16901Re: A Landscape with Dragons
- Aug 28, 2006Symbols for a particular culture largely _don't_ change
meaning...Jung's life work underscored this. And regarding
other cultures, O'Brien is basically dealing with occidental
tradition and myth, which consistently (until the 20th century)
depicted snakes and dragons as evil.
Regarding the notion that anyone trying to make a dragon
good is "committing a sin", I think that overstates O'Brien's
case. He suggests that trying to change the meaning of traditional
symbols confuses and can be hurtful, especially to children. This
is consistent with a pre-modern mindset, which suggests that there
_is_ such a thing as tradition versus "all things being relative".
All O'Brien is doing is pointing out the same things that virtually
any European would have told you prior to about 100-150 years ago.
And, like Tolkien and Lewis, O'Brien would largely consider himself
pre-modern in outlook, and quite proud of it(!).
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, David Emerson <emerdavid@...> wrote:
> >While I disagree strongly with O'Brien's conclusions, I must come to
> >his defense that the book was much more nuanced than that. Yes,
> >O'Brien is an extremely conservative Catholic, but his argument is
> >that certain symbols can never change in meaning, so a dragon is
> >always evil and that anyone who tries to make a dragon good is wrong
> >and committing sin.
> Well, he's got two assumptions there that are open to question.
One, that symbols never change meaning, and two, that dragons are
evil. Call me a heretic if you like, but aren't there ancient
cultures in this world who view dragons as wise and good?
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