Myth is much more important and true than history. History is just journalism and you know how reliable that is.
Religion is like a blind man looking in a black room for a black cat that isn't there, and finding it.
Doubt as sin. — Christianity has done its utmost to close the circle and declared even doubt to be sin. One is supposed to be cast into belief without reason, by a miracle, and from then on to swim in it as in the brightest and least ambiguous of elements: even a glance towards land, even the thought that one perhaps exists for something else as well as swimming, even the slightest impulse of our amphibious nature — is sin! And notice that all this means that the foundation of belief and all reflection on its origin is likewise excluded as sinful. What is wanted are blindness and intoxication and an eternal song over the waves in which reason has drowned.
[On Jason Mashak's book SALTY AS A LIP, as reviewed in The Prague Post:] Mashak amalgamates various national, historical and religious traditions into a myth-mash that illuminates many sects' fanatical compartmentalizing, and the fact that so many religions and philosophies share similar goals, if not roots.
The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived and dishonest--but the myth--persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.
All children mythologise their birth. It is a universal trait. You want to know someone? Heart, mind and soul? Ask him to tell you about when he was born. What you get won’t be the truth: it will be a story. And nothing is more telling than a story.
Let's say that the consensus is that our species, being the higher primates, Homo Sapiens, has been on the planet for at least 100,000 years, maybe more. Francis Collins says maybe 100,000. Richard Dawkins thinks maybe a quarter-of-a-million. I'll take 100,000. In order to be a Christian, you have to believe that for 98,000 years, our species suffered and died, most of its children dying in childbirth, most other people having a life expectancy of about 25 years, dying of their teeth. Famine, struggle, bitterness, war, suffering, misery, all of that for 98,000 years.Heaven watches this with complete indifference. And then 2000 years ago, thinks 'That's enough of that. It's time to intervene,' and the best way to do this would be by condemning someone to a human sacrifice somewhere in the less literate parts of the Middle East. Don't lets appeal to the Chinese, for example, where people can read and study evidence and have a civilization. Let's go to the desert and have another revelation there. This is nonsense. It can't be believed by a thinking person.Why am I glad this is the case? To get to the point of the wrongness of Christianity, because I think the teachings of Christianity are immoral. The central one is the most immoral of all, and that is the one of vicarious redemption. You can throw your sins onto somebody else, vulgarly known as scapegoating. In fact, originating as scapegoating in the same area, the same desert. I can pay your debt if I love you. I can serve your term in prison if I love you very much. I can volunteer to do that. I can't take your sins away, because I can't abolish your responsibility, and I shouldn't offer to do so. Your responsibility has to stay with you. There's no vicarious redemption. There very probably, in fact, is no redemption at all. It's just a part of wish-thinking, and I don't think wish-thinking is good for people either.It even manages to pollute the central question, the word I just employed, the most important word of all: the word love, by making love compulsory, by saying you MUST love. You must love your neighbour as yourself, something you can't actually do. You'll always fall short, so you can always be found guilty. By saying you must love someone who you also must fear. That's to say a supreme being, an eternal father, someone of whom you must be afraid, but you must love him, too. If you fail in this duty, you're again a wretched sinner. This is not mentally or morally or intellectually healthy.And that brings me to the final objection - I'll condense it, Dr. Orlafsky - which is, this is a totalitarian system. If there was a God who could do these things and demand these things of us, and he was eternal and unchanging, we'd be living under a dictatorship from which there is no appeal, and one that can never change and one that knows our thoughts and can convict us of thought crime, and condemn us to eternal punishment for actions that we are condemned in advance to be taking. All this in the round, and I could say more, it's an excellent thing that we have absolutely no reason to believe any of it to be true.
The truth about an animal is far more exciting and altogether more beautiful than all the myths woven about it.
A myth... is a metaphor for a mystery beyond human comprehension. It is a comparison that helps us understand, by analogy, some aspect of our mysterious selves. A myth, in this way of thinking, is not an untruth but a way of reaching a profound truth.
