Resurrect the Myth

What needs do mythology and religion serve in today's world and in ancient times? Here we discuss the relationship between mythology, religion and science from mythological, religious and philosophical viewpoints.

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Post by nandu » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

As Campbell says, myths are public dreams and dreams are private myths. It seems logical to assume that myths evolved with Homo Sapiens. If we look the the myth of the primitive tribes, they are rudimentary and highly experiential; different from the "story" format we are accustomed to. It seems that the shaman is allowed to interpret the basic mythic framework of his people (the public dream) based on his personal experience (his private myth).

As mankind evolved into more and more sophisticated and comples societies, the public dream evolved into a standard "doctrine": myth became religion. Mythological stories became narratives of actual events, and not part of personal experience. Since most of us are indoctrinated with the "truth" of our particular religion from a very young age, we lose the myth and gain faith.

For some time now, I have started thinking that it requires a "crisis of faith", a movement away from organised religion and its dogma, to rediscover one's own mythical roots. I am putting this question to the two padres (tat and sladeb) who have been active in this forum.

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Post by Dionysus » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am



[/quote]

I think maybe he struck a chord with some ideas that were already beginning to resurface. Women are taking a more and more active role in the church. The female element is growing stronger in society in general. One might say, mythically, that a marriage is taking place in the church. The mask of God is changing, once again.
[/quote]

I think thid is an interesting observation, AJ. The Catholic Church has long held Mary as an unintentional influence of the goddess in their iconography. The bringing of this understanding into the light of day in their church would, in my opinion, breathe new life into their theology. It would be a step in the right direction after the mis-step of their taking the mysticism out of their religion (losing of Latin in service amongst other things). The leaders should get out of the way and let it happen.

I also feel that spreading (somehow)the idea that the earth iself is sacred and the dissemination of the teaching that everywhere is the "Holy Land" and not just some bloody piece of real estate in Israel. That in itself would involve a radical change in the way business is conducted world-wide.

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Post by Dionysus » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am


Nandu, in a vision quest I had, Mary Magdalene was the Christ. The love Mary had for Jesus and the love Jesus had for Mary created a divine power in both that was not either.
I love this, V. The union of male and female that is niether, is the experience of the eternal and is (can and should be) the experience of the ineffable. That is why we have poets. --Peace, Dionysus
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Post by Dionysus » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Bhodi, I loved your post on Quantum Physics.

Nandu, I used to have a large print of that Christ on the tesseract by Dali on my wall, back in the sixties. Always one of my favorites.

Thanks to you both. Just being a cheerleader here.

Peace,

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Post by SteveC » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

These posts are getting very deep into exploring the parallels of science and myth, which I think are obvious, but Nandu's post about the other dimension and the Dali drawing is the one I think is the most rich.

Following in the vein we have been discussing, of what is observable reality, be it Gods or Quarks, inner or outer, the only "real" reality is relationships. The crucifixition, both as myth, history, politics, individualism, science, power, etc., brings everything together because "we are our relationships."

Is Jesus on the cross a friend, a victim, an innocent, a God, a savior, our judge, a teacher, etc., and so on? He seems to occupy every possible role in society. Soldiers look for guidance the same as pacifists, the rich and the poor, etc. How is it that he is such a sponge for human relationships? Every relationship that we have he seems to have had. He was born with the animals but showered with gifts. He was as weak as a child but feared by kings. It is a story of the most absurd extremes, much like fantasy and science, which combined create science-fiction. Yet much of science-fiction becomes real. It is a story told before the technology made it true because dreams precede inventions.

There are elements of truth in fiction, fact and myth, but "reality" is only ourselves. The "I think therefore I am" position is what separates us from one another because how we think determines our relationships. A such, it is the nature of ideas that one man's myth is another man's reality. Why? Because ultimately we choose what to believe. Indoctrination eventually wears off, and whatever we embrace, we choose it.

What I am trying to say (and I think I am doing so poorly) is that in the "pecking order" of understanding, it is "relationships" that reigns supreme, not the arena. Studying cause and effect is the study of relationships, regardless of what realm (science, politics, economices, etc.) is being studied. As such, they are all our "relationship" with the world that we explore.

Within that context of "relationships" as all we ever actually "do" or think, then "love" is perfection.

The relationship of LOVE is the foundation for everything. And, of course, love is never one alone, it always requires two. I cannot be love without someone to love.

