In a recent conversation with a Biblical man, I was reminded of the clash of myths going on in our culture today, even in the election with the candidacy of Huckabee, who stands on the Bible as his platform. We cannot avoid this cosmic battle, but we can transcend it through understanding of the roots of myth. Reading Joseph Campbell again is like having one’s computer defragmented.
Campbell goes to the three beginnings of all cosmic myths: The primitive pre-civilization myths that affirm life as both life and death (visit the Mayan culture); life negating myths (visit Jainism and the ascetic withdrawal from life); and the middle east compromise that began in the ancient city states of Mesopotamia (visit the Bible). This third way is what’s interesting because it is us.
This is the worldview that says I’ll affirm creation when it gets in line with my needs. In other words, reality is seen as a progression towards perfection. Completion and salvation is always coming tomorrow. Both science and the three Middle East religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, are shaped by this worldview (another name for myth). Science say utopia will come when we get enough knowledge; religion says utopia will come when we get in the right relationship with God. But both views are within the constraints of time. Not now but tomorrow they say because the world of this present moment is fallen and can’t get up. But don’t despair, one says man can fix it, the other says God can fix it.
Opposed to this worldview, and coming up through its cracks in our modern psyche like geysers at Yellowstone is the Eastern worldview that raises the possibility of transcending time and affirming life as it is in the present moment. Instead of tomorrow, there is only now, so be here this view says.
Hence, today there is a terrible confusion in our society as to the nature of reality. Man has never been so confused, except maybe when the Middle Ages collapsed. But out of its death sprang the Renaissance and a new flower of consciousness.
I think man will look back on this age when mythos collapsed and a new transcendent consciousness of man was born, a consciousness that was awakened by Gautama Buddha first and then Jesus.
Posted under current events
This post was written by ed on January 31, 2008