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 bodhibliss » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2007-01-28 19:42, nandu wrote:
Ms. Heller sees myth as dead, and needs to bury it. I disagree. I see myth as dormant, in need of resurrection. (In India myth is still somewhat alive-I'll get to it in a later post). So, as the torch-bearers of Joseph Campbell, how can we associates do our mite to raise Myth from the dead? (emphasis bodhi's)
This is a fascinating discussion, exploring the context provides - but i notice i haven't really addressed the original question - in fact, it's drifted off the radar screen

... so i thought i'd bring it back into focus:

How do we raise Myth from the dead?

Rather than analyze it, how do we revive it?

I understand where you're coming from, Nandu - but i'll need to let this simmer in the back of my brain a bit.

My initial impulse is to say we don't need to do anything - myth, like evolution, simply is. Each has a dynamic all its own, and really doesn't require a helping hand.

Of course, i don't believe myth is dead, nor dormant - just unrecognized.

But that's my initial impulse.

On the other hand, i do get the sense of your question - and would suggest the same approach we find in Campbell's Creative Mythology or Pathways to Bliss - we start by discovering - and consciously participating in - our own mythology.

And it takes a little detective work to determine what myth is active in one's life ...

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

On 2007-02-01 13:55, Bodhi_Bliss wrote:

However the limitation of the default perspective is that we tend to hold to it exclusively: "A is not not-A"; "bodhi is not a brick wall". But it's possible to embrace both perspectives at once - that driving into brick walls is not a good thing, but that on a deeper level I and a brick wall share the same essence.
Your analogy is valid, and brings up another point in my mind, which is that of suicide. Many deep thinkers opt for suicide for a way to escape their thoughts and emotions, and/or, perhaps as a way of expressing them. (Self-conflagulating Buddhists in Vietnam, for example.)

And underlying the deep thought of suicide is the Christian (actually all religions) idea of "losing ones life to find it." To become a slave to wisdom is in essense "the heroic journey." It is wisdom with feet.

Of course, this same Will also leads to suicide bombers, who embrace the possibility of a better world without recognizing the problem of self-inflicted violence; which is as problematical as other-inflicted violence. While accidents may happen (the wall at 70 miles an hour,) to maintain the balance between soft space and hard reality is difficult. Both eyes need to be open and the merciless mirror confronted, because how we understand and forgive others is how we understand and forgive ourselves. There is no room for or need for suicide. Like Neo in The Matrix, the wall isn't real, and it is possible to move right through it (even at 70 miles an hour, which is another false measurement,) bend time, etc. The miraculous is quite common, and is all around us, even in the subatomic of a grain of sand. Of course, it helps to see ourselves (without ego or dispair) as part of the miraculous, rather than in battle against it.

To the question of if miracles are myth or true, the answer is "both," but men will tend to focus on the wall and their speed rather than asking "what is their rush and where are they going?"

Isn't it a great irony that most scientific endeavor is spent disproving previous scientific discovery? The new discovery quickly becomes the old othodoxy which must be overthrown. The same would seem to be true of wisdom. Hegel's dialectic was nothing new, it was just restating the theory behind "checks and balances," and makes a virtue out of confrontation.

While nature softly unfolds the splendor of each season, man busies himself creating a false urgency. We did not choose the times of our life, but we do choose how we live it.
You can only see the height of a mountain from its valley.


The radical myth towards which the helix aspires is beyond the desire for money or power, yet which has greater returns than all the power and money in the world could not achieve.
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Post by SteveC » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I just watched a DVD with films by Maya Deren. In the Notes was this gem:

A ritual is characterized by the depersonalization of the individual. In some cases it is even marked by the use of masks and voluminous garments, so that the performer is virtually anonymous; and it is marked also by the participation of the community...As a homogeneous entity in which the inner patterns of the relationship between elements create, together, a larger movement of the body as a whole. The intent of such a depersonalization is not the destruction of the individual; on the contrary, it enlarges him beyond the personal dimension. -Maya Deren

(Of course, the danger is that the depersonalization takes over.)

then, in the extras feature there was a film about the Voudoun religion in Haiti, and some commentary by Joe Campbell. Joe met her shortly after completeing a Hero with a Thousand Faces and her first experience with Voudoun. In the film, I was struck by how similar Voudoun is to Christianity, in the sense of an all emcompassing philosophy of life, the cross as a symbol, etc. Joe said that he had never known anyone so filled with an alien experience as Maya, and one day told her to get out of it or it would drive her crazy.