Would it not follow then that God needs us as much as we need him? Isn't that the perfect loving relationship? The more we explore love and give it, then the more we receive. The relationships between us humans is no different than our relationship with God. I don't like it when my kids fight, and am happy when the play well together, because it is a relationship of love.

It is not knowledge that we seek but love.
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Post by nandu » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2007-02-15 10:42, SteveC wrote:
Is Jesus on the cross a friend, a victim, an innocent, a God, a savior, our judge, a teacher, etc., and so on? He seems to occupy every possible role in society. Soldiers look for guidance the same as pacifists, the rich and the poor, etc. How is it that he is such a sponge for human relationships? Every relationship that we have he seems to have had. He was born with the animals but showered with gifts. He was as weak as a child but feared by kings. It is a story of the most absurd extremes, much like fantasy and science, which combined create science-fiction. Yet much of science-fiction becomes real. It is a story told before the technology made it true because dreams precede inventions.
This is true of every hero, Steve. You draw inspiration from Jesus because he was "fed to you along with your mother's milk" (to translate a Malayalam expression).
Your mythic need is fulfilled by the archetypal hero in the form of Jesus. I could say the same of Krishna.

A devotional poet of Kerala (a Muslim, incidentally!) wrote about Krishna:

Even though countless poets
have dipped their quill in you,
you still remain full!...


He was mentioning the thousands of poets, mystics and writers of India who have drawn inspiration from Krishna.

"I think, therefore I am" is the response of a consciousness who has not been fully integrated with the Brahman. I think the response of one who has attained perfect enlightenment, like the Buddha, would be simply "I am".
The relationship of LOVE is the foundation for everything. And, of course, love is never one alone, it always requires two. I cannot be love without someone to love.

Would it not follow then that God needs us as much as we need him? Isn't that the perfect loving relationship? The more we explore love and give it, then the more we receive. The relationships between us humans is no different than our relationship with God. I don't like it when my kids fight, and am happy when the play well together, because it is a relationship of love.

It is not knowledge that we seek but love.
This is your personal myth, Steve, and I believe, a very beautiful one. I can see how dear it is to you. It is such myths that give us courage to go forward.

This is what I meant earlier by saying that even the mythless have their myth, when you get down to the nitty-gritty.

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Post by Dionysus » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am


Within that context of "relationships" as all we ever actually "do" or think, then "love" is perfection.

The relationship of LOVE is the foundation for everything. And, of course, love is never one alone, it always requires two. I cannot be love without someone to love.
Steve, This is a nice thought. And yes, of course, in the realm of temporality we need the other. However, in eternity there is only the one.
Would it not follow then that God needs us as much as we need him? Isn't that the perfect loving relationship?
Ahh, the anthropomorphic god returns...

Peace,

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Post by A J » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I posted this passsage recently on Vissi's "She Said" thread on the Call to Adventure forum, but I think it speaks to the comments here about the rising influence of the feminine in our current mythologies:

Let us think about it. We women are building a motherland; each with her own plot of soil eked from a night of dreams, a day of work. We are spreading this soil in larger and larger circles, slowly, slowly. One day it will be a continuous land, a resurrected land come back from the dead. Munda de la Madre, psychic motherland, coexisting and coequal with all other worlds. This world is being made from our lives, our cries, our laughter, our bones. It is a world worth making, a world worth living in, a world in which there is a prevailing and decent wild sanity.

Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women who Run with Wolves
"...coexisting and coequal," is an important part of her message, I think. Another sign that the feminine element will be a major factor in any up and coming "resurrection of myth."

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Post by littlewing » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Your vision of Jesus... and so many others, as you point out, is indeed beautiful. That universal love is an important part of all the great teachers. In buddhism, it is called Boddhisatva: the enlightened who will do anything for your benefit. In the Tibetan version, Avalokishtara, meaning All Love, is the name and the identity of all the Buddhas that have ever been or will be.

Re: the role of women, I think our society has to reawaken what healthy feminine and healthy masculine looks like. Both sexes have strong societal negative identities. To gain a healthy myth that helps people grow, the weave of healthy masculine/feminine within the myth must be the teacher.

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Post by noman » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Evinnra wrote:
Wow, Bodhi! <IMG SRC="/forum/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif"> This last message of yours ought to be PUBLISHED for a much wider audience than our thirteen thousand or so JCF associates!
- Evinnra
I couldn’t agree more. Bodhi should be published. That’s why I have so much fun answering his posts – and run out of mental energy to address some of the other marvelous comments made by other associates.
"(it) is absolute rubbish ... The universe of Eastern mysticism is an illusion.... A physicist who (tries) to link it with his (or her) own work has abandoned physics."

