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Taking The Myth

by rg Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:59:10 AM EST


With thanks to Chris who owes me a painting

Hokkay.  Sunday.  What are your foundational myths?  Kcurie told us his in a recent diary.

well I ahve  bunch of them it is a network... but if I wold have to put a source .. the source of them.. I would say three  origins.

First and ofremost , schooling.. and teachers in Spain n the 80's .. that's an stuyle of teaching, of education, of.. well everything...

the second origin was a God is love catholiticism  very common in spain in the 80's.. a mixture of lvoe philosophy with jesus as some kind of friend. You know all that stuff about loving the otherspecially if it is a foreigner and weird....

The thrid one of course.. my TV..a cutally migeru's and mine.. (we had teh sam TV so we recognize ourselves in our narratives and description).. basically our own  Espinete.. and soem comfamous comics..and the old star trek.. also La clave and other p discussion-like cult programs where discussing was abut intelligent people talking intelligent things surrounded by a lot of smoke..

If someon is from the US I would say the more similar mythology you can get is if you take the star Trek  New Genrations or Voyager mythology and you take out all the "Marine" stuff".

A pleasure

So...your foundational myths...what are they?

That's the first question.

Then, I have another, but I'm not sure if it's a question, more a request.

I'd like to know what you think is going wrong with your peers--and I don't mean in peers in the widest sense, I mean it in the narrowest sense, I mean: those who you associate with, those who you identify as close to you.

What a strange question, I almost don't know why I'm asking it, but it did occur to me that we sometimes have these doutbs--and being "uber menschen" ain't the way...been there, killed a few million, let's try another way...so...in the spirit of sharing here are my answers:

Foundational Myths

Education is good
There is such a thing as "too much" and I am probably doing/using it
People "en masse" are hypocrites, violent, and dangerous...unless it's a carnival....(hmmmm....)

To "rebel" is good
Anyone can do it--in principle if not practice: the block is the system (THE MAN) not the individual

Hmmm...

Religion: Being "morally good" is the point; any religious people who aren't don't count as religious

Sex: Only when two people are "in love" (with lots of nervous tension lost in that definition....)

Job: Do what makes you happy, not what makes you money

Ach...I'm no good at this, I'm hoping you'll all educate me (see point one above)

Peer Group Pressures

The main problem I find with my peer group is that there are so few of us compared to "the masses" who still believe a whole load of gumpf, and I still believe a whole load of (too much) gumpf...the big post-war push achieved a lot but I never really met the "enlightened" types when I was growing up in (and thanks to) their institiutions (hospital, school, unemployment benefit, grant, etc.)...  I'll propose a positive outcome: that we are many but we are not connected yet due to the "new peer-to-peer" network nature of the next evolutionary step.

"We can't evolve while we're throwing sticks at each other," a friend said the other night.

And that's it: a quick Sunday diary.  Leave well alone or splurge!

Display:
Great diary, I like the thought process it generates.
I am not sure what my foundational myths are, I need to think over that but the problem with my peers is that they don't know who they are or what they are meant to be doing.

So much choice and yet so little.  We could be anything but we don't know how to be, or what to be. We are where we are largely by accident and not by design. So what is our purpose? Will it reveal itself to us? Or will we eventually conclude that we are just here? We go where we go because we like it or something nudges us but we don't plan it.

Kerouac, On the Road:
"and get all confused and hung up running from one falling star to another till I drop"

I've spent much of my life feeling like that. It's a happy accident that I am where I am, doing things I love.  

I only know I have a purpose because of my NDE when I was 9.  I died and was sent back and it's ingrained in who I am.  I have no idea what my purpose is but I am deeply convinced that I have one, irrational though it may be to believe so.

Perhaps science lies at the core of my foundational myths?  Maybe religion does although I lost my faith at 8 years old.  Maybe my child's viewpoint on human nature and hypocrisy and my attempts at understand it before I could, developed my own foundational myths by way of explanation.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 09:00:46 AM EST
My friend said something a few years back that reminds me of you and your friends' dilemma.

"My sister," he said to me--a sister fifteen years his junior and from his mother's second marriage--"is all hung up on what she's supposed to be.  It wasn't that hard when I was young.  When I was growing up"--in the late sixties, early seventies--"we just got carried along on the wave, never had to worry about it."

He saw it as a problem, but it seems to be a problem of the times as he then faced the same questions in his mid to late forties.  Partly I think it's to do with the lack of "steady jobs"; back in the fifties (I'm told) there was always a job "on the railways" (maybe cleaning carriages), or "in building", there were always more jobs than people to do them--and women hadn't really entered the workforce back then.

As I pondered your thoughts (and thanks for 'em!) I was drawn as if by...er...something...to Chris's (and somebody else mentioned this just t'other day here) "networked" society--as he puts it elsewhere in these comments, "Work with not for", but it's hard to be young and not have obvious examples...though I read somewhere--was this another Chris comment?--that co-operatives are booming all over--ah yes, it was another of the "fair trade" companies that are springing up, this lot were "faith based" but their spiel was that they work with workers' co-operatives, and I've always remembered that Guy Debord's "answer" to his doom-y predictions was always "workers' co-operatives"--the place where alienation and production are separated finally...

heh, I'm banging on!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 03:11:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm a trade unionist, I work in equality - so my work brings a sense of purpose and fulfilment and the belief that I am doing something good and constructive with my life.

I work for a value driven organisation that largely matches my own values.  I'm happy with what I'm doing. I'm not really a small fish either - not an especially big one for that matter - but I feel as though I have some power to influence when I persist on an issue for long enough.

Yet when this contract ends, I don't know where I'll be next. There isn't really any security even though I have skills and qualifications that ought to see me good wherever I go. My work doesn't define who I am, it isn't the answer to anything and I am fairly sure that in most jobs, everyone is making it up as they go along. I don't think anybody absolutely knows what they are doing unless it is very rote and rigid.

I am the type of person who works with others. I fully resent people who approach me as though I work for them and they will find me awkward to deal with as a result. Serves them right.

In many ways I like the flexibility and the opportunities that can present themselves. I like the fact that I can choose who to be and I am not constrained by what my family say I should do and be - mobility took me far away from my family and gave me my freedom and the choice to engage with the family as and when I want, if I want. Selfish perhaps?

But also the lack of focus means that people my age are still single, or in loose relationships, still renting, still out partying and drinking as they feel like it. A few friends at the 30 mark are still living with family, most rent, still live with friends etc. It is taking longer to grow up because there is almost nothing to grow up for. Unaffordable property. No clear career paths, an unwillingness from those higher up to give responsibility to younger staff. And when we are project workers, fixed term contracts... you move from one thing to the next, across but not easily up.

I'm confident in myself to have the skills and flexibility to keep landing on my feet, it has worked so far. I know how to sell my skills and borderline arrogance gives me the confidence to pull that off. Not many of my friends have that even though most of them are talented and intelligent people.  

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 03:51:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]

It is taking longer to grow up because there is almost nothing to grow up for. Unaffordable property. No clear career paths, an unwillingness from those higher up to give responsibility to younger staff. And when we are project workers, fixed term contracts... you move from one thing to the next, across but not easily up.

By coincidence "Zone Interdite" on M6 on French TV tonight was all about this.  For many life is getting tougher - than at least the recent past - now it's almost back to 19th c for many.

They showed the problems young couples have in getting a place to live, even just renting (yes, people like me coming to France add to the problem :-)). A young couple live with the young woman's parents. The young guy is trying to become a member of "police municipale", like his father before him. Yes, a fonctionnaire, and there was lots of competition for few jobs, because it does have a career structure, a decent salary - unlike so many others these days.