So, what do we make of that? It is rather fascinating that Joe Campbell would say that to someone on a hero's journey. Was he afraid of hitting the wall?
You can only see the height of a mountain from its valley.


The radical myth towards which the helix aspires is beyond the desire for money or power, yet which has greater returns than all the power and money in the world could not achieve.
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Post by Evinnra » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

On 2007-02-02 10:41, SteveC wrote:

So, what do we make of that? It is rather fascinating that Joe Campbell would say that to someone on a hero's journey. Was he afraid of hitting the wall?
... or was he affraid of NOT hitting any walls?

As Bodhi writes, finding our own Myth is the most difficult thing to do - presumably because we have rather limited capacity to be 'objective' with our own self. But although I agree that Myth does not need to be resurrected since it never ever died, perhaps repeating the old Myths and Folk-tales would automatically give birth to the new Myth that would be in accordance with our 'new wisdom' in the new context.

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

Ok Bodhi, I agree with you... time to get back to the original question.

However, this diversion has been pleasant; the type that makes conversations richer. Maybe because the participants were genuinely trying to get to grips with what myth meant for them, a necessary precondition for resurrecting it (or rediscovering it, if it's not dead as Ms.Heller claims).

(Steve and Bodhi, I'd like to discuss the car and the brick wall with you in detail. Maybe one of us can start another thread.)

Two perceptive comments remain in my mind from the start of the thread. One was by Steve, about how the religious ritual loses all meaning when repeated mechanically: the other by NoMan, about a secular activity which has taken on the dimensions of a religious ritual. Two sides of the same coin, as it were.

I was very much anti-ritual in my brash young days; I used to argue that for people to worship God, no ritual was necessary. Then I lost faith in the guy "up there" called God, so I considered all rituals totally silly. I dreamed of a future when the concept God would be totally dead and people would live extremely rational lives...

...it doesn't quite work out that way, you know. People require some kind of spirituality to live; they require belief in something. Basically, they require myth, even if they call it by some other name.

Rituals are the doorway to myth. In fact in his two volume The Greek Myths Robert Graves argues that the rituals are myth. He believes myths to have originated from the rituals carried out by the Greeks: the sacrifice of the God-king being the basic myth. I think he has been influenced by J.G.Frazer and his Golden Bough.

But then the question pops up: how did the rituals originate? Some inner craving must have driven these men to perform such elaborate rituals, most of the times involving even human sacrifice. And research shows that some such customs were present in all human societies. So maybe it so happened that the symbols came first, all the way from the collective unconscious...?

...Which brings us to Jung, and the journey of individuation. For Jung and his associates, all of mankind's symbols (religious, secular, political) rose from the collective unconscious: which resembled a sea, from which all our individual consciousnesses originate. Not very different from many religious theologies.

I believe Joe Campbell's work provides a bridge between the scientific precision of Jung and the phantasmagoric imagery of myth. And I believe that we approach it through the ritual.

I'll be back with more thoughts later, but in the meantime, continue contributing, everybody!

Nandu.

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

This is a sweet conversation - lots of food for thought.

The definition Steve offers for ritual from the Maya Deren film certainly strikes a chord. There's a lot more to the dynamic between Maya Deren & Joseph Campbell (i'm continually amazed at JC's ever eclectic circle of friends - Maya Deren, Martha Graham, John Cage, etc.) that i'll come back to when i have more time, but that's a valid question:

Is Campbell cautioning Deren against going all the way on her hero's journey?

But that's going to take a little longer to formulate (and i'm up against a Practical Campbell deadline), so i'll focus on what's already bubbling to the surface, triggered by a remark of Nandu's:
On 2007-02-03 10:50, nandu wrote:

People require some kind of spirituality to live; they require belief in something. Basically, they require myth, even if they call it by some other name.

Rituals are the doorway to myth. In fact in his two volume The Greek Myths Robert Graves argues that the rituals are myth ...

But then the question pops up: how did the rituals originate? Some inner craving must have driven these men to perform such elaborate rituals ...
Before we get to human sacrifice, let's deal with that inner craving. Campbell, in Primitive Mythology, draws on Huizenga's classic Homo Ludens ("Man the Player") to suggest that ritual begins in play.

