Re: MD Philosophy and Theology

From: Elizaphanian (
Date: Tue Apr 15 2003 - 18:27:39 BST

  • Next message: johnny moral: "Re: MD Undeniable Facts"

    Hi David,

    Sam said:
    > 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
    > 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
    > 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.

    I think that counts as agreement? (hope so)

    > (ii) I don't think its helpful to say "science operates within a
    > The "myth" of independence that Pirsig talks about is a myth only in the
    > conventional sense, meaning a commonly held misconception. Its true that
    > all operate on the basis of mythology whether we acknowledge it or not,
    > 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
    > the charge is still arbitrary.

    I agree that we shouldn't single out science or scientists - but that is in
    fact my point. I am objecting to the (Modernist/SOM) claim that science is
    cognitively superior to mythology. That claim lacks self-awareness about the
    mythology within which science itself is embedded. My view is that "science"
    is transitive across different mythologies (assuming that science = level 4
    and mythology = level 3). So I still think we agree on this.

    (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,
    > 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.

    I don't think I have been 'backward about coming forward' with various
    arguments. Forgive me if I don't employ each of them in every post - perhaps
    it is pride, but I would have expected you to remember what my approach is,
    from one day to the next. I certainly have a good idea of where you're
    coming from ;-)

    > What are the myths by which we live? Myths that have been invented? Gents,
    > think you both imply that we can exercise conscious control over myths,
    > 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 only element of conscious choice you have is whether you 'interrogate'
    your governing mythologies or not. I think freedom is a function of
    self-awareness - the one is proportionate to the other.

    > The best we can
    > hope for is to have enough insight into our own inner lives and to
    > 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.

    Yes, I agree with all of that.

    > 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,
    > dmb

    Has Orpheus (or Orphic mythology) ever made you decide a matter in a certain
    way? Has it, in other words, ever made a concrete difference to the way you
    live? And - given your last words there - how do you interpret Orpheus
    looking back?


    The lover of myth is in a sense the lover of wisdom, for myth is composed of
    wonders. Aristotle

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