Mythology and Religion: In The News

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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Clemsy
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Post by Clemsy » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:01 pm

In my opinion a person who has lived a full life has bumped into "God" several times, and is no longer trapped in this depressing intellectual prison.
No need to feel depressed about a fictional character, Ron! Pratchett uses them to make a point, a point, perhaps, supporting your above statement. I do agree with you, and especially the quotation marks you put around "god."

I recall watching Carl Sagan on Cosmos, and boy did he look like someone who bumped into "god" in his work!

:-)
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Post by Roncooper » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:07 pm

I remember reading that one of the practical benefits of Buddhist training was that it help the person break free of societies programming. For me these quotes represented that programming.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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Post by romansh » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:15 pm

Roncooper wrote:I remember reading that one of the practical benefits of Buddhist training was that it help the person break free of societies programming. For me these quotes represented that programming.
I think we will swap one kind of programming for another.

I think the trick is to recognize the programming and find one that matches reality, recognizing it is only an approximation.

This is at heart of our discordance on the free will thread.
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Post by Clemsy » Sat Feb 27, 2016 10:24 pm

"Programming" is such a cold, mechanistic word. Certainly we are limited by the context within which we play out the story of our lives. However, we are given the opportunity, now and again, to break free of the known world, as it were, and launch ourselves into an unknown one.

That becomes the known world, and eventually needs to be left behind for the next.

This is the essence of the Hero's Journey.
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Post by JamesN. » Sun Feb 28, 2016 1:48 am

Clemsy; I came across this quote of yours in the "Story" thread which may be another way of stating some of your earlier points below:

Clemsy:
But I think I know what Lao Tzu means when he says that the Tao that can be named is not the Eternal Tao. If transcendent indeed means beyond all categories of thought than what can be said of a transcendent experience? It is enough to leave it alone.

Earlier in this discussion you stated:

To a Buddhist, who is enlightened? No one.


Quote:
There is no reincarnating hero-monad to be saved, released or found. All life is sorrowful, and yet there is no self, no being, no entity in sorrow. ..."A man should believe neither in the idea of a thing nor in the idea of a no-thing." ~Joseph Campbell, Oriental Mythology


While there is an intersection of Western Humanism and Eastern Buddhism, I think there is a problem with equating the two in this manner. The Western mindset is rather compulsive about dualistic thinking. The Buddhist considers that the root of sorrow.

This reminds me of a famous Zen saying that goes:
"When you see Buddha coming down the road; (kill him).
Now the point here if I understand correctly is not about killing anything but the removal of your own preconceptions and restrictions of consciousness concerning concretizing an image or framing any notion of "what cannot be described"; ( like say with "the flower" for instance mentioned earlier). Or as was stated earlier: "Beyond all categories of thought".

And I think what you were talking about how people in the west being compulsive concerning "dualistic" framing of their concept of reality exactly hits the nail right on the head; because really when you think about it; dualism is what so much of the logic of western culture is completely immersed in from top to bottom; (religion, morals, ethics; right & wrong and so on as just one example). And Joseph furthers this idea when he points out how the emphasis is based around the notion of the "individual" instead of one being subservient to their place within the social order as in the east is yet another.


I remember Joseph saying on more than one occasion that "the mind can't play or participate unless it is able to utilize some type of symbol or device to make sense of reality"; (or something to that extent). I was watching an interview video of Joseph earlier today based on his last book: "The Inner Reaches of Outer Space"; where he mentions that it is the job of science to penetrate these great mysteries of existence and of what is beyond the categories of thought to render an understanding of what this reality actually is in some sort of an accessible way. And his point as I understood it was to go beyond the science of 2000BC with respect to the science of 2000AD to fill at least part of the roll of that aspect of religion is suppose to serve. And as he has stated on many other occasions as he saw it: "that there is no conflict between religion and science" if seen from that perspective. (Although I have no text to draw the actual quotes from; that in fine is what I remember and drew from the interview.)



______________________________________________________________________


(Addendum: Along with this I do however want to add one comment to Clemsy's last post.):

Clemsy:
Certainly we are limited by the context within which we play out the story of our lives. However, we are given the opportunity, now and again, to break free of the known world, as it were, and launch ourselves into an unknown one.

That becomes the known world, and eventually needs to be left behind for the next.

This is the essence of the Hero's Journey.

I think more than ever this point is in many ways is one of the central issues that religion is called upon to address in today's ever increasing fast rate of social change. So many ideas of the older social orders are not meeting the needs of people to explain their world to them and so they are called upon to break past these barriers once considered to be safe harbors of refuge. And indeed as you point out "The Call to Adventure of The Quest of the Hero's Journey" is in many ways their answer to go forth and break free of that context to create a new one for themselves in the shaping of their lives.


Great point you make Clemsy :idea:


At any rate perhaps this may not be the best description to illustrate all these ideas; but it's the best I can offer up at the moment. :)
Last edited by JamesN. on Sun Feb 28, 2016 6:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by lancimouspitt » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:20 am

Clemsy wrote:Well, thank goodness not all bacteria are bad. lol

In Hogfather, by Terry Pratchett, Death has to save the Hogfather (Discworld's equivalent of Santa Clause). There are some interesting quotes from that story. Here's a couple good ones:
“All right," said Susan. "I'm not stupid. You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

"So we can believe the big ones?"