Oh, he did look like a deity – the perfect balance of danger and charm, he was at the same time fascinating and inaccessible, distant because of his demonstrated flawlessness, and possessing such strength of character that he was dismaying and at the same time utterly attractive in an enticing and forbidden way.
The man armed with knowledge has a better chance of survival than the man who is simply the fittest. Knowledge is the true strength. Muscle is where the myth is.
Fiction is written with reality and reality is written with fiction. We can write fiction because there is reality and we can write reality because there is fiction; everything we consider today to be myth and legend, our ancestors believed to be history and everything in our history includes myths and legends. Before the splendid modern-day mind was formed our cultures and civilizations were conceived in the wombs of, and born of, what we identify today as fiction, unreality, myth, legend, fantasy, folklore, imaginations, fabrications and tall tales. And in our suddenly realized glory of all our modern-day advancements we somehow fail to ask ourselves the question Who designated myths and legends as unreality? But I ask myself this question because who decided that he was spectacular enough to stand up and say to our ancestors You were all stupid and disillusioned and imagining things and then why did we all decide to believe this person? There are many realities not just one. There is a truth that goes far beyond what we are told today to believe in. And we find that truth when we are brave enough to break away from what keeps everybody else feeling comfortable. Your reality is what you believe in. And nobody should be able to tell you to believe otherwise.
At critical moments in the life of individuals and of societies, it is not necessarily the facts that are needed as much as a profound narrative that makes sense of life’s conflicts and misunderstandings. When all seems to be falling apart and becoming less rational and more chaotic, it is usually a different story that is needed to make things whole again. Mythic imagination can break the spell of time and open us to a level of life that remains timeless. Myth is not about what happened in past times; myth is about what happens to people all of the time.
Look, I'd sat through just as many Hollywood movies as the next person. I'd seen Sleepless in Seattle, Titanic, Twilight, whatever. I knew the myth. But i didn't believe it. I knew it was made up, I knew none of it was even close to reality.
Camels can go many weeks without drinking anything at all. The notion that they cache water in their humps is pure myth—their humps are made of fat, and water is stored in their body tissues. While other mammals draw water from bloodstreams when faced with dehydration, leading to death by volume shock, camels tap the water in their tissues, keeping their blood volume stable. Though this reduces the camel’s bulk, they can lose up to a third of their body weight with no ill effects, which they can replace astonishingly quickly, as they are able to drink up to forty gallons in a single watering.” (pp.69-70)
What wonder will I accomplish today? And how will it tie in to tomorrow and tomorrow, so that I may live as the hero I want to be? And today how will I seek and find the opportunity that scares me? An opportunity that has me harness some elements within that I may cross over the bridge into the other side of my existence; the one that’s begging to be unsettled, that greets the morning before the sun with a ferocious will to rise up, to inspire, to create laughter and tears from the uncovering of the magical self and the relief that I have given in to the excitingly scary, omega point pull to evolve.
I began composing the next poem, the one that was to be written next. Not the last poem of those I had read, but the poem written in the head of someone who may never have existed but who had certainly written another poem nonetheless, and just never had the chance to commit it to ink and the page.
Once a poet calls his myth a myth, he prevents the reader from treating it as a reality; we use the word 'myth' only for stories we ourselves cannot believe.
All that we call sacred history attests that the birth of a poet is the principal event in chronology.
Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith! Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge!
Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.
I think I have a very good idea why it is that anti-Semitism is so tenacious and so protean and so enduring. Christianity and Islam, theistic though they may claim to be, are both based on the fetishizing of human primates: Jesus in one case and Mohammed in the other. Neither of these figures can be called exactly historical but both have one thing in common even in their quasi-mythical dimension. Both of them were first encountered by the Jews. And the Jews, ravenous as they were for any sign of the long-sought Messiah, were not taken in by either of these two pretenders, or not in large numbers or not for long.? I myself certainly hope that it will not. The Jews have seen through Jesus and Mohammed. In retrospect, many of them have also seen through the mythical, primitive, and cruel figures of Abraham and Moses. Nearer to our own time, in the bitter combats over the work of Marx and Freud and Einstein, Jewish participants and protagonists have not been the least noticeable. May this always be the case, whenever any human primate sets up, or is set up by others, as a Messiah.