- Stephen Hawking
Democritus (460 BCE – 370 BCE) came up with a theory eerily similar to modern atomic theory.
In order to explain the change around us from basic, unchangeable substance he argued that there are various basic elements which always existed but can be rearranged into many different forms. He argued that atoms only had several properties, particularly size, shape, and (perhaps) weight; all other properties that we attribute to matter, such as color and taste, are but the result of complex interactions between the atoms in our bodies and the atoms of the matter that we are examining.

Furthermore, he believed that the real properties of atoms determine the perceived properties of matter--for example, something that tastes sharp is made of small, pointy atoms, while something sweet is made of large, round atoms; the interactions of those atoms with the atoms of the tongue give the impression of taste. Some types of matter are particularly solid because their atoms have hooks to attach to each other; some are oily because they are made of very fine, small atoms which can easily slip past each other. In Democritus' own words, "By convention sweet, by convention bitter, by convention hot, by convention cold, by convention colour: but in reality atoms and void."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democritus ... d_the_void
Democritus was not a scientist. There were no scientists in his time. It is our projection onto the past of our scientific empirical method that makes us think of the Greeks as practicing science as we know it. There was no division between philosophy and theology. Democritus wrote a great deal on ethics. But I don’t see a great reverence for Democritus’ philosophy of ethics or epistemology as a result of his uncanny theories on natural philosophy – as though he possessed some great mystical wisdom that we can all learn from. (Although Hericlitus may receive honors from moderns for his mystical musings) Democritus just happened to come up with a theory that resonates with modern physics.

I understand the shock to the psyche of the Copenhagen Convention in 1926-27. Most people think Einstein’s Relativity was the shocker. But Relativity is both deterministic and comprehensible. Quantum theory as proposed by the Copenhagen Convention forced philosophers to come to terms with what this finding says about our existence. During this same decade Hubble showed the Universe to be many galaxies and not just our own and that the universe was expanding. In 1927 Bertrand Russell gave a famous lecture ‘Why I am not a Christian’. The newly formed Soviet Union had adopted a policy of no religion.

At the time some Westerners saw something in Eastern mysticism that they liked. But I think the fact that it was Eastern wasn’t nearly as important as the fact that it was mysticism. Einstein was charmed by a Western mystic:
In a letter in 1929 [Albert Einstein] spoke of himself as a ‘disciple’ of Spinoza, who looked upon all nature as God. When asked … if he believed in God, he … replied, ‘I believe in Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.’
In short, I don’t see modern physics supporting Eastern mysticism or Eastern mysticism supporting modern physics. I don’t think it would benefit the modern physicist quest in theoretical physics to spend seven years with a Tibetan guru practicing yoga, nor would it benefit the yogi to spend seven years studying theoretical physics. These disciplines are very different.

But not being a physicist or a yogi, I can appreciate both disciplines on their own terms, in the same way I can admire Einstein’s Theory and Picasso’s art and realize, that in some vague way, they are related, complimentary metaphors for the human experience.

And I’d like to add to Bodhi’s list of odes by Western scientists of Eastern mysticism by citing from a book written by a person at the top of her field in biotech:
P245 A bearded yogi dressed in white and wearing a turban showed up at my office one day to ask me if endorphins were concentrated along the spine in a way that corresponded to the Hindu chakras. The chakras, he explained, were centers of “subtle energy” that governed basic physical and metaphysical functions from sexuality to higher consciousness. I had no idea what he was talking about, but, trying to be helpful, I pulled out a diagram that depicted how there were two chins of nerve bundles located on either side of the spinal cord, each rich with many of the information-carrying peptides. He placed his own chakra map over my drawing and together we saw how the two systems overlapped.

- Molecules of Emotion, Candace B. Pert, Ph.D, (1997)
And from Carl Sagan:
"The Hindu religion is the only one of the world's great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond, to those of modern scientific cosmology. Its cycles run from our ordinary day and night to a day and night of Brahma, 8.64 billion years long. Longer than the age of the Earth or the Sun and about half the time since the Big Bang. And there are much longer time scales still."

