Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [existlist] Hercules and string theory

Expand Messages
  • tom
    Bill, There are a number of ways to interpret mythology. The fundamentalist takes myths as exact historical reality; whereas the other extreme position is to
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 12, 2009
    • 0 Attachment

      There are a number of ways to interpret mythology. The fundamentalist takes myths as exact historical reality; whereas the other extreme position is to reject them as lies believed by primative minds. I believe the most intelligent and creative use of myth is to realize that in all probability they are at least partly fictional, but the historical truth or falsehood is not the most significant aspect of the myth. Pagans then and now saw the Gods and Goddesses as personifations of aspects of the human psyche, and various rituals were methods of making contact with the aspect of the human psyche that is most relevent in dealing with the situation they were confronting.. Joseph Cambell spent most of his life studying the power of myth to transform lives. I heard him speak at University of Memphis in the mid 80s several years before he died. I have read from a number of sources the observation that quite similar myths repeatedly appear in aboriginal cultures that were seperated by time and space. It is presumed that the various witchdoctors were through psychedelic plants, chants, meditations etc were able to come into contact with a collective aspect of the human psyche that produces myths as means to enhance life and conciousness. I have also heard the idea advanced that the utilization of various god and goddess images were means used by the witchdoctors to bring out in the tribal mind the appropriate moods for doing what was necesary for tribal survival and well being. Primatives lack the capacity to act in opposition to their feelings like us more civilized but also more neurotic humans. A fundamentalist would take the Adam and Eve story as literally true. A reductionist, materialistic skeptic would turn up his nose and skoff at the delusions of the simple minded. Whereas a person with a more open mind might see the Adam and Eve myth of eating from the fruit of the tree of knowledge and the resultant exile fromn the Garden of Eden as symbolic of the split that occured in the human psyche as it evolved from a purely instinctual animal type of conciousness to a conciousness where rationality and instinct are often opposed, and anxiety, guilt and regret are born. As I understand it, the Roman Catholic Church took pagan myths and altered them to support the patriarchal culture they were creating.Gods and Goddesses were desexualized and transformed into patron saints. Like yourself I grew up in the Catholic school system, and assumed for many years, even after I had renounced Catholicism that the Pope, cardinals, bishops, priests etc were all literal believers in the official dogma. When the Church altered paganism to create a new dogma to indoctrinate the masses, at least the inner elite kept the original pagan mythology for themselves, and fed the altered dogmatic brand for mass consumption. The altar boy scandals brought out the reality that the heirarchy was not really anywhere near as puritanical as the persona they presented p to the masses. I recall a late cousin of mine saying about 5 years ago that the Catholic Church had always been quite tolerant of eccentricities as long as discretion was used and mass conciousness was not affected. I also recall a quote by Crowley made probably in the early part of the 20th century that latin males were basically pagans. I read in the early 80s that traditionally in latin countries it was rare to see adult males other than priests at church, and that latin males didnt tend to submit to the dogma but supported the church because the church supported the patriarchal family. Of course now Italy has one of the lowest birthrates in the world, as women have broken free from church dogma on birthcontrol etc. Catholicism predominated in agrarian societies where there were many advantages to a man in having many sons, think of the Godfather. Witch burning and various means of discouraging heresies were not to the inner elites the following of ignorant superstitions, but a recognition that alternate views of reality tend to bring into question the whole political, economic and social heirarchy. Dogma doesnt have to be theistic as witness aetheistic, materialist dogma as espoused in Stalinist Russia etc. The transformation of polytheistic paganism to theistic Catholicism was designed to produce a mass conciousness that was in accord with patriarchy and empire. Hitler was a strong admirer of the Catholic Church for its ability to indictrinate people and its understanding of human nature. If u ever read 1984, u might recall that the outer party was guilt ridden that they might fall into "wrongthink"; whereas the inner party was secretly quite decadent. It is often alleged that Leo Strause, who taught many of the neocons, believed that the masses need to be kept in check by dogmas;victimless crime laws, etc whereas the "philosophers", a small elite, were free to see beyond good and evil.I had an attorney friend in the early 90s who said from his observations at social functions that of the judges and DAs that were giving hard time for drug law offences, over half regularly used illegal drugs themselves. Of course, in the 1920s I understand the same types were often seen in speakeasies after a hard day of sending bootleggers to long prison terms.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: bhvwd
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 5:01 PM
      Subject: [existlist] Hercules and string theory

      I now know more about Hercules, about his twelve trials and his demigod existence. As a demigod he is a myth but his importance in the ancient Greek pantheon and in the Greek psyche is most notable. Nietzsche wrote of superman but his higher man was on a mental stage while Hercules is most potent in the physical world.You had to believe Hercules accomplished all those wondrous miracles. With Nietzsche it was about knowing, not believing. Nietzsche takes the retreat from mysticism most seriously. The wisest of the Ancient Greeks were beginning to consider such a world but monotheism was also seen as progressive. How long have we pondered that branch of theism ?
      The evolution of the Greek Psyche postulates God\Men as an intermediate step toward an understanding of man. It has not worked very well, even to put god back on his Olympus. Zeus won out as god and Hercules was all but forgotten. As an intermediate position he remains interesting to me.
      One of the great scientific debates between string theory and big bang is in such a dual position. Many ,many things are on the table. It seems string theory literally sheds strange new universes much like the mythical battles of Hercules introduced us to monsters and scenarios never seen. The parallel universes of string theory do not seem to be directly approachable so will not be proven or dis proven. They will do nicely as the home of the demigods. Multi Headed serpents can still fight Hercules in a bubble universe far far away. Bill

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.