The second part was about stress at work, at the extreme end, there's a suicide a day in France due to work stress - but LOTS more desperate people who don't go that far. Hidden camera in a call centre revealed the levels of stress. There's more supervision, demands, harrassment - the lawyer for one guy said there had been an explosion of such cases.

One enlightened manager introduced a study of stress in the company, how to reduce it and had a doctor for the staff. But the company had yet another take-over, and the new bosses had no time for such stuff - the doctor was let go. Renault have had about six suicides at one site I believe.

I'm confident in myself to have the skills and flexibility to keep landing on my feet, it has worked so far. I know how to sell my skills and borderline arrogance gives me the confidence to pull that off. Not many of my friends have that even though most of them are talented and intelligent people.  

And it shouldn't be necessary that they have them, talent and intelligence ought to be enough. But people - especially in US, but it's spreading from there  - are led to believe that if they don't have work it is their own fault, rather than that of a badly organized/functioning society/economy.

Barbara Ehrenreich has written very powerful books, one  about her attempts to live on basic wages in the US

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
May 2001
Metropolitan Books

Millions of Americans work for poverty-level wages, and one day Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. She was inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that any job equals a better life. But how can anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6 to $7 an hour?

 

 and then tried to get work of the white-collar kind - very tough:

Bait and Switch highlights the people who've done everything right -- gotten college degrees, developed marketable skills, and built up impressive résumés -- yet have become repeatedly vulnerable to financial disaster, and not simply due to the vagaries of the business cycle.

http://www.barbaraehrenreich.com/books.htm




Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice. Blog - Nice Experience
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:27:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the comment. I really wouldn't like to be in the US trying to keep afloat.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 02:20:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Education is good

When you stop learning you start dieing

Any list of rules needs at leat one that can be broken without consequence,  If theres a list of rules, I have to break one for my self respect, then I can follow the rest, because I want to, not because I've been told to.

For a rule to be obeyed it has to be explained to my satisfaction.

If you think religion has something to do with how well you dress on a Sunday, then you've missed the point.

The two words I don't understand, "I'm Bored". even doing nothing can be mentally constructive.

The Protestant work ethic is rubbish, you are not a better person than me because I didn't do overtime, or took thursday afternoon off.

Sex is good, sex is better with an emotional connection with the other person involved.

The afterlife exists in the memory of other people.

Never let life limit you, live it as long and wide and deep as possible.

a day without dancing adn music is a day wasted, if nothing else tap your feet along to the music in your head.

As for my peers, many have drifted off to become tied down with work and family. Some have got lost in a rut of consumption.


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 10:23:31 AM EST
Missed out the most important one that was handed down at my fathers knee

THINK FOR YOURSELF!

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 08:36:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmmm...nice one rg.

Off the top.....

-Work with, not for

-Strive for Quality

-Ethical is Optimal

Then a couple of quotes which I thought relevant enough to my life to store in my mobile as a reminder in dark times...

Purpose

"The purpose of my life was to end the time I lived in" - George Smiley in "The Secret Pilgrim"

and Motivation

"My motivation is to find the simple answer that everybody knows but which doesn't yet exist" - Naoto Fukasawa


"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 10:34:11 AM EST
I think of myself as a child of the Enlightenment.  I'm probably not nearly as "enlightened," however you define the term, as I would like to imagine.  Nevertheless, I take the ideals of the Enlightenment, as I understand them, as my foundational myths.

  • Reason and science offer the best means we have to understand the world and our place in it.

  • Argument from authority -- any authority, no matter its source -- is automatically suspect.

  • The consensus view of many educated, well informed people is likely to be better than that of any one individual.

  • The free and open exchange of ideas among educated, well informed citizens is the best way to arrive at such a consensus.

  • The enactment of such consensus by democratic means is the best form of government.

  • Education is the essential foundation of civilized, democratic society.

  • Education is or should be about becoming a better citizen, a better person, and not just about getting a better job.

  • Education is a lifelong process.


We all bleed the same color.
by budr on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 12:39:42 PM EST
Funny though.
IN my case none of this was a fudnational myth.. it actually appeared mcuh more later (if it even appeared) and through a conscious process and after readng narratives and explanations about it (at least most of your examples). And I must say that msot of them soudned really weird to me the first time I read about them.

for example, the one regardign authortiy and nto taking them seriously.. ntohing further from my fundational myth.. It is true that there was no authority ... in the things that mattered to us.. but as soon as somehting id not really amttered we were happy of having an authority...

we were clearly not shown this myths since we were kids.. it did not fill oru minds without ours being aware of the fact.. at elast not in my case. I know that in some families is certainly the case and that the kids them live them as fudnational Not in myc ase.

Interesting to compare.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 01:55:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah.. I really beat myself inn umber of typos there...

But I think we shoudl diffeentiate between the myths that are really fundational .. in the senset hat everybody around has the same  myth than you..a dn you do not even notice.

So school and family gave me the myth that I was a single person .. independent from th other.. in a word, they taught me that yself existed as a separated entity adn that I should grow..a dn that "my individuality" was important.

Besides those fundational myths that we all ehre share, there is a second group of fudnational myths that have more to do with the group you are surrounded, in my case and Migeru Spain in the 80's in a big city (the same for all my friends).

And finally there are the narratives that most people here are commenting.. narratives that we learn a little bit later when we are older and that we are much more conscious of.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 01:46:06 PM EST
Up sorry I forget to comment on your fundational myth.

The one about education I think is really fundational and belongs to everybody around here (western). In spain it appeared in the 70's though.

The one about rebellion I think is  a fundational myth more related with countries at specific periods.. it was not as strong in the 80's as in the 60's.. but it really exists.

The one regardign religion and ethics I do think is fundational but it is also different depending ont he country and the age. In my case it was clearly different form yours. Religion , love and ethics were the same thing basically and you could go to heaven even if you did not believe in god if you were good enough. jesus just was one path among many.

Sex.. well , yes is fundational but in our case was different.. ins ex you either have sex for fun all the time or you sit down and only do it with someone you love. So most of my friends.. knowign that the myth was dual actually carried a temporal dual life.. a lot of them first ahd sex with everyone having parties and suddenly from one day to the other thaey say.. now I am gonna marry.and they do and never have sex with anyone else...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 01:51:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And finally there are the narratives that most people here are commenting.. narratives that we learn a little bit later when we are older and that we are much more conscious of.

Yeah, it's a hard concept to get my head around as they are the myths I don't see--the background to the foreground images.

I think "education" is maybe the, yeah, the biggest, and maybe adding--"education by educators not connected to family/religion/sect/tribe/state (I grew up in the early seventies--school in '71) where the ethos in education wasn't necessarily supported by the state (an example I learned later and maybe is the same as yours is in Italy where a lot of communist sessantottini--children of '68--became teachers in the then prevailing ethos of "go out and change society from the ground up", brought out with humour in the swedish film "together", mentioned here a while back...

Then there is religion and the protestant (moi) catholic (toi) divide, where I see catholic as having more roots into the pre-christian practices...and sex and relationships come from that...

...and then there's the self and the society around the self, where I'm gonnae suggest that the family structure (neuroses or lack of) define the wider social space as the integration or lack of (willed or unwilled in both directions) integration in wider society achieved or not achieved by the parents (so another myth: the parents--and then siblings--are the base; a wide myth but not universal by any means, from what I've read--)...the parents' integration directly affects the children in all complex ways but directly stemming from that source.