" The most elegant and sublime of these is a representation of the creation of the universe at the beginning of each cosmic cycle, a motif known as the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva. The god, called in this manifestation Nataraja, the Dance King. In the upper right hand is a drum whose sound is the sound of creation. In the upper left hand is a tongue of flame, a reminder that the universe, now newly created, with billions of years from now will be utterly destroyed."

These profound and lovely images are, I like to imagine, a kind of premonition of modern astronomical ideas."

- Dr Carl Sagan, Cosmos, (1960)
It’s irresistible to find connections. And it serves to reinforce the first and second function of myth. However, nowhere in Western ‘hard sciences’ do I see a reinforcement of Buddhism’s four noble truths or eightfold path. Cosmology is not our problem.

What I’m more concerned about is convincing people that our current mythology, which appreciates science as myth, serves the third and fourth function of myth as well. All you have to do is read the newspapers to see where our values lie. We base our decisions on scientific studies. We do indeed, put our faith in science as SteveC claims. But to think that science is devoid of ethics, or has no spiritual component – that is ‘absolute rubbish’. That is adhering to a strict definition of the word ‘science’ as a discipline performed by a collection of robots without human emotions.

I ask you to consider what motivates scientists to treat diseases, predict natural disasters, preserve biodiversity, or warn us of the dangers of global warming? And the soft sciences; psychology, sociology, and economics are largely concerned with human welfare.

But for all the overwhelming good intentions and success of these endeavors science still has a reputation of indifference, of just method (littlewing), or of being down right evil (SteveC).
SCIENCE KILLS BABIES reads a bumper sticker. That’s like saying CHRISTIANITY KILLS ARABS or ISLAM KILLS AMERICANS.

It’s a flagrant misunderstanding and misrepresentation - and a failure to appreciate the myths we live by.

Here is an excerpt from a critique of Campbell by Robert Segal:
To rationalists, science makes myth both unnecessary and impossible for moderns, who by definition are scientific. To romantics, science runs askew to myth, which does not refer to the physical world and is therefore still acceptable to scientific moderns. Like Carl Jung, Campbell dares to pronounce science itself mythic. To rationalists, nothing could be more anathema.
http://www.religion-online.org/showarti ... ?title=766
To relate Segal’s scheme to our discussion:

1.) Rationalists – no myth, no way, no how – only science
2.) Romantics – science and myth occupy different aspects of life, incompatible but utilized nevertheless. Or science and myth are in the process of being synthesized; it’s just a matter of finding how they fit together.
3.) NoMan – science, has been, is, and should be, accepted as mythic, our faith is in progress and the frontier, of ‘boldly going where no humans have gone before.’

The misconception is that there is such thing as a strict rationalist. Anyone who claims to be a strict rationalist is sadly in denial of his or her own humanity, and desperately in need of Joseph Campbell’s wisdom.

- NoMan


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: noman on 2007-02-15 18:03 ]</font>
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Post by tat tvam asi » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

This is abrupt, but excellent post noman. I'm walking a fine line between science and mysticism. I'm of the Campbell school of thought that they do work together.

Science gives us an image of what the universe is actually like. This of course changes from decade to decade and is a constant work in progress.

Mysticism/Religion, need simply go past the images to transcendence, that steady immovable center. There is always a place for transcendence when observing the images of the universe.

So for this school of thought, they cease to conflict in the mind of the observer. One gets a sense of the infinite, while here among time observing the universe and acknowledging the beyond it, the eternity?

Nandu, this padre has had to part ways with organised religion. The symbols hold more weight to me than the literal surface storyline interpretations. The metaphors point towards transcendence, and show me my connection to the eternal. The literal interpretations have a tendency to use eternity as a 'carrot on a stick', that is far away in some distant past, or near future, but not here within you, in the now. For me, they are hiding the eternity that is here now, amoung the forms of time. So in my case, a parting of ways was required for me to find that immovable center of truth within.

tat tvam asi/the cosmos



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Post by Evinnra » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2007-02-15 18:01, noman wrote:

I couldn’t agree more. Bodhi should be published. That’s why I have so much fun answering his posts – and run out of mental energy to address some of the other marvellous comments made by other associates.


In short, I don’t see modern physics supporting Eastern mysticism or Eastern mysticism supporting modern physics. I don’t think it would benefit the modern physicist quest in theoretical physics to spend seven years with a Tibetan guru practicing yoga, nor would it benefit the yogi to spend seven years studying theoretical physics. These disciplines are very different.



