Monday, November 6, 2017

MYTHS

Some stories are, or ought to be, mythic. I may have already adduced them before and will try not to repeat myself, though these days my memory Is far from reliable. Now does it much matter whether some toothsome anecdotes are factual or merely fictional, when either kind manages to turn mythical? By which I mean an existential road sign.

Take the one about Washington and the cherry tree. Though clearly fictitious, it served, and continues to serve, as a useful moral exemplar to our schoolchildren. Similarly, some popular fairytales have attained mythic status. Take the one about the boy who kept falsely crying wolf when there wasn’t one, and what happened when finally there was. “Myth” comes from the Greek muthos, and you may check out its various meanings in your dictionary if, as I hope, you own one.

Many myths, like the ancient Greek ones, served to explain natural phenomena before there were scientific explanations. The Greeks were expert mythmakers, who, I regret to say, were also expert fabricators of quasi-truths, i.e., also liars, and,   related to that, thieves. A Serbian adage has it, after shaking hands with a Greek, count your fingers. That is, of course, a myth.  True, however, is that my father, waiting for a train on a Greek railway platform, had his attaché case close to his feet.. For a few seconds, he looked away whether the train was coming, which proved sufficient for the case to be stolen. To be sure, something only barely less dramatic happened to me at Penn Station.

Now I have always assumed the veracity of the story about Napoleon and his invading army stopping off at an Italian monastery, and his warning the doorkeeper monk with his awareness that all monks were liars. Said the monk, “Non tutti, ma buona parte.” Wit as a mythic power to stand up to inimical authority.

But to get back to the Greeks. Frank Harris tells in his memoirs about an important political dinner at which a proud owner, to display his splendid watch, had it circulate around the table. Unhappily, it did not come back full circle. The embarrassed host announced that he would turn off the light and let the perpetrator deposit the watch unnoticed next to a clock on the mantel. When the light came on, the watch was still missing and so was the clock.

A true story this, though one that did not achieve mythic status. But remember Oscar Wilde’s upending Alexander Pope’s “An honest man’s the noblest work of God” into “An honest God’s the noblest work of man,” and then consider that the Greek and corresponding Roman lots were a pretty hedonistic bunch.. And not only hedonistic but also cynical and a good deal more fun than the Judeo-Christian God. Why, they even had a rogue god, Hermes, of whom we read that he was the patron of merchants and thieves, a mythical paradox.
                                                                                                                                                                 But are there no more polytheist gods today, no more models, for instance, for human erotic behavior; gods moreover like the Greek ones who cheerfully meddled in human affairs—as in the Iliad Athena for the Greeks and the less helpful Aphrodite for the Trojans-- not to mention Zeus’s carryings on with human women and the like. All of it more engaging than the God of Abraham and Isaac with his shenanigans (speaking out of bushes, if you please), including those tablets with ten mostly draconian commandments, which to follow would make you a very self-righteous, boring character. Significantly, there are plenty of books on Greek myths, but, for good reason, few if any on Hebrew ones.

What are some of the non-Greco-Roman myths that have bedeviled human behavior since? The gold of El Dorado for one, whose reckless, destructive seekers were far worse than the mere adherents of Mammon, who did not believe in streets paved in gold, and were not ready to die in a bootless search.

Geography, or rather pseudo-geography, proved a costly myth for the deluded  believers in the Northwest Passage, or even for many of the California Dreamers. There are, however, more recent, hardly less stultifying myths, such as the still prevalent one of Hollywood, both real and unreal, going also by the names Tinseltown and La La Land, as in the recent abominable movie. Misleading even the venerable Academy of Motion Picture Art and Science, which wields a greater power than the worthy French Academy, merely adjudging language and literature.

Think of Cocteau’s epigram “Victor Hugo was a madman who believed he was Victor Hugo.” Wonderful mockery of mythic self-inflation. Or think of the Messiah, whom multitudes of the religious await with mythic endurance. Think also of the perennial American myth that anyone can become President, which had the disastrous result of for once becoming  true. Think also of what ought to become a myth, Anatole France’s story about the unhappy potentate told to become happy by donning a happy man’s shirt. and vainly finding among the one percent nothing but dissatisfaction and unhappiness. After a prolonged, fruitless search, he finally found a happy man, a cheerful shepherd with his herd, whom the servants of the seeker dragged before him, but who, as it turned out, did not own a shirt.

And then there is the myth of the world’s most beautiful woman, Helen of Troy (the Greeks again), but who caused nothing but trouble for herself and others. Today we have Angelina Jolie, who may be beautiful enough for a myth, but who is also trouble enough, even without causing a ten-year Trojan war. Myths, in other words, don’t come cheap.

Our supreme myth remains that of Paradise Lost, which elicited from John Milton one of the most grandiose poems in the English, or any, language. (I rather prefer George Meredith’s wonderful and very much shorter poem “Lucifer at Midnight.”)
We gather that the supposedly foolish couple of Adam and Eve forfeited eternal blissful, naked, prelapsarian frolicking in God’s pleasure garden, and were condemned to  mortal sojourn on a not all that hospitable earth.