And then an art myth: this is mine: that art has something "in it", but "we"--family based and also wider culture--don't know what it is.  And that was "against" the society which, in the words of John Lennon (song linked just t'other day, and I listened to it for the second time just the day before--first time the week before)--and this is english in my experience, don't know how wide it spreads:

They hate you if you're clever and they despise a fool

...which, for me, sums up The Sun newspaper.  Way to make everyone unhappy!

Is there a list somewhere of the basic elements of foundation myths?  Coz, yeah again, I was pondering the "myths I don't even know I work by" myths...there must be an ontology one (In my case: "You just never know, but maybe....the light at the end of the tunnel that Hunter Thompson states, in Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, doesn't exist--the light Marx called "The opiate of the masses"...in a kind way...to relieve the pain...

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 03:27:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ygreat comment.. ic oudl nto agree more .. almost point by point..

Regardign a list of fudnational myths that are shared by all industrial cities... I think I haver ead that lsit..s omewhere.. . but it was more like a reference to west mythology...

First you ahve the myuthologies that all humans share.. (you may call iit biological mythology je jeje if you wish).. like empathy, kinshio structure, dicotomies, hierarchy, space differentiation... etc...

Most of these myths are so improtant that we alle ruopenas have some parts inc ommon but soem parts not...

So the purely west-city (and probably now east city too) I would say existence of self (and therefore the punishemnt of isolation and a non-referenctial society), education out of family and existence of religion-ethics (somehow related with the equality fight present almost in every city) fill the list of thsoe which I can be sure are shared by urban west (east probably) people

I think I do forget a bunch of non-obvious myths that were in the list.. but I think I took them as not as much improtant as the other tree.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 05:20:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I searched for "foundational myths" but only found references to "group foundation" myths--Torah etc...--is there another term for...the myths we grow up with...I know what you mean with "foundational"--the myths surrounding our, say, first 14-18 years--before "adult" equals "I choose"--another foundational myth--

I can't think of another term.

btw, I think at least some ET folks didn't grow up in a city--some of the americans--techno?  ATinNM?--have a "hands on" attitude that I associate with smaller towns, smaller communities, where building (material construction) was there around them as they grew up--a man makes things with his hands--

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:01:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I lived in a rural area of Washington State between when I was 12 through 18.  Dairy cows (moo), sheep, and pastures surrounded my high school. Forested wood lots with little streams running through them inter-mingled with cultivated fields of maize, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, apples, and pears.  I loved it.  

Now it's all sub-divisions, McMansions, and shopping malls :-(

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 08:29:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the context of Leary-RAW's eight-circuit neurological model of human brain, myths are food for the basic biosurvival and emotional-territorial circuits. They are not really meant to be analyzed by the rational third circuit.

From this perspective, we need to form myths about  world's ecological and equality problems. We have great rational argumentation, but it needs to be translated into a narrative for the biosurvival and emotional-territorial (and perhaps the socio-sexual) circuits as well. While we make only rational arguments, most people do not wish to follow us, but they check our "authority" level, which is formed alas by the stubborn opposition rather than buy ourselves.

by das monde on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 05:42:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, I just discovered the RAW Memorial Library!

My recent experience is that these myths about ecology (at least) are growing like crazy.  All kinds of narratives being told; people changing behaviours in all kinds of ways.

I think "our" narrative--that it is "not intelligent" to over-consume; that it is "bad" to enforce hierarchy with violence (unless as a very, very...in the distance last measure...with all kinds of development needed here, maybe)

I think this is the driving sound at present, at least in the West (if we are looking at majorities.)

I'm convincing myself (for no particular reason) that it is simply the case that "old" structures cannot deal with the new relationships needed as we move beyond "super cheap transportable energy"--oil, petrol, whatever you call it--so although the "idea"--the myth--is there, the structures are lacking...hence my banging on about Chris's LLPs etc...

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 06:49:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect that you will like this book, downloadble online:

Metaconsciousness: Mythology for a Post-Civilized World, by J. Harmon Grahn

by das monde on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 08:56:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect you're right ;)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:05:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
heh!  From the prologue:

What I mean by myth is considerably more inclusive than is suggested by the word's conventional associations. All of science, all religion, and all philosophy, consist essentially of mythology - for the reason that, simply by virtue of being finite entities inhabiting a (speculatively) infinite universe, we find ourselves existing in an unknown, and unknowable context. In every direction we turn our attention in time and space, we find our universe disappearing over a very near horizon, beyond which we cannot see, and can only speculate. The finest granularity our finest instruments are able to resolve (e.g. "subatomic particles") may be "large" in relation to smaller elements still, lying beyond the reach of our highest resolving power. The most remote extra-galactic objects we are able to detect (e.g. "quasars") may be "near" in relation to objects more distant still. The earliest moment for which we are able to detect evidence (e.g. the "Big Bang") may have been "recent" in relation to cosmic events of which we have no conception.

These considerations will apply no matter how refined and penetrating our future instrumentation eventually becomes - unless, perhaps, we someday actually succeed in bringing "the outermost margin of the universe" within reach of our detailed inspection. That day has not yet arrived. If the universe is "in fact" infinite, as we speculate that it is, that day will never arrive, so long as we remain finite beings. If this is so, a) we will never be able to confirm or deny it, and b) our context will forever remain an impenetrable mystery.

Without a clear understanding of the context in which we occur, our best analysis, even of what lies within our horizon, and within reach of detailed examination, is necessarily mythological as well; for the meaning of any "fact" may be profoundly and unpredictably altered by a change in context. When their context is unknown, and possibly / probably not even imagined, the meanings and implications that follow from our "facts" are unknown and possibly / probably unimagined as well. This is no criticism, either of science, religion, or philosophy. It simply points out something that is frequently overlooked by scientists, religionists, and philosophers: mainly, that our most firmly founded "theories," "conclusions," "convictions," "articles of faith," and "canonical doctrines" are founded at bottom upon mythology in an unknown and (as far as we "know") unknowable context.

This does not imply that our quest to understand our surroundings, and our place in them, are futile, vain, or trivial, or that there is nothing to be learned through observation and experience within the near horizon we daily inhabit. It merely highlights the often overlooked but unavoidable circumstance that everything we learn occurs within a context of profound and impenetrable mystery. One of any number of possible ways of describing this mystery is to call it simply, "the gods," or to humbly acknowledge that we live and have our being "in the hands of the gods" - or "in the boundless sea of metaconsciousness."

Thus, for the purposes of what follows, mythology consists of whatever we create in our imaginations to fill the vast spaces that lie over our horizons, and beyond our reach. It embraces not only the word's usual associations; it also embraces whatever anyone believes about anything - because no human belief can be verified or falsified in the ultimate context of "All That Is."

http://harmonhouse.net/fdl/metacon/prologue.html#t100



Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:34:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One of these days I'm going to redefine "shithead" to mean "comrade" and start calling everyone "shithead". Bet it doesn't go down well.

A rose by any other name would smell pretty much the same, but no-one would have a damn clue what you were talking about.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:37:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
?  You're saying the meaning of words is not open to expansion?

If the writer had said, "I am now going to use the word 'myth' to refer to small amphibians I'd see your point.

A rose has lots of names these days, as there are an (ever growing?) list of...developments?

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/roses/scientific_namesa-e.htm

I don't see anything wrong with maintaining the name "rose" if the "rose" in question has certain salient "rose like" qualities.