Following an example borrowed from Frobenius (the small child playing with spent matches who reacts to the "witch" - the burnt match - as if it were real), Campbell expands on the thought:
This vivid, convincing example of a child's seizure by a witch in the act of play may be taken to represent an intense degree of the daemonic mythological experience. However, the attitude of mind represented by the game itself, before the seizure supervened, also belongs within the sphere of our subject. For, as J. Huizenga has pointed out in his brilliant study of the play element in culture, the whole point, at the beginning, is the fun of play, not the rapture of seizure. "In all the wild imaginings of mythology a fanciful spirit is playing," he writes, "on the borderline between jest and earnest." "As far as I know, ethnologists and anthropologists concur in the opinion that the mental attitude in which the great religious feasts of savages are celebrated and witnessed is not complete illusion. There is an underlying consciousness of things 'not being real.'" And he quotes, among others, R.R. Marett, who, in his chapter on "Primitive Credulity" in The Threshold of Religion, develops the idea that a certain element of "make-believe" is operative in all primitive religions. "The savage," wrote Marett, "is a good actor who can be quite absorbed in his role, like a child at play; and also, like a child, a good spectator who can be frightened to death by the roaring of something he knows perfectly well to be no 'real' lion.'

"By considering the whole sphere of so-called primitive culture as a play-sphere," Huizenga then suggests in conclusion, "we pave the way to a more direct and more general understanding of its peculiarities than any meticulous psychological or sociological analysis would allow." And I would concur wholeheartedly with this judgment, only adding that we should extend the consideration to the entire field of our present subject.

Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God, Vol. I: Primitive Mythology, p. 23
Campbell then applies the concept in a discussion of the Roman Catholic Mass.

So is ritual just a form of play?

Even child's play?

In the presentation that inaugurated the Eranos Round Tables in 1933, Heinrich Zimmer describes a sweet, fascinating ritual - the veneration of Jamburi - a children's ritual among the Bengali. No adults have ever been involved in this ritual: "Adults are not permitted to be present; they do not even know when the children perform the rite, for this observance, like all others of its type, may have no nonparticipating spectators."

It's passed down among children, with those older initiating those younger. Participation in the ritual starts at age 5 or 6, and runs until age 10 or 11, and takes place during the coldest month of the year:
Secretly the children rise in the early morning hours, while it is still dark, before any animal is afoot or any bird has begun to sing. Each night they mold a fresh little figure of Jamburi, scarcely the size of a hand, from earth, the same earth in which they roll and play in the daytime. Every morning, when the rite is over, the figure is thrown away ... The little figure has neither arms nor legs; eyes and mouth are barely suggested. Around it the children form a pond, retained by an earth dike. Here the figure sits and the children bring it water, flowers, and holy grass. Meanwhile, they recite such lines as: "I bring thee water before the crow has drunk of it; I bring thee flowers before the bee has sucked them." At the same time, the story of Jamburi is told. The import of the observance is as follows: Jamburi has no feet and no hands, she has no proper mouth and no proper eyes, and yet she can accomplish and realize all things - for she has a will. And that is what we must learn from her.

Each day the rites become more intense; the inner process they are intended to provoke runs through the seven stages of the Yoga exercise, which is associated with the image of a god: from the contemplation of the material image to the substitution of its inner likeness, the contemplation of which no longer requires any outward contact; then from an inner contemplation of this image in which contemplator and image exist separately to a union of the two (samadhi), whereby the image is fulfilled in the devotee, who fuses with it and becomes one with it.


Zimmer describes how the child devotee follows this yogic process over the course of five years, until "the silent, rigid instructress, the little clod of earth, gives some part of her essence to the devoted pupil." He claims this observance teaches the one lesson every human must learn - to bear the inevitable:
The outcome of this ascending process is that Jamburi's little pupil assimilates what she can give him, that is, her essence. It becomes reality within him: his new reality, into which he has been transformed. Her essence has flowed into him and become his essential nature.


That's the power of a symbol to shape a life. But whence the origin of this mythic image - where does the symbol come from?
This would hardly be possible unless it were already in him in germ, one of the innumerable potentialities of his half-formed, but always formable and form-seeking, vital force, the shakti in him, for just as that infinite force, the shakti of the universal God, unfolds and permeates the macrocosm, his shakti governs the little world of his body, striving to assume manifold and forever renewed form.
Spins my brain! But then Zimmer uses this to launch into a discussion of how Yoga works:

As in the image of Jamburi, a little image serves as the center of the rite of offering and worship. But, at the same time, it serves to introduce the inner contemplation which little by little sates itself with the outward, sensory manifestation, until it is able to dispense with the concrete image. Then the outward cult ... is discontinued.
Between Campbell locating the origin or ritual in play, and the description of the above rite (unmediated by adults), much to ponder...