All that for tasting that fateful, Satan-promulgated apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Why should such knowledge have been so illicit, so punishable? Or was it simply the best tree in the Garden that God was reserving for his own snacks? Or was it that God on principle wanted to keep humans on a lower cognitive rung, less competition for himself?

So was that catastrophic Fall from Grace merely a consequence of insubordination, a matter not of grasping special knowledge but of a greater power keeping a lesser one in an inferior position? Instead of a poetic apple to pluck, could it have just as well been a pedestrian potato to dig up? 

There it is then, the myth of Paradise Lost made more mundane than heavenly, almost laughable, on the assumption that a myth is as good as a smile. Conclusion:
Some myths are good, or at least defensible; others are dour and dislikable. Like so much else.



41 comments:

  1. Many myths grow from a seed of truth. Consider the Chinese and their dragons. Now think of the hundreds of dinosaur fossils found in China.

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  2. One might also consider the expulsion from Eden resulting from the tasting of knowledge. What is the fruit of this knowledge?
    Machine guns, fighter jets, nuclear bombs, climate change. Hmmm... almost prescient.

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  4. "We gather that the supposedly foolish couple of Adam and Eve forfeited eternal blissful, naked, prelapsarian frolicking in God’s pleasure garden..."

    But Raphael says to prelapsarian Adam in Book 5 of 'Paradise Lost', lines 497-503, that he and Eve have the possibility of evolving into angelic beings who need no longer reside in Eden:

    Your bodies may at last turn all to Spirit,
    Improv'd by tract of time, and wingd ascend
    Ethereal, as wee, or may at choice
    Here or in Heav'nly Paradises dwell;
    If ye be found obedient, and retain
    Unalterably firm his love entire
    Whose progenie you are.

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    1. Thank you, Noochinator, for introducing me to the word “prelapsarian.” Completely new to me. The 64-dollar question: why does usage of the word start going up in 1945, peak in 2000, and now appears to be fading? Any one have a clue? Any one care other than me? Don’t I have anything better to do? Not at the moment, I guess.

      https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=7&case_insensitive=on&content=prelapsarian&direct_url=t4%3B%2Cprelapsarian%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bprelapsarian%3B%2Cc0%3B%3BPrelapsarian%3B%2Cc0

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    2. Thanks, Joe Carlson, I like the word "antediluvian" too!

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    3. Best word I discovered this week: "subsumption"

      http://www.dictionary.com/browse/subsumption

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  5. Is not George Meredith's poem called 'Lucifer in Starlight'?

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  6. Great to hear Simon's thoughts on a film, however short. That La La Land was "abominable" brings fond memories of past critiques.

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  7. I hope Simon doesn't mind, or that it doesn't violate some kind of copyright, but here is the wonderful poem by Meredith (in case someone hasn't read it).



    Lucifer in Starlight
    BY GEORGE MEREDITH


    On a starred night Prince Lucifer uprose.
    Tired of his dark dominion swung the fiend
    Above the rolling ball in cloud part screened,
    Where sinners hugged their spectre of repose.
    Poor prey to his hot fit of pride were those.
    And now upon his western wing he leaned,
    Now his huge bulk o'er Afric's sands careened,
    Now the black planet shadowed Arctic snows.
    Soaring through wider zones that pricked his scars
    With memory of the old revolt from Awe,
    He reached a middle height, and at the stars,
    Which are the brain of heaven, he looked, and sank.
    Around the ancient track marched, rank on rank,
    The army of unalterable law.

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    1. Thank you, Uncle Kirky.
      Yes, it is somewhat shorter than Paradise Lost, isn't it.

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  8. Some of the things possible these days are more incredible than the stuff of mythic gods. When one thinks of the atomic bomb, television, cell phones, computer technology, modern medicine, airplanes, spaceships, and the like, the stuff of myth is not so mythic.

    I'd like to point out that I used the pronoun "one" instead of "you" while hammering out these incredibly lucid observations showing myself as the literate stud that I know myself to be. One might say that I'm mythic in my literary capabilities. One also might notice that I'm typing into a "grammar helping program" that corrects all (or many) of my grammatical errors. It goes to show not all myths are true.

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    1. To the modern mind, "myth" is synonymous with "not true," and maybe that's because we have so many techno-miracles all around us. We don't feel a need to be awed by the moon, or "throb in response" to symbols that meant everything to pre-modern man. We probably still HAVE the need, but we don't FEEL it.

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  9. It is ironic how we laugh at the silliness of a myth that includes talking snakes but has anyone looked at Washington lately?

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  10. Tweet the legend

    Angelina launched many citizenships,
    O'er her motivations many brood:
    Her Achilles, Brad, with Marion slips,
    Now fabled a big heel for good.

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  11. I would urge all here interested in mythology and/or politics to read the Dana Milbanks article 'Roy Moore and Republicans take the Bible literally but not seriously' at Washingtonpost.com. Especially read the comments.