We do indeed, put our faith in science as SteveC claims. But to think that science is devoid of ethics, or has no spiritual component – that is ‘absolute rubbish’. That is adhering to a strict definition of the word ‘science’ as a discipline performed by a collection of robots without human emotions.

I ask you to consider what motivates scientists to treat diseases, predict natural disasters, preserve biodiversity, or warn us of the dangers of global warming? And the soft sciences; psychology, sociology, and economics are largely concerned with human welfare.



NoMan,

As I gather from your message you didn’t quite understand Steve’s point when he so openly declared LOVE supreme.

On 2007-02-15 10:42, SteveC wrote:

Following in the vein we have been discussing, of what is observable reality, be it Gods or Quarks, inner or outer, the only "real" reality is relationships. The crucifixion, both as myth, history, politics, individualism, science, power, etc., brings everything together because "we are our relationships."


There are elements of truth in fiction, fact and myth, but "reality" is only ourselves. The "I think therefore I am" position is what separates us from one another because how we think determines our relationships.

What I am trying to say (and I think I am doing so poorly) is that in the "pecking order" of understanding, it is "relationships" that reigns supreme, not the arena. Studying cause and effect is the study of relationships, regardless of what realm (science, politics, economics, etc.) is being studied. As such, they are all our "relationship" with the world that we explore.



The relationship of LOVE is the foundation for everything. And, of course, love is never one alone, it always requires two. I cannot be love without someone to love.


It is not knowledge that we seek but love.
When you write: “I don’t see modern physics supporting Eastern mysticism or Eastern mysticism supporting modern physics” you declare that the importance of myth summarizing relationships of ‘love’ between perceivable causes and effects had alluded you. As I understand, Steve was referring to the relationships for example we people have with each other as ‘acting out the Myth’ embedded in our systems and since its relates our innate convictions of cause/effect relationships, it has a lot to say about how we create our scientific or theological ideas. Steve, has not yet once called science immoral in the sense he was understood by some associates. As I understand him he states that scientific enquiry – in theory at least - has not much to do with personal ethical standards - for it would be self-contradictory to allow personal bias interfering with objective observation, to which ability of objectivity science claims to adhere without failure - but he never said that scientists in general are immoral or unethical people.

It is my understanding that you are indeed aware of the ‘myth’ of objective perception performed and believed by some scientists to be nothing but self-delusion and I think quite a good number of associates would agree with you on this point – including Steve.

In fact I must agree with Steve’s assertion that reality is what matters in Science, Myth, Philosophy, Religion but Myth is the natural expression of the human psyche, as Myth puts into words a distilled account of cause/effect relationships, which we are effectively living by.

Evinnra


'A fish popped out of the water only to be recaptured again. It is as I, a slave to all yet free of everything.'
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Post by bodhibliss » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2007-02-15 10:42, SteveC wrote:

... Nandu's post about the other dimension and the Dali drawing is the one I think is the most rich.


...Is Jesus on the cross a friend, a victim, an innocent, a God, a savior, our judge, a teacher, etc., and so on? He seems to occupy every possible role in society. Soldiers look for guidance the same as pacifists, the rich and the poor, etc. How is it that he is such a sponge for human relationships? ... It is a story of the most absurd extremes, much like fantasy and science, which combined create science-fiction. Yet much of science-fiction becomes real.

...A such, it is the nature of ideas that one man's myth is another man's reality. Why? Because ultimately we choose what to believe. Indoctrination eventually wears off, and whatever we embrace, we choose it.

What I am trying to say (and I think I am doing so poorly) is that in the "pecking order" of understanding, it is "relationships" that reigns supreme, not the arena. Studying cause and effect is the study of relationships, regardless of what realm (science, politics, economices, etc.) is being studied. As such, they are all our "relationship" with the world that we explore.

...The relationship of LOVE is the foundation for everything. And, of course, love is never one alone, it always requires two. I cannot be love without someone to love.

Would it not follow then that God needs us as much as we need him? Isn't that the perfect loving relationship? The more we explore love and give it, then the more we receive. The relationships between us humans is no different than our relationship with God. ...
Sorry for the truncated excerpts, Steve - these excertps really stood out for me, though your whole post rocked!

Especially the part about relationships. In fact, symbols express not so much "facts" as relationships and associations.

I also wonder if the God one has is the God one creates - give God love, and God is love ... and where do so many today then get their harsh God?