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

Initially I agreed with the idea that myth is dead. I look at the direction that leaders are headed. I look at the low value given to the process of self discovery or self tranformation. I look at the seeming thoughtless action most people, myself included, engage in on a daily basis. It all seems far removed from the power that myth provides. The question is though, is this any different than the position that myth held in other times and cultures? Probably not. Mostly, people were caught up in their daily lives, living vicariously through tribal heros or leaders, whether shaman or football star or Paris, or Paris Hilton. There were a few who used myth to transform themselves, and then those around them and their society. But, the society didn't always accept the insight, and would refuse the possibilities that myth offered, through the isolation or death of the the transformed one, or astute leaders would take the form of the transformation and use it to their advantage.

So, is myth dead? Only if it is dead in us, same as always. It has always been an individual process.
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Post by SteveC » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

It just struck me how similar "Resurrect the Myth" is to the whole concept of "resurrection" and the idea of being on a hero's journey is akin to being "born again" which is what resurrection means. As such, if we ourselves are the myth of our own world, then to resurrect the myth is to ressurect ourselves.

The best contemporary example that I know of someone who actually lived a hero's journey to the fullest is the Peace Pilgrim, but undoubtedly the world has seem many similar missionaries and sojourners.

http://www.peacepilgrim.net/

Some people have definitely discovered that the wall is not real.
You can only see the height of a mountain from its valley.


The radical myth towards which the helix aspires is beyond the desire for money or power, yet which has greater returns than all the power and money in the world could not achieve.
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Post by Benyboy » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Those that dont know any better get to choose.
Everone else begs , borrows and , steals.

I choose not to choose.
(mystical nature of Sacrafice)

Following my bliss (to get a way from it all),
landed me right in the place we all are.

It's all good!

__We are apt to forget the mystical, supernatural touch of God. If you can tell where you got the call of God and all about it, I question whether you have ever had a call. The call of God does not come like that, it is much more supernatural. The realization of it in a man's life may come with a sudden thunder-clap or with a gradual dawning, but in whatever way it comes, it comes with the undercurrent of the supernatural, something that cannot be put into words, it is always accompanied with a glow. At any moment there may break the sudden consciousness of this incalculable, supernatural, surprising call that has taken hold of your life - "I have chosen you."

If you have been obliterating the great super natural call of God in your life, take a review of your circumstances and see where God has not been first, but your ideas of service, or your temperamental abilities.

If a man or woman is called of God, it does not matter how untoward circumstances are, every force that has been at work will tell for God's purpose in the end. If you agree with God's purpose He will bring not only your conscious life, but all the deeper regions of your life which you cannot get at, into harmony.


"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith the resurection hath made us free." Galatians 5:1.1

A spiritually minded man will never come to you with the demand - "Believe this and that;" but with the demand that you square your life with the standards of (incarnate diety). We are not asked to believe the Rig Veda, but to believe the Ones Whom the Qabala reveals. . We are called to present liberty of conscience, not liberty of view. If we are free with the liberty of Indra, others will be brought into that same liberty - the liberty of realizing the ecstacy of enlightenment.

Always keep your life measured by the standards of Jesus. Bow your neck to His yoke alone, and to no other yoke whatever; and be careful to see that you never bind a yoke on others that is not placed by Jesus Christ. It takes God a long time to get us out of the way of thinking that unless everyone sees as we do, they must be wrong. That is never God's view. There is only one liberty, the liberty of Jesus at work in our conscience enabling us to do what is right.

Don't get impatient, remember how God dealt with you - with patience and with gentleness; but never water down the truth of God. Let it have its way and never apologize for it. Jesus said, "Go and make disciples," not "make converts to your opinions."
Have you been "out" in this way? If so, there is no logical statement possible when anyone asks you what you are doing. One of the difficulties in Christian work is this question - "What do you expect to do?" You do not know what you are going to do; the only thing you know is that God knows what He is doing. Continually revise your attitude towards God and see if it is a going out of everything, trusting in God entirely. It is this attitude that keeps you in perpetual wonder - you do not know what God is going to do next. Each morning you wake it is to be a "going out," building in confidence on God. "Take no thought for your life, . . . nor yet for your body" - take no thought for the things for which you did take thought before you "went out."

Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you Who He is. Do you believe in a miracle-working God, and will you go out in surrender to Him until you are not surprised an atom at anything He does?

Suppose God is the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him - what an impertinence worry is! Let the attitude of the life be a continual "going out" in dependence upon God, and your life will have an ineffable charm about it which is a satisfaction to Jesus. You have to learn to go out of convictions, out of creeds, out of experiences, until so far as your faith is concerned, there is nothing between yourself and God.
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Post by bodhibliss » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Nrabek has a point - the ancients didn't divide the world into separate areas of study - history, geology, science, myth - even Thucydides, generally regarded as the first historian, didn't grasp the concept of "history" per se - he was more a journalist, sharing stories from his travels of other places.

Similarly mythology wasn't necessarily viewed as either religion or a category of literature, but simply as the context of "what is" - what we today would call "reality."

However, while i appreciate the passion in Benyboy's remarks, i have trouble connecting this to the theme. "Square yourself with the standards of Jesus" is theological instruction rather than mythology - and draws one not so much back to the magic and majesty of the myth, but into wrangling and interpretation as to what those standards are

... and just as capturing, categorizing, and dissecting a butterfly may increase our knowledge but leaves the butterfly a corpse, so sometimes theological instruction tends to suck the life right out of myth.

And then, while such instruction does speak to those who subscribe to the Christian myth, it doesn't address those who stand outside that revelation - in fact, it suggests all must embrace the Christian myth, which tends to miss the point of Joseph Campbell's work.

Earlier in the conversation SteveC. discussed the power of the Eucharist in his life and in his church - speaking of his direct experience of the ritual and the myth - but he wasn't suggesting that's the only experience possible, or the only way for the rest of us to partake of myth.

It's true that many who aren't Christian sometimes tend to discount the practice - but Christianity remains a living myth active and powerful in the lives of many believers. Steve's & Benyboy's posts remind us of that truth.

But stepping back to examine the larger pattern, Steve's experience of the Eucharist dovetails nicely with Nandu's assertion that "rituals are the doorway to myth." Indeed, communion provides a powerful entry into the essence of Christianity - the necessary sacrifice of Jesus who, as Christ, suffers for us all, feeds us all, saves us all, and is in us all (forgive my inadequate thumbnail summary).

It's all too easy to think the rituals i participate in are the rituals everyone should participate in. That's certainly a charge that has been lodged against the Christian establishment, but can also be true of non-Christians who automaatically discount the efficacy of Christian ritual while elevating that of shamanistic, eastern, or other pagan traditions.

Campbell has trouble with Christianity's emphasis on the unique and exclusive nature of their myth (our version of the dead-and-resurrected savior god is superior to all the other versions that have come before and after), but he does not discount the transformative power of participation in this myth, particularly its central ritual.

(And Noman, i believed, alluded earlier to the Pentecostal explosion - particularly in Third World countries, where orthodox Christianity bangs up against animistic and shamanic traditions that stretch back over millennia - definitely a sense of participation mystique, in the sense Campbell uses the term, in those services).

"Resurrecting the Myth" is not about (at least not consciously) the "Resurrection Myth" - though, as SteveC. points out, there are clear parallels - parallels that Campbell emphasizes in his classic The Hero with a Thousand faces. However, there is often among some a tendency to assume there's only one "valid" resurrection myth (which strikes me as the orientation of Benyboy's post, though i may be misreading it).

However, Campbell points to this theme in multiple cultures, performed by a variety of deities, across centuries (Inanna in ancient Sumer, Osiris in Egypt, as just two of many well-known esamples in the Mediterranean nexus out of which Christianity emerged).
SteveC. writes

It just struck me how similar "Resurrect the Myth" is to the whole concept of "resurrection" and the idea of being on a hero's journey is akin to being "born again" which is what resurrection means. As such, if we ourselves are the myth of our own world, then to resurrect the myth is to ressurect ourselves.


That's worth repeating - "if we ourselves are the myth of our own world, then to resurrect the myth is to resurrect ourselves."

If the Hero has a thousand faces, wouldn't one of those faces be mine?

