RE: MD Philosophy and Theology

From: David Buchanan (
Date: Sun Apr 13 2003 - 19:23:06 BST

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    Rick, Sam and all:

    > RICK
    > If you are putting your theological beliefs in with the myths and poems
    > Campbell is talking about then I have no quarrel with you. That's exactly
    > how I see religion, as mythology; As metaphorical stories that a culture
    > makes up about itself for its own good. Perhaps in the same way Pirsig
    > talks of science inventing a myth of independence from the social world
    > its own good, religion has invented a myth of compatibility with science
    > its own benefit.

    I think I'm closer to DMB on this, than to you. I (i) don't think it's
    possible to think without an underlying mythology (meta-narrative, final
    vocabulary, whatever) (ii) think that science operates within a mythology
    which is largely unacknowledged (iii) think that the Christian mythology,
    for all its faults, is superior to the scientific one (more precisely, it is
    superior to Modernism). I think DMB would agree with me on (i), (ii) and
    part of (iii), but I'd be interested to know for sure. I'd also be
    interested to know what are the myths which he (and you) live by.

    DMB says:
    Hmmm. (i)I'm not so sure that meta-narratives and final vocabularies are the
    same thing as mythology, but I'd certainly agree that its the social level
    that allows us to think. This makes sense because language, mythology,
    ritual and things like that are sort of like pre-requisites for thought.
    (ii) I don't think its helpful to say "science operates within a mythology".
    The "myth" of independence that Pirsig talks about is a myth only in the
    conventional sense, meaning a commonly held misconception. Its true that we
    all operate on the basis of mythology whether we acknowledge it or not, but
    there is no reason to single out scientists or science. Since we can same
    the same thing about every person, putting this soley in their laps seems
    arbitrary. And if you are using "myth" to mean presumptions and assumptions,
    the charge is still arbitrary. (iii) I think its a huge mistake to treat
    science and Christianity and two rival mythologies. To then simply declare
    that one is superior without even hinting at why we should believe it, well,
    that's just not an argument or a case or anything. I have to say it looks
    like pride is at work here, and that this is not an unbiased analysis.

    What are the myths by which we live? Myths that have been invented? Gents, I
    think you both imply that we can exercise conscious control over myths, but
    it just ain't so. They are generated in the unconscious very much like a
    dream and so one hardly has any choice about such things. The best we can
    hope for is to have enough insight into our own inner lives and to DISCOVER
    which myths animate our lives. As I understand it, these things shift over
    time. We worship different gods at different stages of our lives, so to
    speak. Or we may return to the same myths over and over, but each time the
    approach is at higher and deeper levels of meaning, like an upward spiral.
    We can get trapped in them too.

    To answer more directly... I'm not sure, but I think Orpheus has a hold of
    me. Don't know what that means, exactly. I just know he rocks my world.

    Don't look back,

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