of reality can expand to find joy and love. We may dare to hope that quantum mechanics will somehow rescue us from the sense that our consciousness is only a biological computer timepiece that makes odd noises before it just stops. While the computer clock operates, it is famished. It hungers for more. We hear the creaking of the door and we know it is going to slam shut.

We are the imagination that dreams of new life. We create the birth that brings death to the world...and before the death arrives, we fill the universe with music and songs and stories and guacamole with salsa. Then, we become the destroyer of worlds; the worlds of music and song and salsa. We become death.

We were spared having to decide whether or not to be born, and we cannot escape death, but experience has potential. Myth helps, and it gets us past the crimes, the Jugjuggerjucks of the world and the row upon row of graves and tombs. Myth helps me feel less empowered, and for me, that is a good thing. I don't trust myself enough to want to control what is going on. It is enough that I do not live burdened with sadness and grief. After all, I am always a small and insignificant offspring. I have not done enough to say I failed. Only those who try can fail, and I never tried. I just did what I had to do to get from birth to here. Here is a place where everything is awesome, myth is my guide and life feels like a worthy challenge when it is not absolutely perfect.

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Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by romansh » Fri Jun 03, 2016 8:44 pm

I am not sure what your point here is Carmela

but will look at part of the thread in your tapestry below
CarmelaBear wrote:How does science measure infinity? How does the rational brain understand eternity or timelessness or reality without space? How does awareness live in our brains? How are we our own selves? How are you your own self? Is location real?
~
How does science measure infinity? It does not. How do you?
How does the rational brain understand eternity or timelessness or reality without space? Poorly. But then I would argue poetry and myth fare no better.
How does awareness live in our brains? We don't know but when we look at it we do find it is the past ... Up to a few milliseconds in the past. Now is bit of an illusion.
How are we our own selves? This is bit of an illusion I think ... I strongly recommend The Self Illusion by Bruce Hood. This I think bears a resemblance to the Buddhist concept of not-self and dependent origination. There are videos available on youtube if you are interested.
Is location real? Depends on what you mean by location and real. Science has done more than anything to describe our physical location. Started with Galileo.
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Post by Andreas » Sat Jun 04, 2016 2:34 am

We all live by a myth. Myth is not there to make us understand. Mythology takes something irrational like life, the universe, existence and transforms it into something rational. Which is exactly what the scientific myth tries to do right now.

In science meta-physics is physics. The unknown will be know soon. The first cause is the big bang and before that something like a void. etc etc. Thats a mythology btw.

In religion and spirituality the first cause is god or gods and the universe is made in a certain way, etc etc.

Metaphysics is there ofcourse. There is no answer for the big questions and any answer is insufficient to explain the big picture. Just because we think we know and rationalize something doesnt mean we actually know.

I am just baffled by that some people actually claim that all this will be explained some day. Which is the opinion of a lot of my friends also. We either seriously deny the inexplicable nature of creation or we just want answers so badly that any answer will do.
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Post by romansh » Sat Jun 04, 2016 2:50 pm

What I don't understand Andreas that some people seem oblivious to the huge strides science has made in our understanding of the universe and ourselves.

While I don't claim our understanding is completely accurate or complete, it is way more complete than ten, a hundred or ten thousand years ago.

What also surprises me some people also seem oblivious to the parallels that science suggests to some of the interpretations of mythologies. Science I would argue allows us to sift the wheat from the chaff when it comes our various interpretations of mythology.

Scientific understanding is not an endpoint, it is a journey. For every question we think we answer we find two more.

Metaphysics is simply a question we don't know how to or have refused to tackle scientifically.
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Post by Roncooper » Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:59 pm

Andreas, I would say that part of reality is logical and reasonable, and can be understood scientifically.and it is extremely important that we do this.

However, much of reality cannot be understood like beauty or love. If we try to understand these, we reduce them to oversimplified interpretations that miss the point completely.

I think we need to embrace science and the mystery, recognizing that science does not replace the mystery. It is part of it.
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Post by Andreas » Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:16 pm

We can't tackle metaphysics,Rom. We can either rationalize it or go mad. Seems to me.
Even arguing that metaphysics is something inexplicable is a sort of rationalization.

Generally I dont disagree with what you are saying but I also believe that to truly separate the wheat from the chaff one has to look in the mirror mostly and also I have doubts that our understanding is more complete than ten thousands years ago. Maybe on a really small scale but essentially we remain oblivious.

Another thing that strikes me as weird about mythology either scientific, religious, whatever.. is that understanding acts as a substitute for belief. Belief is the real problem here.
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Post by romansh » Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:20 pm

Roncooper wrote: However, much of reality cannot be understood like beauty or love. If we try to understand these, we reduce them to oversimplified interpretations that miss the point completely.
Since the sixties we have been making a stab at understanding these sort of things, especially in terms of evolutionary psychology and more recently neuroscience.

I am reminded of a scientist speaking of the stars.
... but we can never known anything of their chemical or mineralogical structure ...
Auguste Comte, The Positive Philosophy, Book II, Chapter 1 (1842)
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Post by romansh » Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:25 pm

Andreas wrote: We can't tackle metaphysics,Rom. We can either rationalize it or go mad. Seems to me.
Even arguing that metaphysics is something inexplicable is a sort of rationalization.
That's why I don't argue over metaphysics.
Andreas wrote:Generally I dont disagree with what you are saying but I also believe that to truly separate the wheat from the chaff one has to look in the mirror mostly and also I have doubts that our understanding is more complete than ten thousands years ago. Maybe on a really small scale but essentially we remain oblivious.

Oh I don't think so.
Andreas wrote:Another thing that strikes me as weird about mythology either scientific, religious, whatever.. is that understanding acts as a substitute for belief. Belief is the real problem here.
Belief is another word for thought. I can think something or I can believe it.

I don't think thought is a problem. More a lack of critical thought, matching our thoughts to the evidence.
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Post by CarmelaBear » Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:59 pm

Speculative thought can be directly linked to the same imagination that drives both myth and empiricism. It can be at the start of everything we know for sure.

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Post by romansh » Sat Jun 04, 2016 5:17 pm

CarmelaBear wrote:Speculative thought can be directly linked to the same imagination that drives both myth and empiricism. It can be at the start of everything we know for sure.

~
And?

Acting on unconfirmed speculative thought (myth/science) can be problematic.


Know for sure?
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Post by CarmelaBear » Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:10 am

Every experiment begins with the hypothesis, which is an educated guess and informed speculation. Without the fantasy, scientific minds and practical problem-solvers would find it hard to make progress. Myth draws on reality and then influences how it develops.

The relationship between them may be symbiotic, and their similarities are legion.

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