But you sound pissed off, so I'll take it there's something more essential you're angry at?

or have I completely misread your tone?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:46:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Challenging diary

Off the top of my head:

  •  break the box, redefine the boundaries
  •  look for the layers
  •  any tool has limitations, learn what they are
  •  Follow the Three Fold Path:  think, re-think, and check the solution(s)
  •  any model is as arbitrary as the tools used to generate it and the dynamisms, variables, and constants within it
  •  the Universe is dynamic in at least 4 dimensions, model accordingly
  •  don't talk piffle and get real suspicious when others do


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:25:03 PM EST
Are these your foundational myths--I mean, were you brought up with these myths around you or are they the ones you have learned?  I ask because I think (as kcurie says above) there's a difference between those we "grew up with"--didn't question until older and maybe still haven't questioned and those we "consciously chose" at some point.

I'm wondering if one of our foundational myths is "education" as a lot of the replies have been "what I have learned"--when some cultures don't seem to have "you must learn things and develop your..." instincts?  Skills?  From what I understand from what kcurie has written the latin branch of western culture (which roman to greek to persian to egyptian and all wild connections therein) and maybe even the nordic branch (which--and I should say I grew up with the "drinking" myth--that drinking is important, social glue--not a myth of my egyptian friend who didn't drink alcohol until he was 28)...

Maybe I no makea ze sense as per.... ;)

And maybe I can add another (maybe very english) myth (Monty Python being an exemplar) and in humorous contradistinction to your last:

Talk piffle to relax, to ease tension, to find absurdities (to create a smile), and to push language (maybe because english--as spoken in inger-land--has (class?) absurdities...

I know I'm passing this myth on...I realise it...making up words, pronouncing sentences all wrong for the fun of the strange sounds.  No such thing in italian myth structure--

"Family is always number one, even when you fight it and it is wrong, it is the first tone"...that reminds me of Italy...

Ach!  Kcurie has "our televison" in there; I'd have to put "punk"--a foundational myth I share with ceebs, I think--D.I.Y., wide eyed feet in the gutter but poetic...there's something there...heh I'm rambling...

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 04:37:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Need to break-out my American-British Translation dictionary  ;-)

"Piffle:" to speak about things one knows not; to state opinions as if they were facts; to dogmatize

Absurdity is, for me, a valuable mechanism for 'breaking the box and re-establishing the boundaries.'  Once one establishes the Absurd one can determine the location to insert the analytical pry bar -- if that makes any sense.  For me, the Absurd lies in the junction of The Real - to be pretentious - and what is seen or thought-of to be Real and/or the conflict between two, or more, equally privileged thought-of Reals.  Humor can certainly stem from this conflict coming into one's awareness but anger - directed at the Absurdist - is also possible.  The further the respondent is 'into' Categorical rigidity the more likely they will redirect their confused uncertainty into anger at the Absurdist.  The Absurd, if deployed seriously, is an well established means to achieve enlightenment - whatever that is - as witnessed by the koans of the Rinzai School of Zen Buddhism.  Some people are so ego-identified with their intellectual positions to Absurd the latter is to attack them.  

and this is wandering from the point.

The listed "myths" (having read Dr. Welch's comment, elsewhere) came from attitudes present in the educational culture during my youth and to some extent were approved and inculcated by my parents but in both cases needed the tag: 'as approved by (an) Authority.'  This last I firmly rejected as soon as and whenever it was added.  So there was also an element of personal involvement in their acceptance.  The way they are stated is - as far as I know - mine.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 08:10:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
_Once one establishes the Absurd one can determine the location to insert the analytical pry bar _

voted for best ET phrase of the month!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 08:19:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
thank you


She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 08:37:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's such a great metaphor, could be title for a treatise on how to better your relationships!

establishing the Absurd

translation: committing to love, inviting it into one's reasoned world...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 01:26:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 06:39:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A few more I can think of that might apply to some and not all:

Group is good: group is cohesion: group is solidarity - latin countries (though disappearing/disappeared at least in the north of Italy); strong maybe in the scandinavian countries; not strong at all in England, but developing on the margins

"Arbeit Mach Frei" -- Work will make you free--from poverty, from oppression--work as the prime (puritan) motivation--self made man/woman; and without any irony or history: if you're not working, you're a "loser", so work = freedom = arbeit mach frei

Chaos - theatre of the absurd -- I heard this one a few years back, a woman, daughter of a divorced couple, her best friend when she started university got testicular cancer--"Life is a cruel theatre"--nihilism from family (lack of structure--hope); wider society--collapse of security in the neighbourhood, no one is looking out, no one cares, black humour (cynicism) and fanaticism (violent struggle for meaning)

...but I mean all of them as foundational myths--not chosen but the milieu, in the waters, in the air.  And maybe now, also:

Fear: fear as first response, correct response--compensatory illnesses so also foundational myths about health/sickness, mine was: "you are healthy, go to school!"  But health not related to diet, rather related to...fate?  "You are healthy"...

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:15:12 PM EST
I know, this is just grammar police, but of the unintended consequence:
"Arbeit Mach Frei" means literally,

Your work will not be paid. or,
You have to work, get undressed!

It is "Arbeit macht frei."

(-:

by PeWi on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 07:06:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 07:30:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And thanks, of course!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 07:09:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's almost worth putting over the door to my office.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 08:07:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At the risk of being accused of treating you like one of my students :-) - I don't think it's a good idea to use the term "foundational myth" as loosely as this.  You seem to be talking about basic beliefs, values and attitudes - some picked up during childhood and some adopted very consciously much later. Myths are a bit more specific than, say, education, while often being very broad in what they cover. Though there is debate about the definition, this seems generally correct and specific enough to be useful:

Myths are narratives about divine or heroic beings, arranged in a coherent system, passed down traditionally, and linked to the spiritual or religious life of a community, endorsed by rulers or priests. Once this link to the spiritual leadership of society is broken, they lose their mythological qualities and become folktales or fairy tales.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mythical

Also the use of "myth" and "narrative" in a very broad sense is partly an unfortunate product of postmodernism. Science, for example, is neither a myth nor a narrative. It was developed as an alternative to some of the real foundational myths, e.g. Christianity, developing rational procedures for the investigation of aspects of reality, rather than belief in "revealed truths" the questioning of which could sometimes lead to execution in order to "save" one. By contrast, questioning is the basis of science, and applied to even the theories of the most eminent scientists. This is not to say that no scientists are ever dogmatic, etc., of course.

Similarly the Enlightenment isn't a "myth", it's a historical movement - though there are myths about it, in that other sense of "myth", i.e. as a widely accepted but false belief.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice. Blog - Nice Experience

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:29:55 PM EST
You seem to be talking about basic beliefs, values and attitudes - some picked up during childhood and some adopted very consciously much later.

I'm specifically interested in those picked up during childhood, rather than the later consciously chosen ones (although I have enjoyed the comments that have mentioned them.)  You can substitute "basic beliefs, values, and attitudes".  Add "approaches", "structures", "models", wrap it all up...

So, what are yours?

At the risk of being accused of treating you like one of my students :-)

If you could keep those kind of phrases out of my diaries, I'd appreciate it :-)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:49:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heh...another foundational myth:

conflict is good/bad--it leads to catharsis/it leads to destruction; it is aggressive, it shows self-belief...

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 06:55:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Beliefs about the value of conflict are not, by themselves, "foundational myths", (see the definition of "myth" above) though the latter usually include conflict.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice. Blog - Nice Experience
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 05:41:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems like you are picking for the sake of it.