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    1. Yeah, Joseph married Mary so that makes everything alright. (haha)

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  12. What was really scary about Zeigler's observation was not that this supposedly devout Christian defended Roy Moore by saying that Mary was a teenager and Joseph was older and they had a child together. Apparently he completely forgot that Mary was a virgin and impregnated by God Himself!

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    1. It's also interesting how white supremacists love Jesus but hate Jews!???? 😁

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    2. I think he forgot about Jesus' younger sibling, "Rick". He may have gotten the two mixed up. Rick was the one who ran the diner on the outskirts of Bethlehem. Served up a helluva scrapple with eggs and hashbrowns.

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    3. Just goes to show that the people "runnin' things" are completely human. Meaning, that they they're stupid as shit and have no real grasp of reality.

      I hesitate to criticize, though, because I may not be that much better. I always have the head on a swivel.

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    4. D'ja know God had a daughter too?

      https://thoughtcatalog.com/jim-goad/2017/06/the-day-god-the-father-decided-he-wanted-a-daughter-too/

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  13. I believe all Christians owe a thank you to Roy Moore of Alabama. He has singlehandedly proven that the book of Genesis is not a myth after all. He has demonstrated to all the world that snakes really DO talk!

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  14. DEBUNKING MYTHS

    Roy Moore, Based Poles, and the Black Death

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vv6YlOm6254


    Five reasons we need a war with Iran

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4Pv0wUZgqs

    Do Androids Dream Of Electric Mohels?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyQI_LGyzZ8

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  15. Trumps war on religion

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFXSIoS9gUo

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  16. Fact over Myth. Hillary hates Groids.

    https://dailystormer.hk/based-hillary-literally-enslaved-thousands-of-feral-super-predator-nogs-in-libya/

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  17. Myth of Jewish Powerlessness

    https://dailystormer.hk/new-bills-in-congress-will-make-boycotting-israel-a-criminal-offense/

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  18. Myth of Negro Nobility

    http://stuffblackpeopledontlike.blogspot.com/2017/11/89-year-old-white-world-war-ii-veteran.html

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  19. Myth of racial equality

    https://www.amren.com/videos/2017/10/lets-break-taboo/

    https://www.amren.com/videos/2017/10/lets-break-taboo-part-2/

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  21. America First with NJF - ROY MOORE IS INNOCENT

    https://youtu.be/2qJjx_hDBak?t=4m9s

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  22. Miley Cyrus, the heroine of 'progressivism'

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3SNCMIhFwk

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  23. Myth of pussy con

    Richard Spencer Calls Out Lauren Southern

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rdt56Yp2GLI

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  24. We might as well also acknowledge that Donald Trump has confirmed that the Antichrist of the Revelation of St. John is also not a myth.

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    2. New York Times denounce 'pure blood' in Poland.

      Globalists cry for Mixed Blood again.

      How did mixed-blood come about in the Ottoman Empire? Much imperialism and rape.

      How did mixed-blood come about in Latin America? Much imperialism and rape.

      How did mixed-blood come about in Central Asia? Much imperialism and rape.

      How does China intended to fix its Tibetan problem? Blood mixing.

      How did some blacks become mulattoes in the past? White Master power over blacks.
      How come white women are having mulatto babies? Black men as master race over cucked out white men.

      What did the US do in Vietnam during the war. Turned countless women into whores and race-mixed with them and left their kids behind.

      Sordid history of race-mixing indeed.

      PS. New York Times will be more consistent if it insisted on Israel allowing Right of Return and massive blood-mixing between Jews and Arabs. But Jews wisely try to minimize such.

      PSS. Even though Jewish-European blood is mixed, Jewish community made a great effort to minimize the mixing over the yrs prior to modern era. That is how the identity survived.
      As long as a people are not imperialist and don’t seek domination over OTHERS, what does it matter if they prefer their own blood in their own land? Sounds DEFENSIVE to me. Also, if Poles insist on Polish blood, then there is less chance that Polish women will become commoditized whores to be bought and sold by globalists.

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  25. Interracialism is racial supremacism. It says white women should go with superior black men and reject white men as cucky dorks.

    Anglo-Saxons turning into Junglo-Saxons.

    http://voxday.blogspot.com/2017/11/happy-sjwmas.html

    A continent, not a government

    http://voxday.blogspot.com/2017/11/a-continent-not-government.html

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  26. Gary Bullshit Fitzgerald strikes me as a dork cuck. I'll bet he sees black men as superior who should have first dibs on white women while he plays role of white loser.

    I'll bet Fitzgerald supports 'inclusion' and massive invasion of the West by African savages. Why? He's PC and his main self-identity is feeling smugly holier-than-thou by opposing 'racism' that simply means the right of white races to survive.

    https://twitter.com/MarkACollett/status/932180898820313089

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  27. Shit, I hope you don't represent the 'white' race. You make me so proud to be an American.

    Now, get off your knuckles and take your meds.

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  28. Who the hell taught Jethro Bodine how to type?

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