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

While we are on the resurrection myth, let me recount the tale of a Hero who has actually been resurrected...

Well, he is an Asura (Demon). He is also regarded as a legendary king who ruled Kerala.

In Hindu myth, Bali ("The Strong One") or Maha Bali ("The Immensely Strong One") was the demon king who succeeded in vanquishing Indra and all the celestials, and took over heaven. Vishnu, knowing that he could not be defeated through force, decided to use a stratagem. Taking the guise of a dimunitive Brahmin (Vamana - his fifth incarnation), went as a mendicant to the court of Bali. When the king asked the Brahmin boy what he wanted as an offering, Vamana demanded the space of land he could cover with three paces. The Asura King laughingly agreed: only to be thunderstruck when the boy grew to monster size, and covered the earth and netherworld in one step, and the heavens with the other! Then he asked the king: "Where do I put my third step?" Defeated but not down, Bali proudly removed his crown and said: "On my head!" Vishnu, pleased with the Asura's character and honesty, let him go free but asked him to repatriate heaven back to Indra.

This is as far as the myth goes... but it goes further in Kerala. Here, he is a legendary and just king of Kerala, whose reign was a golden age (he is known as "Maveli"). In the Kerala version, Vishnu places his foot on Mahabali's head, and pushes him down into the netherworld forever. Maveli begs Vishnu to allow him to visit his people once every year; Vishnu agrees.

This is Onam, our state festival. During the week, even the poorest of poor make merry like they were having the best of life, for Maveli is visiting: and we can't have him thinking his people are in penury - can we?

Notice anything familiar in the myth?

We celebrate Onam by having floral decorations in front of our house every morning. On Onam day, a pyramidical shape made out of new earth - called Onathappan ("Father Onam") - is worshipped. Every house makes a sumptuous feast.

Now I am in the United Arab Emirates, and all Keralites here, regardless of caste, creed or colour celebrate Onam in this Arab nation. It is the essence of what makes one a Keralite. In Kerala, almost all offices and schools (even Churches!) have started contests for creating the Pookkalam, or floral decoration. And best of all, you can see the pot bellied Asura King in traditional Kerala dress in many shopping malls in Kerala - something that he has obviously borrowed from Santa Claus!

Mahabali has been resurrected beyond his wildest dreams, it seems.

Nandu.
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Post by Transtar » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

One of the reasons I think that the Christianity myth is dead for many people is that the people who are supposed to carry this myth (the church) have broken away from the fundamental ideas of the myth. However, with the explosion of so many "alternative" religions, the need for myth is definatly not dead. I believe that the resurrection of the myth is taking place now, however it is not a universal myth, but more of a personal myth, where people are finding the myths that fit best with their own personal beliefs. However, I think that we still have a long way to go before people realize that it doesn't matter which myth you follow, but they all say the same thing. Thats just my ideas about the situation.
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Post by Dionysus » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

No-man, Thanks for the inspiration to write this.

My own personal journey has been one of Christian - Marxist - Atheist - Anarchist - Taoist - Quasi-Buddhist - Mythologist. Self-taught since the mind rape of public education. I totally believe in the living presence and value of mythology in my life. My progression demonstrates this. I do believe that mythology is dead in the West and has been replaced by a faith in history (or science for the secularists).


"In 1999 sociologist Peter L. Berger edited a book titled The Desecularization of the World In it he claims that, with the exception of Europe, we are becoming less secularized – more religious; and that religion is playing a greater role in our professed secular governments."

Which is precisely the problem. Christians and Moslems subconciously realize that their myths are dead, thus we see politics (and power) replacing the true teaching of their saviors. In the West (and especially in the U.S.A.) we are witnessing the rise of Christian fascism and in tne Mid-East the Moslems too realize that their faith is being threatened by science and the consumerist adulation of the West and thus we have the mess we find ourselves in. (This is probably an over-simplification) Both of these "outward-facing" religions are in crisis and we are all paying for their death throes.

". . .I understand what you mean by Myth being dead in the West. It is dead for secularists. But for those of us who know better a new mythology is emerging;"

It is eternal. It is now. It is alive. Tat tvam asi. Love, compassion. Participate joyfully in the sorrow of the world.

"I don’t believe there can be, as Heller suggests, an absence of myth."

I agree.

"By analogy, I think what’s true for the individual is also true for the culture."

Ah, but necessarily true for the civilization - and that is the problem.