With the moon walk, the religious myth that sustained these notions could no longer be held. With our view of earthrise, we could see that the earth and the heavens were no longer divided but that the earth is in the heavens. (105)
If the radiance of a thousand suns were to burst at once into the sky, that would be like the splendor of the Mighty One... I am become Death, the Shatterer of Worlds.
I just wish this social institution [religion] wasn't based on what appears to me to be a monumental hoax built on an accumulation of customs and myths directed toward proving something that isn't true.
It was not enough that food aplenty was within Man’s grasp: he wanted more.It was not enough that prey surrendered themselves to Man according to the natural order: Man wanted to cook his prey. Man had discovered fire when lightning stuck and set a tree or two alight, but he was clumsy and greedy and stupid and could not keep the flame alive
He's Darkness. Unpleasant. I wouldn't trust him. Nor do I trust every mortal I meet. I don't know where evil comes from, and frankly it doesn't matter. Not right now. Histories and myths are renamed and reinvented eternally across the world. I can't speak to that. What I do know? This is your story.
Humans are a story telling species. Throughout history we have told stories to each other and ourselves as one of the ways to understand the world around us. Every culture has its creation myth for how the universe came to be, but the stories do not stop at the big picture view; other stories discuss every aspect of the world around us. We humans are chatterboxes and we just can't resist telling a story about just about everything.However compelling and entertaining these stories may be, they fall short of being explanations because in the end all they are is stories. For every story you can tell a different variation, or a different ending, without giving reason to choose between them. If you are skeptical or try to test the veracity of these stories you'll typically find most such stories wanting. One approach to this is forbid skeptical inquiry, branding it as heresy. This meme is so compelling that it was independently developed by cultures around the globes; it is the origin of religion—a set of stories about the world that must be accepted on faith, and never questioned.
The story was told, generation by generation, in song and in story, until time misted it into myth and legend. But some believed, as legends brought comfort.
Ultimately, loneliness is not the experience of lacking but the experience of living. It is part and parcel of the human condition, and, unless a person is resolved, it can only be a matter of time before it resurfaces, often with a vengeance. On this account, loneliness is the manifestation of the conflict between our desire for meaning and the absence of meaning from the universe, an absence that is all the more glaring in modern societies which have sacrificed traditional and religious structures of meaning on the thin altar of truth.
The talk of sin is of course to many a big turn-off; to others, an even bigger myth - because in reality, sin is like the spiritual equivalent of a microscopic parasite, or a virus, or better yet even, an infectious disease. And just as one might never know of, until visiting a competent doctor, the tiny pathogens progressively eroding one's body, so we might never know that in sin we are eroding our being and losing direction until hearing the Word of God rightfully applied. Therefore I ask, which of the doctors would then be the more competent: the one who finds the problem and gives the solution, or the one who willfully ignores the problem (or rather finds the problem when it is much too late)? Seldom does anyone write off the knowledge of medicine for the physical body as primitive practice, so neither must the knowledge of the Word of God for one's spiritual well-being remain written off as primitive practice - quite the opposite really. As it is written thus: 'Lean not on your own understanding.
We are condemned to be modern. We can’t escape the facts of our history or of living in an age dominated by instrumental rationality, even as we look for ways out of it... But it has become our historic responsibility to acknowledge the continuing importance of myth, at a level beyond science, in realizing a more organic, holistic relation to the world. A future social ecology would transcend both anti-Enlightenment reaction and [a] reified Enlightenment counter-reaction, which remain only fragmented polarities within bourgeois modernity.