You use myth in the plural; I used it in the singular.
You say beliefs about conflict are not "in themselves" myths but the myths include (the myth about) conflict, which is what I said: that the role of conflict is (maybe) one of our foundational myths.

yo ho!

Now, you gonnae tell us what your foundational myths are, Ted, or wot?

How about "Accuracy is all-important"?

And remember: I'm asking about those you were given rather than those you have come to accept.

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 06:03:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also the use of "myth" and "narrative" in a very broad sense is partly an unfortunate product of postmodernism. Science, for example, is neither a myth nor a narrative. It was developed as an alternative to some of the real foundational myths, e.g. Christianity, developing rational procedures for the investigation of aspects of reality, rather than belief in "revealed truths" the questioning of which could sometimes lead to execution in order to "save" one. By contrast, questioning is the basis of science, and applied to even the theories of the most eminent scientists. This is not to say that no scientists are ever dogmatic, etc., of course.

i grew up with these meanings as well, but largely through kc curie's offerings here, i sense a larger meaning than that i take as implied from your comment.

newtonian physics were the product of rigorous questioning by the best minds of the time, yet einstein revealed them to be myths too, no?

the broader meaning is postmodern, in that it presupposes irony and integral doubt.

what we presently perceive as reality could well be revealed as myth one day, even today!

the edges between the two, so obvious to historians after the fact, are blurring and bleeding into each other, it seems to me.

so it's a funny joke to vaccinate yourself with, making everything you unconsciously believe to be possibly a delusion, only time will tell.

it's humorous, yet it's also serious as a heart attack...

sez he, after watching cnn's show about 'god's warriors'...'christian' version.

even the most enlightened are trapped in some myths, i'll bet.

so it can mean a false belief-system, OR  wild and wooly fables about gods and heroes as distant as dinosaurs, rising like mists out of the swamp of prehistory etc etc...

och i'm just ramblin away....

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 08:13:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd like to read kcurie's take on what "a myth" is, but as I understand it it doesn't have to be directly false (the earth is flat---woah, how can it be that...etc...) or related to beings from the skies...

Linca shines some light on it below--I would say maybe myths are "larger than life" stories...yeah...heh...thanks Linca!--that we believe following some set of...ach...hopefully kcurie can expand expound or otherwise make salient points while I askldhfsakfjhwerw

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 04:25:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]

i grew up with these meanings as well, but largely through kc curie's offerings here, i sense a larger meaning than that i take as implied from your comment.

Oh dear, what confusion kcurie has spread :-)

newtonian physics were the product of rigorous questioning by the best minds of the time, yet einstein revealed them to be myths too, no?

No. And here you are using "myth" in the sense of "widely accepted false belief".

Newtonian physics still works, within limitations, cf.:

But now, we have replaced Newtonian physics with a whole new theory brought to light by Einstein. Was Newton wrong? Not exactly. His theories were correct as far as they went. They predicted the motion of bodies quite well: well, enough, for example to build airplanes that actually fly. Engineers still use Newton's theories to build certain things. But for other things, today we use entirely different equations built on a completely different understanding of the physical universe to do exactly the same thing. The new theory explains additional phenomena that the old theory didn't -- for example, according to Newtonian theory, objects should not change mass as they approach the speed of light (which they do), nor should time slow down.

http://www.analytictech.com/mb870/handouts/theorizing.htm

I.e. it's a good example of the way science generally works; refining previous theories, rather than totally rejecting them. Newton's theories were accepted for so long for the very good reason that they work - though not at the sub-atomic level, nor approaching the speed of light.

what we presently perceive as reality could well be revealed as myth one day, even today!

All of it ? I hardly think so - and I doubt if you really believe this.  It would be nice to think that the reality of a friend's cancer, for example,  could turn out to be just a myth. The diagnosis might turn out to be a mistake - a different matter - but all too often such a diagnosis reveals a terrible aspect of reality, discovered by science, not myth, and science is developing really effective ways to treat some cancers.

"It might all be a myth" attitude leads nowhere - except perhaps to an ironic attitude - though postmodernism has no monopoly on this, cf. Plato's Socrates. "This theory might be improved on in this way and tested in this way" is a more productive attitude - a scientific one.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice. Blog - Nice Experience

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 06:28:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ted, can you stop it please--I think you are deliberately mything the point--or take your oh so jolly nit picking to another diary?

Thanks -- El Uberssover.

(Or, ya know, you could tell us your--yes!--foundational myths--rather than acting like a mosquito--or maybe you are zooper dooper wasp!  But sting sting, alright mate.  You don't...ach...something positive from your goodself or nothing from your goodself...thankz.

And just for example--coz trolls--even trolls!--need feeding just a little bit...yes, you are trolling my diary, ugly pugly!  So...the "myth" from Newton was "The universe extends out infinitely in all directions like empty boxes".  The Einstein "myth" is: the universe bends round and quantum: particles are waves...

Munch!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 06:55:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not the slightest bit obvious to me that trolling is in anyway a fair description of his behaviour here. He has a disagreement with you, but he seems to be making quite an effort to avoid personalising it seriously.

"Myth" isn't equivalent to "mistaken belief" and I'm not comfortable with equating it to either the assumptions we live our lives or stories involving hairy legged gods either. I'd be happier using it in the sense of a meta-narrative that we use to make sense of the universe but isn't especially based in fact: stories we tell to feel as if we understand the world. Restricting it to bolt-throwing guys with bad haircuts having sex with cows is an attempt to pretend that we don't have that sort of silly story any more.

Newtonian mechanics doesn't have a distinct myth from Einstein's work  - I'd suggest that the users and adherents of both share the underlying story of a clockwork universe that can be predicted,  understood and modelled with certainty, at least in principle.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 07:12:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
heh...I wasn't being fair to Ted...heh heh.

Bzz bzz!

I wish he'd just answer the question rather than acting like he's marking exam papers.

I know I'm using "myth" in a wide and loose sense--the best one I've come up with so far is "larger than life", where--let's take science, all the error lines and human weaknesses and limits and "what we have actually discovered" is lost in a sort of "We have discovered that a black hole in sector G17 is eating a super nova!"  Did someone mention "heroic"?  But we all have some "larger than life" stories--narratives--I like the word "myth" because it has that "mists of time" aspect...back before we even knew people made things up!

So I'd say the einstinian "myth" has replaced the newtonian "myth", but they both live within the large "science" myth which, I wouldn't say clockwork as clocks do strange things when pushed to the speed of light--but "observable" or "measurable"...

And...

(I don't think I'd mind so much if Ted didn't finish his "I'm about to call you an eejit, hope you don't mind" with a smiley emoticon--Cor!  Ted's being friendly!  heh heh.  I think he can take it!)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 07:28:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say youa re completely correct..

It is very deifficutl to differentiate between fundamental meta-narratives that ecncompass our mere existence from narratives which just describe particualr vission of the world.

The difficulty is that fundational meta-anrratives are itnerlinked verys trongly with thsoe beliefs....

Maybe it is impossible to differntiate thsoe two.. but we can certainly differntiate meta-anrratives whicha re genral adn almost unviersal arround and aprticualr world vision which are "learn"  int he sense that we can be easilya ware of the fact ebcasue there is a contrary possition to our narrative there.

So, the existence of myself and the idea that education is basic rock for one person devleopment become meta-anrratives although probalby onlyt he first is really encessary for one's existence...