"Those secularists that would deny myth are making the same error as Moyer’s hypothetical member of the audience who denies myth on a personal level."

I agree. How alone they must be. And angry about it too. Again, the problem is that they are looking outside and not find the internal correlation.

"So to answer your final question, I would say our mission is to encourage people to think mythically, rather than in the way of machine-like automatrons. If we’re successful, they’ll realize that myth is not dead or dormant at all, but a vital force in their lives. As Campbell would say through the words of Bill Moyers, ‘a song we dance to even when we can’t name the tune.’"

Yes. Yes. Yes! We must reach out and communicate with our friends, lovers, hair-stylists and everyone who we come into contact with.

All things (and people) are manifeatations of the ineffable.

Bruce.

_________________


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dionysus on 2007-02-06 08:55 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dionysus on 2007-02-06 09:02 ]</font>
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Post by Dionysus » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Hello Steve. Let me begin by saying that I respect Catholicism because I see that its iconography still lives for people. And that has value. My ultimate feeing about relion-based faith is "whatever gets you through the night."


"I look at it similarly. In fact, I often say "Save Jesus" because he is still on the cross, and will remain there as long as we continue to sin against one another.


ergo, my sins are just as much a problem as yours as is everyone elses. Therefore, before we can save Jesus, we first need to save ourselves and one another."

This seems to be a reaction to the reality of existance in temporality. Life is a savage, horrible, sublime, joyous thing. We are not in need of salvation. Life is perfect the way it is. You are not guilty. You are in no need of salvation. You are perfect the way you are.

"Yet, all Jesus asks for is mercy. We have created systems upon systems of justice, and only a few of mercy. When everyone and everything is merciful, then Jesus will be saved."

Live your compassion. Yours is truly an interesting take on Christianity. This is truly a creative mythology you have developed and it gives you what is necessary to support your belief system. Blessed be.


"This, in part, is why I am against the idea of the apocolypse as a negative event. The beginning of utopia is the end of the world."

Now, that is scary. We all suffer our own personal armagedden. Utiopia is here and now.

"So, you see, I do embrace myth in a cosmic sense, but I think people are often stumbling over the rituals. Just as God said he no longer wanted burnt sacrifices to himself, the bar gets higher as man advances in years. What he demands is mercy, and what we give is what we shall receive."

I really can't get behind this anthropomorphism. Listen to your heart. You don't need to couch your belief in "he said - she said." Reach out because it is what YOU really must do. That's truly good enough.


"It is conflict that is the real "myth" because it is based on a lie. Whereas the "myth" of utopia is real"

I don't understand this last statement. Instruct me. It strikes me aagain as denial of the world. Whereas I think I remember it said in one of those books, "he so loved the world . . ."

Look at Campbell's essay "The Emergence of Mankind" part 2, in "Myths to Live By" and really evaluate. Then slay those cherubim.

Peace,

Bruce,

_________________


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

On 2007-02-06 09:32, Dionysus wrote:

Steve wrote: "It is conflict that is the real "myth" because it is based on a lie. Whereas the "myth" of utopia is real"

I don't understand this last statement. Instruct me. It strikes me aagain as denial of the world. Whereas I think I remember it said in one of those books, "he so loved the world . . ."

Look at Campbell's essay "The Emergence of Mankind" part 2, in "Myths to Live By" and really evaluate. Then slay those cherubim.

Peace,

Bruce,
Which world is "real," the world where we are in conflict with one another, or the world where we are all one with one another?

I suspect that the world "myth" is being used in two different ways. One as "falsehood" and the other with ritual, sacrificial and spiritual connotations. In both cases, it involves "self" and "other," which is why the issues of true and falsehood are related.

All we are really discussing is the mirror, and the different things we have each discovered therein. Hence the thousand faces, and we are all one of them equally, but it is always easier to observe ourselves in others we like than in others we dislike.

"A great nation is like a great man: When he makes a mistake, he realizes it. Having realized it, he admits it. Having admitted it, he corrects it. He considers those who point out his faults as his most benevolent teachers. He thinks of his enemy as the shadow that he himself casts." - Lao-Tzu

Conflict does not sprout out of the Earth spontaneously; we create it. Just as we can fail to understand ourselves, we can fail to understand one another. Two sides of the same coin, but we are the metal (or clay.)


(I will check out your reference when I have a minute.)

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