Sorry this is hit and run - thanks for words to ponder!

I don't think you're saying it poorly at all ...

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Post by SteveC » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2007-02-15 22:52, Bodhi_Bliss wrote:

I also wonder if the God one has is the God one creates - give God love, and God is love ... and where do so many today then get their harsh God?
Nandu and others have often said that "God is what we create." While I agree to an extent, there is a lot of self-fulfilling prophesy in our observation of "cause and effect." However, I am saying that it is just the opposite. In our study of "relationships" we come to discover that God was always there (perhaps culturally adjusted, but at this point we are all aware of each others culture,) and that we simply did not perceive it.

In my own small way I have added to the fear, hate, anger and misery of the world. I am no different than all the "evil" cause and effect relationships that I observe. In discovering this about myself, I also discover other cause and effect relationships that I did not appreciate. As such, I did not create God. He was patiently waiting for me to acknowledge his presence, and to understand the "logic" of his cause and effect.

God gives us Love in the form of Mercy. Not pity, not justice, but simply an acceptance that the past is in the past. Nobody can change the past. Thus, in our study of "cause and effect" we are always studying the past to assign "cause" or blame or some such thing, and we are not quite intellectually engaged in the present. I sometimes describe this as talking "about" things rather than talking "to" people. People hear the "about" but not the "to." All literature and wisdom is by someone talking TO you, not "about" others. Everybody is expressing themselves (rightly or wrongly as they may come to judge themselves,) and so too does God. It is a paradox, for on the one hand God's message is subtle. As a merciless person I did not understand mercy. Yet, how subtle is the splendor of the beautiful universe we inhabit? It is kind of hard to miss.

We never left the Garden of Eden, we simply became blind to its existence.

However, I do not worship the garden, I worship the creator of the garden. For all the errors of American independence, that certainly seems to have been common knowledge at their time, as Jefferson wrote in the Declaration:

"the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them"

Of course, the seed of :separate and equal: came to be as nefarious as the plot to assemble weapons to attacks ones government. They made liberty for themselves but kept others in bondage. This was not the liberty that Jesus brings, though we have all been indoctrinated into the liberty of murderers. Jesus (re)brought the Liberty of Love.

However, there is another element of cause and effect, and that is the rejection of the past. We abandon our temporal learning and the temporal hypocrisy. The Book of Isaiah is about cause and effect. God warns us that we will pay for our sins many times over. I believe this is why people see God's punishing hand in many events. But I do not see it quite that way. We punish ourselves at our own hand; God doesn't do it. We were warned about the hot stove, but touch it anyway. We make victims of our children, and our children's children, by establishing a pattern of errors that must run its course before it eventually expires, just as we do within our own lives, just as the same happened to our parents. We are both the victim and the crime simultaneously.

And money is at the root of it all because we are all buyer and seller, cause and effect. I guess it is fitting that today the US Mint has released a dollar coin with the image of Washington on it. Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's. We are back at the beginning.

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Post by noman » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Great web site SteveC. I especially like this quote of you in this thread:
Would it not follow then that God needs us as much as we need him?

-SteveC
It feels good to be needed – especially when it doesn’t involve any type of monetary exchange.
NoMan wrote:
We do indeed, put our faith in science as SteveC claims. But to think that science is devoid of ethics, or has no spiritual component – thatis ‘absolute rubbish’. That is adhering to a strict definition of the word ‘science’ as a discipline performed by a collection of robots without human emotions.

But for all the overwhelming good intentions and success of these endeavors science still has a reputation of indifference, of just method (littlewing), or of being down right evil (SteveC).
NoMan


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Eva wrote:
As I gather from your message you didn’t quite understand Steve’s point when he so openly declared LOVE supreme.

SteveC, has not yet once called science immoral…

…[SteveC] never said that scientists in general are immoral or unethical people.

- Evinnra
I should quote people when I refer to them. My bad. It wasn’t my intention to label anyone. There’s no such think a pure anything - atheist, rationalist, Christian…whatever. We all have a collection of beliefs and I was focused on just one. SteveC and Littlewing were expressing a belief that I’m familiar with.

First of all, SteveC, Littlewing, and I agree that science is mythic. That may not seem like much in this company but I would say the idea of science, as myth is a hard sell to the general public. Robert Segal, who is at the top of his field in myth theory states, “Like Carl Jung, Campbell dares to pronounce science itself mythic.”