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

"They're not the same at all!"

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET—Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

"Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what's the point—"

MY POINT EXACTLY.”
Death speaks in all caps. lol.

Here's another. My favorite:
“WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED IF YOU HADN'T SAVED HIM?

"Yes! The sun would have risen just the same, yes?"

NO

"Oh, come on. You can't expect me to believe that. It's an astronomical fact."

THE SUN WOULD NOT HAVE RISEN.

"Really? Then what would have happened, pray?"

A MERE BALL OF FLAMING GAS WOULD HAVE ILLUMINATED THE WORLD.”
I love these quotes Clemsy!

"AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED."

I may not have all this down by memory the way it should be written, but it reminds me of Jung in the Red Book talking to Philemon.
When he ask about learning magic Philemon tells him you can't teach magic because it's a "negative of knowledge."
Jung tells him this is nonsense and he's an old fool.
Philemon then ask him what knowledge is?
an attempt to impose something comprehensible into the universe. The only problem is to attempt this task is a bit of folly, because the universe isn't something to comprehend,etc,etc,etc.
It makes me feel as if this chaotic, whirlpool of vast space really is magic in some since. Not abra cadabra magic,but magic as in there is something to all this we'll never fully get.
There are a lot of valid counter arguments to be made, but I think on the day to day hassles of living we call all identify a little with Job, or moses when god said, "I am the great I am."

I guess the best one could do against god in that situation would be to hold a mirror up to that creature and declare, "Thou art that."
A ship is safe in harbor,but that's not why a ship is built.
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Post by JamesN. » Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:13 am

I love these quotes Clemsy!

"AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED."

I may not have all this down by memory the way it should be written, but it reminds me of Jung in the Red Book talking to Philemon.
When he ask about learning magic Philemon tells him you can't teach magic because it's a "negative of knowledge."
Jung tells him this is nonsense and he's an old fool.
Philemon then ask him what knowledge is?
an attempt to impose something comprehensible into the universe. The only problem is to attempt this task is a bit of folly, because the universe isn't something to comprehend,etc,etc,etc.
It makes me feel as if this chaotic, whirlpool of vast space really is magic in some since. Not abra cadabra magic,but magic as in there is something to all this we'll never fully get.
There are a lot of valid counter arguments to be made, but I think on the day to day hassles of living we call all identify a little with Job, or moses when god said, "I am the great I am."

I guess the best one could do against god in that situation would be to hold a mirror up to that creature and declare, "Thou art that."

Hey Lancimouspitt; welcome back. Nice Jungian references to add to the mix. 8)

I'll check back later after Clemsy has had a chance to respond.

Cheers
:)
Last edited by JamesN. on Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:45 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Post by Roncooper » Sun Feb 28, 2016 4:48 pm

Iancimouspitt,

I would like to respond to your comments from the perspective of Jung's functions of the psyche, of which I am obsessed.

It isn't all or nothing. We can understand part of reality, love part of reality, honor part, become one with part, etc.

Part is orderly and part is chaotic, but it is all magic.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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Post by Roncooper » Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:36 pm

Last night I watched part of a Nova about early humans. Near the end the scientist displayed a 35,000 year old flute made from the bone of a large bird. He talked about its construction and then he said something that demonstrated his materialistic belief. He gave his "practical" explanation for why the person played the flute.

To paraphrase he said they played to flute to strengthen the group and stop fights.

They more I think about materialism the less I like it. When I sing or play an instrument stopping a fight never enters my mind.

Campbell said that creating art for anything other than the sake of art was a form of prostitution, and I agree. These early people knew about art.

Watch Werner Herzog's movie "Cave of Forgotten Dreams," he was allowed to film cave painting that were over 30,000 years old, and these paintings are beautiful. They aren't stick figures. If you get a chance to view this movie you will see what I mean.

I am convinced that beautiful sensation is the primary driver for the creation of art, and if it has good side effects, so much the better.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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Post by lancimouspitt » Sat Mar 05, 2016 12:43 am

Roncooper wrote:Iancimouspitt,

I would like to respond to your comments from the perspective of Jung's functions of the psyche, of which I am obsessed.

It isn't all or nothing. We can understand part of reality, love part of reality, honor part, become one with part, etc.

Part is orderly and part is chaotic, but it is all magic.
Completley agree!
A ship is safe in harbor,but that's not why a ship is built.
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Apr 20, 2016 6:18 pm

Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Roncooper » Fri Apr 22, 2016 5:01 pm

Welcome back.

I looked at your link. I am surprised the numbers are so high. Probably because I was surrounded by atheists all my life.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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Post by CarmelaBear » Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:52 pm

Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Sun Apr 24, 2016 2:54 pm

Roncooper wrote:Welcome back.
8)
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Roncooper » Sun Apr 24, 2016 6:40 pm

For me it is a matter of how we define religion. I think religion is becoming more diverse, not going away. People find "God" in more personal ways.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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