Ont he other ahnd.t he idea that science is useful and allt he anrratives coming form enlightenment are not fundational int hat sense that you propose.. it is ingranied in a lot of peopel worlds' view.. but it is certainly not compeltely widespread and it is not considered particualrly relevant or imoportant for a lot of people...

Finally a clear example of particualr narrative whcih is not fundational is the polticial descritpiion of oneself.. of the iamge one has about the universe if you are a physicist...

Great comment...

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 06:41:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]

"Ted, can you stop it please--I think you are deliberately mything the point--or take your oh so jolly nit picking to another diary?

Thanks -- El Uberssover."

My thanks to Colman and melo for their responses. I'm glad they understood that I was taking you and melo seriously and explaining why I had serious disagreements. I'd appreciate it if you'd just stick to responding to my arguments rather than making accusations about my motives.

  It is just confusing matters to say that:

So...the "myth" from Newton was "The universe extends out infinitely in all directions like empty boxes".  The Einstein "myth" is: the universe bends round and quantum: particles are waves...

These aren't "myths" but complex theories, based on observation, experiment and maths. It's a serious issue because some postmodernists have tried to blur the distinction between such very different things by saying that they are equivalent because they are all cultural products. This has the general effect of undermining the status of science and causing lots of people to believe that it's all just a matter of belief/opinion. This in turn has allowed the Bush gov. and big corporations to get away with undermining the scientific consensus about climate change.

I hope this makes it clear why I think it's important to be clear about the terms we use and to be aware of the context which shapes their meaning and use - and makes it clear that - far from mere "nit-picking" - this involves VERY serious issues.

I don't really see the point of simply listing my "foundational myths" - I don't think they are personal and so "mine", in what I take to be the real meaning of the term, are those dominant in British culture when I was a child: Christianity (as a background rather than serious daily concern) and, though not really the same kind of thing, patriotism. I rejected the former when I began reading about science at the age of about 10. It took longer to realise the extent to which unquestioned patriotism had shaped my view of history. Now I think our imperial history was hardly anything to be proud of and like Dr. Johnson I think "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel".

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice. Blog - Nice Experience

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 09:08:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
These aren't "myths" but complex theories, based on observation, experiment and maths

I think you are defining myth as something that cannot contain "a complex theory, based on observation, experiment and maths", whereas I don't.

In fact, I'm not looking to define the word exactly (check out the title of the diary), I'm using the word "myth" to describe--as I wrote elsewhere--the "larger than life stories" which are built up from human endeavours and enquiries--or something of that ilk.

It's a serious issue because some postmodernists have tried to blur the distinction between such very different things by saying that they are equivalent because they are all cultural products.

These postmodernists...do any exist or are they mythical?  Myth: postmodernists have scrambled people's brains--that they are responsible for the confusion in people's heads...

This has the general effect of undermining the status of science and causing lots of people to believe that it's all just a matter of belief/opinion.

Can you demonstrate this "undermining the status of science"?  I remember in a diary by TBG that you said the opposite.  "Lots of people"--who dey be?  Heh ho hoink!  A thousand people?  A million?  And they have been led to believe that "it's all just a matter of belief/opinion" by post-modernists?

I wonder if you're referring to post-graduates of some kind (a minority); maybe the journalists who get regularly slammed here--I don't think their problem is that they went on one too many courses on post-modernism.  My experience of such types is that they hold the same view of post-modernism as you are describing here...but with all these vagueries...

"What are you reading?"

Welll...ya know...really, the question is so ludicrously wide...I mean, do you want to talk about body language, or--

That's one approach.  Here's another:

I am currently reading "Tooth Pickings" by Slim O'Reilly.  I am also (and hey, this is my wide view!) reading my colleagues as I find their body language fascinating and different to mine...

So I suggest another myth...no...I suggest it's interesting to analyse our myths as they define our various reality tunnels.  Some myths are very close to the wide and varied observations of our various realities (medicine, engineeering, architecture); others are go--

Heh!  I'm banging on, type type type, losing myself--and really I'd wanted to know what your foundational myths were--coz I'm interested!

But okay...

I hope this makes it clear why I think it's important to be clear about the terms we use and to be aware of the context which shapes their meaning and use

I think the bolded part is sorta what this diary is about.

I don't really see the point of simply listing my "foundational myths"

...well one reason would be to bring to light "the context which shapes your meaning and use" of "terms"

my "foundational myths" - [...] are those dominant in British culture when I was a child

Which, for me, is the intriguing part of the question--maybe it's one of the intriguing parts--I can think of at least one other poster here (maybe your age, I'm not sure) who grew up quite the opposite, so you maybe have the myth that the "dominant culture" was just "there" and then you grew out of its embrace while this other (maybe mythical!) person grew up being told about the terrible things "the dominant culture" did, so:

Myth: The dominant culture is just "there"/the dominant culture works at inculcating a sense of "eternal presence"...

Spectacular domination's first priority was to eradicate historical knowledge in general; beginning with just about all rational information and commentary on the most recent past. The evidence for this is so glaring it hardly needs further explanation. With consummate skill the spectacle organizes ignorance of what is about to happen and, immediately afterwards, the forgetting of whatever has nonetheless been understood. The more important something is, the more it is hidden.

Guy Debord

So...I dunno why...on a whim...I wondered: What are people's "foundational myths"?  Because I'm sure the list is a lot longer--and it's variety staggering even among a group as self-selecting as ourselves...and I wondered what these myths might be--I thought and think it is a hard question because what seems obvious (in your case, maybe, that you had a "typical" upbringing with no sense that you "owned" the myths)...

...heh!  Brought to you by Tangent Sono Io!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 09:42:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in your case, maybe, that you had a "typical" upbringing with no sense that you "owned" the myths

those quotes look sarky, I think it makes sense without them--so please mentally remove them!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 09:48:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i take your points ted, tho i have a feeling we are talking a bit at cross purposes...

i dont disagree with the last sentence, but

"It might all be a myth" attitude leads nowhere - except perhaps to an ironic attitude - though postmodernism has no monopoly on this, cf. Plato's Socrates. "This theory might be improved on in this way and tested in this way" is a more productive attitude - a scientific one.

re the first, how do you know it leads nowhere?

doesn't history happen even when we may think we're nowhere?

i know you don't want to be condescending, at least i presume so, you do put a smiley!

i know i unconsciously condescend sometimes, so no prob.

thanks for the reply, we probably agree more than it seems...

as for modern myths, how's about :

tech will save us

some days i do place a bit of faith in that.

come to think of it, doesn't myth mean just that?

whatever you place faith in, that's your myth, to be exploded by reality, or upgraded with the benefits accruing through testing your model.

could call it 'philosophy', with no loss in meaning.

my favourite myth: that humans could create a sustainable 'portugese' lifestyle and it would be ok to have babies again...

miss 'em...

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 07:18:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]

 i take your points ted, tho i have a feeling we are talking a bit at cross purposes...

i dont disagree with the last sentence, but

"It might all be a myth" attitude leads nowhere - except perhaps to an ironic attitude - though postmodernism has no monopoly on this, cf. Plato's Socrates. "This theory might be improved on in this way and tested in this way" is a more productive attitude - a scientific one.

re the first, how do you know it leads nowhere?

doesn't history happen even when we may think we're nowhere?