But BodhiBliss, who can express the idea forty-nine times better than I says:
…personally, on a feeling level, i conceive of science as a cult of seekers exploring mysteries of body, mind, and soul that transcend the senses and explain the universe and our place in it. Science has a priesthood that follows prescribed rituals, uses a "secret" language fully understood only by initiates who devote themselves to that discipline, employs arcane symbols (mathematical metaphors) to record the secrets they glean from their devotions, and name and describe their beliefs, breakthroughs, and scientific dogma through metaphor (red dwarfs and black holes in astronomy; the Big Bang, superstrings, and multiple dimensions in cosmology; lock-and-key mechanisms in biology, etc.)

(Just as an aside, both metaphors, the mathematical and the prose, are triggered by the same underlying event – both are inexact descriptions of the same mysterious process, a process at astronomical, cellular and quantum scales often impossible to directly observe or experience in the sensate world)

... and i see Science serving as a metaphor (myth) that conveys a sense of that which is transcendent of experienced reality.

-BodhiBliss
How Bodhi can use so many parentheses and still be perfectly lucid is beyond me. But that’s beside the point.

Here is what SteveC had to say about Science as Myth earlier in this thread:
SteveC wrote:
If "myth" is designed to make people more spiritual and practical, then the myth of science has made us blind, not wise.

The fact is that science and religion are equally "myths," though doublethink leads people to believe they are in conflict with one another.

Wisdom is never going to be found in science. The corruption in religion is because of the lack of religion and a misplaced faith in science.

Well, "science" isn't real, it is a myth so it can’t be responsible. Man is responsible.

We are the subjects of science not the masters of it. As we try to master it, we subject ourselves to more of its misery. That is what I mean by "science is responsible for our lack of wisdom and blindness." In particular, it is our faith in "marketplace theory" that makes us so miserable, and all of the corresponding rituals that go along with its myth.

- SteveC
This is how I arrived at the idea of SteveC saying that Science as myth is evil.
NoMan wrote:
But for all the overwhelming good intentions and success of these endeavors science still has a reputation of indifference, of just method (littlewing), or of being down right evil (SteveC).
- NoMan
Certainly only humans can be evil, not plants, animals, inanimate objects – or abstract ideas such as ‘Science’. But suffice it to say that SteveC believes that science is mythic, and that our ‘faith in science’ is not good, and leads to blindness, lack of wisdom, and misery.

Littlewing conveyed a similar charge in saying:
I too agree science is a method and not a dogma, Nandu. Yet I have found it so amusing that the most straight-line lay science student will extrapolate science as the savior of all our species’ problems. Out of this extraordinary belief in the power of a method came the accumulation of radioactive waste we are now burdened. Nuclear power plants were built in the clearheaded conviction that science would solve the waste problem! "Science will fix it" is the first answer most people offer when I ask how we can continue down our current consumptive path.
-Littlewing
Here again it is the ‘extraordinary belief’ in a method as a ‘savior of all our species problems’ – a false god so to speak that it is unwise to worship.
Evinnra wrote:
…scientific enquiry – in theory at least – does not have much to do with personal ethical standards …it would be self-contradictory to allow personal bias interfering with objective observation …science claims to adhere to objectivity without failure…
- Evinnra
This is very interesting to me and, I think, a major stumbling block in appreciating science as mythic.

When I say that science is mythic, I don’t mean that within the scientific method there are personal prejudices and lack of ethics that taint the results – though there certainly are. Science is mythic because the scientific method, even if employed in a hypothetically perfectly rational way, is employed as a result of completely irrational desires and fears. That is to say - science is based entirely on emotion.

Logic wins the chess game. But the logic used is preceded by the irrational emotion that prefers to play the game of chess rather than play cards or watch TV. Rational thought gets us from point A to point B. But it is preceded by an emotion, either desire or fear, to get from point A to point B. Reason is, and ought to be, the slave of passion. (A la David Hume)

And science, in the strict sense of the word, as a rational method, is and ought to be the slave of our desires and fears.

This is how I see science as mythic. One could accuse me of changing he meaning of the word ‘science’ to include those emotions that compel us to practice science. To this I would respond, “guilty as charged”.

Science as myth, by my expanded definition, ceases to be separate from and indifferent to human values.

This definition of science, if realized, would help to reconcile the divorce between the humanities and sciences that has dogged the West for the past two hundred fifty years or so – or at least put them back on speaking terms.

- NoMan
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