Re: virus: Religious Memes

Tim Rhodes (
Fri, 7 May 1999 00:26:22 -0700

James Veverka wrote:

>No, I don't need myth. I am the hero, the villain, the god, the devil,
>the winner, the loser, the lover, the hater; the friend, the whole

You are not the whole story--you don't even believe that yourself. If you really thought you were "the whole story" you wouldn't be so dependent on upon outside sources for the plot lines of your own personal myths. Do you think the story of evolution is anything less than mythic in its structure? Or that of Relativity? Or Quantum Physics? Really...

We are the stories we tell ourselves. We understand ourselves through their telling and re-telling. Science is, to the art of social mythology, what technical writing is to great literature. (But at least the writers of VCR manuals and MSDS sheets aren't silly enough to claim that the _novel_ is the overwhelming cause of folly and wickedness in human beings and should be extinguished.)

>As I said, science is only the information and knowledge derived from
>constant interaction with physical reality. What we do with it is up to

And what kind of fool makes the details of the story more important than a good telling of it? Yet who's telling the story of science? Or are the tellers so wrapped up in the detail that they've forgotten to bring the storyline along with them? (And it will impose itself, with or without their help--for better of worse.)

>Metaphor should be recognized as just that. It is a crystallization that
>has meaning, no more, no less. Myths reflect our substance, not
>the reverse.

The questions we ask come from the stories we tell. And with their answers we shape our world anew. Our substance, in turn, become the reflection our mythologies. What myths are you telling yourself now and why? What new myths do you offer to create a better tomorrow for us all?

-Prof. Tim