Thanks for the serious response. Well, where does the "It might all be a myth" lead? What do you do then - practically, theoretically?  Smile ironically ? :-) But, for example, Einstein doing his thought experiments about specific aspects of reality - how light functions, etc. leads to an alternative theory about THIS aspect of reality, and one with predictions which can, and have been  checked and found to be correct - leading to consequences for technology - which others here are more qualified to explain.

 as for modern myths, how's about :

tech will save us

some days i do place a bit of faith in that.

come to think of it, doesn't myth mean just that?

whatever you place faith in, that's your myth, to be exploded by reality, or upgraded with the benefits accruing through testing your model.

"tech will save us" is an unjustified belief - there are good reasons to suppose that it might not.

People can have faith in other people - e. g. political leaders, this does not make them myths. And again, this blurs the important distinction between myth and faith, and science and provisional acceptance of various theories. The positive view of science itself is not a matter of mere faith, but because it has a huge record of success - in the real world, but any part of it is open to change.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice. Blog - Nice Experience

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 09:31:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
_ What do you do then - practically, theoretically?  Smile ironically ?

heh, on a _good day... me personally, i strive for a more coherent identity, to make a better match between my expectations of myself and what i realistically can do, if the opposite of cognitive dissonance be cognitive resonance, then that's my aim.

i have sneered sometimes about the supposed perfection of the 'scientific approach', but i have much gratitude in general for what positive things science has done to make the world a better place.

i just happen to think that science's radar does not cover all the bases.

"tech will save us" is an unjustified belief - there are good reasons to suppose that it might not.

there supposedly 'good reasons' to believe and disbelieve so many more or less reasonable opinions, that's our choice... nobody likes to look a fool, yet we are strangely hurried about forming opinions, and then stating them as absolute.

as if we craved the oxygen of being taken seriously...

bearing in mind how many times science has uplifted the human condition, it seems utterly logical to hope that even the epic challenges we face today could have a left brain set of solutions...as i said, i can believe in that sometimes...i choose to, well knowing it's a myth till proven true...

there are few things i'd deem incontrovertible...that we are fragile beings in an often hostile environment, that life is very precious and yet equally expendable, a brief sojourn in a strange, wonderful place.

there are some who pick arguments in anything, just for sport.

i do like to provoke sometimes, but it's in a spirit of earnest curiosity, and i hope it's understood as such, though blogging is a bit hit-or-myth by its nature!

thankyou for your considered reply-

 

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 10:30:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There certainly are myths about the Enlightenment, in the sense of narratives about heroic beings, linked to at least the ceremonial life of the community, and endorsed by rulers. Think about what the Pantheon represents in France, or the way presidents are divinised on the Washington mall... We're having an attempt at this kind of thing with Sarko's use of Guy Môquet.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 08:30:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Friendship is sacred.

Honesty is sacred, even when it hurts you or others.

Religion is deceit.

Love is to be striven for.

Learning comes with fun, not just efforts.

I remember that day in high school, was about 15. We were in math class and I was daydreaming just like I always have in high school, and suddenly I listed those above in my head and thought: "today is a beginning".

The sky above la banlieue had never been so crispy blue. The 34 other students, were, to the best of my knowledge doing derivatives.

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine

by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 07:16:19 PM EST
Thank you rg. I like to remember that day.

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine
by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 07:16:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i was sold a myth...believe against evidence, swallow propaganda, obey morons, act scared to get along...

the first cracks in the foundation....having my hand whipped for answering the question 'what are 2+2?' with the sincerely wrong answer...22!
i was around 5, i think, and the reason i got whipped was not the mathematically wrong answer, but because the rest of the kids were cracking up...

the matrix sure glitched there!

i'm sure it's not connected, but shortly afterwards i was entering the school doorway, bumped my head, carried on as normal for 5 minutes, then fainted...

i know what you're thinking, but it wasn't that hard a bump...lol.

and shortly after that i broke my first bones, 2 fingers falling trying to catch a ball, a greenstick fracture...

these are symbols for me of choices i was making, rather to be broken outside their myth, rather than follow everyone else into the mental hopper...

the cracks are what let the light in, someone famous once said...

i found the world impossibly unfair, yet who fed me the myth of fairness? or is it instinctive.

much of my childhood i remember as a deeply puzzled state of being, and a gradual numbness as i shut off hope that things would ever get better...

so when the 'youth revolution' (myth?!?!) came along i was ripe for the plucking, young, frustrated and clueless...i knew what i didn't want, but what i wanted was so crazy and utopian i didn't even mention it hardly to my own self, let alone any one else...

a little kid, who wants to play....

a little kid, that doesn't realise all that has to happen before, so he can have the peace to play...

like a functional family, walls and a roof, food on the table...

i believe the deepest imprinting we receive comes from our peers in mid-adolescence, and mine were formed around love for music, going to see blues bands with the 'bad boys', the ones teachers didn't want us to hang out with...neither parents...

ciggies in the woods, etc...

the acid-fueled utopianism of the sixties, jimi's lyrics like the last songs of a dying swan, all you need is love...

this kind of rosy nonsense soaked deeply into my soul, rendering me fit for the guys in white coats when it came to trying to reconcile the obvious contradictions, living in squats, working in machine shops and dishwashing jobs, begging, eking out the dole, with the wild melange of ideas fighting for predominance in my troubled skull.

psychiatrists were no use, bless 'em, the blind leading the blind...

personality breakdown was not mercifully brief, it went on and on...

voice telling me to boot up my grandfather's old cavalry wear and take 50 mile hikes to nowhere, kneeling and praying in the street, in and out of prisons, courts, juvenile homes, a right mess...

but i wasn't alone, the streets were slowly filling with the psychic wreckage gibbering along with me in their search for the lost chord.

i met some profoundly poetic and compassionate people precisely where i never expected to, and this puzzled me even more.

what saved me?

getting my health back under control with diet and exercise, forsaking my mother culture to travel the world and seeing how absurd many parts of our own and others' cultures were, and yet how full of different kinds of wisdom...

getting my ass kicked over and over my the pacific ocean...suck it up!

jamming with musicians, stretching out my soul with the good cameraderie that can happen in a bunch of happy losers who are as crazy as you are, and have survived anyway...

good writing...herman hesse, and mervyn peake, and (god love 'im) ronald laing...

discovering deeper service through massage therapy

and now blogging with all you freaks...

ole!

the elliptical nature of your mental architecture is very symbiotic with my own warped tunnelings, rg...

so glad you've had more time and processorpower to hang here more lately.

but how can i myth you, if you won't go away?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Oct 21st, 2007 at 07:20:58 PM EST
My foundational myths are no myths.

I am unique, I am alone, I am loved, I will die.

I can see, when I open my eyes.
I can learn, when I listen.
I can love, when I see and learn.



















(pretentious prat)

by PeWi on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 07:19:46 AM EST
was there a video in that big space?

thanks pewi, for summing up the secrets of life so poetically!

really nice

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 10:37:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, no - it was more an cynical after-thought on my post, but then I did not want to spoil it too soon. more along the lines of, bursting out laughing, after five minutes when you have made an inside joke and are allowed to laugh out of earshot of oneself.

Maybe I have lived in GB for to long, that I cannot take myself seriously anymore, maybe it is my degree...

Having said that - I stand behind what I said, those are the things that have held me together for the last 30 years. But saying it out loud, confessing them almost, makes me cringe.

by PeWi on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 12:01:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
haha

how long have you lived in GB (uk?)? where are you from originally?
what has your degree to do with it?

i laugh because of how well you evoke the british reluctance to acknowledge the world of feelings, let alone speak about them.

emotional constipation.... the other extreme is listening to the psychochatter in an esalen hot tub, where people invent feelings they'd like to have had, and emote with every exhalation!

english humour is a strange animal indeed, and taking oneself seriously is the first sign of insecurity to some.

the english invent cynicisms they'd like to truly feel, because it feeds into some weird complex....

i went to crammer with martin amis, and he embodies this to the hilt...

cringing at someone's emotional courage is a grand british tradition!

'course, what the foreigner is acting out is normal to him...

once a brit opens the door to passion all hell breaks loose, aspidistras wilt at the heat, women sweat colourfully, and football chants are da de rigeur soundtrack...

stiff upper lip, old chap, these eurofolk will unman you if you don't watch out!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 01:15:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I did my masters in Theology eight years ago - am in Britain since 10 years lived in Berlin and Leipzig before that (but am from West Germany).
I like British humour. It has the tendency not to take itself to seriously, Alan Partridge, The Office, Fawlty Towers come to mind - all make fun of themselves, offering the neck for the agressor to laugh.
Germans tend to want to make fun of others first. I don';t know if this has changed. I had not have regular exposure to first hand German culture for 16 years - no German TV and no real TV usage before that either, to be honest.

What I am saying here is, I haven;t a clue if this has changed. There appears to be an interesting subcurrent of Turkish German Comedy, maybe that has opened up the German comedy scene, but I really don;t feel confident to make any statement about it.

Would be an intersting diary though.

Comedic traditions in Europe.
What do we laugh about?
which bodily organs and functions are being used in swear words (I think these two things are related - German humour is very anal (in a Freudian sense)orientate, as are German swear words...

anyhoo

by PeWi on Tue Oct 23rd, 2007 at 07:06:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bourdieu covered a lot of this, and is worth reading. Excluded middle classes are more aspirational about education than the rentiers, who see education as more of a chore to be endured than something noble for its own sake - although there's usually a positional pay-off for them.

Genuine impulses always seem to become tangled up in positional calculations, which makes it hard to see which is which.

I suspect true foundational myths are unconscious, because they're defined by a belief that the world cannot possibly be any other way - so alternatives are literally unthinkable.

My own are probably something like:

Cumulative knowledge and reality testing are good
Inventiveness and creativity are good
Organic economic and social structures are possible - and good
Corporates are fundamentally anti-life and anti-passion, and only exist by (sometimes) faking both - which is bad

(I'm sure there are more, but I'm busy trying to work for a corporate right now.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 10:51:15 AM EST
Your foundational myths (in the loose, broad, pushing beyond my usual understanding of the word, way) worked its way into my previously empty head in the gym.

I like gym classes for that.  As I concentrate on working hard, repetitive motions, pushing myself, my brain just empties of all the day to day crap.  And then I'm free to think, staring vacantly at the mirror while some other part of me kicks in to keep my body co-ordinated with the class instructor and the boom boom boom of the music...

I was thinking about my foundational myths and I realised they weren't very positive, the ones I was fed.

  • Children should not come first.
  • Disabled children are not valued and we should all feel sorry for them.
  • Girls grow up to have families and be married, men go out to work in suits and come home late and go away on business.
  • I always let you think for yourself, now do as I say.
  • You can be whoever you want to be, but not that, you can't do that. Deaf children can't do the things that normal children can do.

  • I am a sinner. I need to be cured.

Perhaps slightly more positive
  • fresh air is good for you, playing is good, reading is good.
  • Eat everything on the plate and be grateful for it because ethiopian children are starving.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Mon Oct 22nd, 2007 at 04:54:56 PM EST
I don't know what my foundational myths are, it's very hard to know.

I know of two:

  1.  I believe in an objective reality. That is, I think there is a reality, and that this reality is the same for all people. What is true in my reality is true in your reality.

  2. The basic moral good is the happiness of the individual. One persons happiness does not offset another persons misery.

These are foundational myths, because I can't prove them. The first one is unprovable, but it is in fact a foundational myth it is impossible not to have. Some people deny the objective reality, but the fact is that they still behave like it is true, even when they deny it, and that means that either it is true, or I'm the only person who exists. :-)

The second myth is a moral opinion and as such per definition unprovable.

Most of my morals and political opinions can be extracted from these two foundational myths with logic and observation. (I know of one that can't, but that's extra curricular activity ;-) ).

Other than that, almost all of my opinions come from logic and observation. I'm sure I have more unprovable opinions, foundational myths, somewhere, but I'm not aware of them, as I'm pretty sure most people aren't. It's really a matter of the fact that you can't prove the system from within. Peoples foundational myths are mostly only observable from outside their system of myths.

That way I can more easily see other peoples foundational myths than my own. I'm pretty sure that's true for most people.

by freedomfighter on Sat Oct 27th, 2007 at 07:57:46 AM EST
Religion: Being "morally good" is the point; any religious people who aren't don't count as religious

Oh, boy. Talk about argument by No True Scotsman.

We have met the enemy, and it is us — Pogo

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2007 at 07:34:54 AM EST
I think I failed miserably to explain myself in this diary.  "Foundational myths" are not: "What are your beliefs about how the world should work?"

By "Foundational myths" I mean:

The "larger than you are" stories that surrounded you when you were growing up.

Or some less confused version thereof.

Sop...one that surrounded me was exactly the above: that "really religious" people are "good", so if someone isn't "good" they are not "really religious."

The fact that it implies a meaning of "religious" that doesn't match the facts of "religion" or "religious" is the point: that I find it, therefore, harder to see religion "as is", because there was a "No True Scotsman" aspect to the attitudes of those around me...yack yack yadda.

Hey, what are your foundational myths?

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2007 at 08:04:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I failed miserably to explain myself in this diary.

you're being way too hard on yourself, rg, imo.

what's that great phrase i heard somewhere...

o yeah, you're effing the ineffable, so some serious languaging challenges are par for the course...

kudos to ya for taking on such nebulous-by-nature subjects and attempting the impossible. it awakens all sorts of stuff in us as readers, even as you're fishing for ways to communicate and (perhaps too) often thinking you're not making it.

very refreshing, i find, for us to foray into the mists after you, stumblingly, for sure, but seeing and sensing things that aren't clear or obvious, but somehow touch and affect us deeply.

keep fishing please, it's bound to be hard, but some of the insights are startling, and jump-start further journeys beyond.

:)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2007 at 08:38:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I failed miserably to explain myself in this diary.  "Foundational myths" are not: "What are your beliefs about how the world should work?"

By "Foundational myths" I mean:

The "larger than you are" stories that surrounded you when you were growing up.

Actally, that's usually the same thing. :-) Few people challenge the myths they grew up with.

by freedomfighter on Tue Oct 30th, 2007 at 10:57:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Few people challenge the myths they grew up with.

I think usually people need to live within another "myth-world", see how it connects up, before they can begin to question their own--and the questioning is usually automatic, where the individual's myths conflict with the new environment.

(E.g. 'how to behave'--people have their various myths about this ('english reserve'!) which isn't questioned until one lives in a culture with a whole different set of 'rules' of the behavioural road)

(Another example, pertinent here maybe, is how a book can tear down an unconsidered view--so powerfully that 'reading is good' is a strong strong myth--'reading' = moving into another person's myth environment via written language...communication....ach...faffin the faffable!)

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.

by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Tue Oct 30th, 2007 at 12:13:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, maybe you don't need to live in it, but you need to be confronted with alternatives, that's for sure. And even then most people will not question their myths.
by freedomfighter on Tue Oct 30th, 2007 at 02:27:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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