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Mythos and Logos and Religious Arrogance

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: December 27, 2005
Latest Update: December 27, 2005

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This piece reproduces e-mail from transform_dom that deals with mythos and logos and the impossibility of proving anything beyond our experience. We can believe it, yes. but prove it, no.

I accidentally typed in 8091 and thus dropped in on this exchangebetween Beau and Mevysen:

Beau wrote in message 8082: "I believe mythic imagination and logical thoughts are opposites." Michael wrote.
The world of ideas has been (falsely?) dichotomized for us, but is it truly so? Cerebral hemispheres might seem to argue yes; I still wonder.

To which Mevysen responded in message 8086:

This goes back to someone's post on reason affecting our beliefs, which I believe is just the opposite. Beliefs much more strongly affect reason, the ID thing for example. And your suggestion of the false dichotomy... If one bieleves there is an opposite polarity will that belief not inform their reasoning? I believe they are interwoven into what we call "life." we are just conditioned to see one and not necessarially the other. Joseph Campbell and Lucas blew that apart with star wars... It is full of rich mythology and logic and reason, even good and evil, and how it is our choice not something out there "give in to the force Luke" Or how Darth Vader became who he was by choice, albeit heavily influenced.... Both made choices one went one way, the other what appears to be the opposite way...

Follow the "up thread" for the whole exchange. jeanne responded in message

Beau, I think in terms of neurological patterns mythos and logos may actually be dealt with similarly in the brain. But in the current religious arrogance of knowingness I find it important to remind us all that beliefs have no "right and wrong" when they pertain to the spiritual sphere in which scientific rationale is not applicable, where scientific theories do have a "right or wrong" in terms of theories always being open to new information and being tentatively held, like Einstein's theory of relativity or Newton's laws. Remember that our objective is illocutionary discourse, not new developments in neuroscience and the mind.

We need to remember that we are not trying to choose who's right and who's wrong, we're trying to hear each other in good faith. If we are talking about facts that can be theoretically and analytically determined from evidence, limited by the evidence we have, knowing that new evidence might come to light, then we can argue rationally, and be reasonably sure that our answers are "right" within the present limits of our knowledge. Evolutionary theory comes in this category. You don't either believe it or not believe it. You look at the evidence and conclude within the limits of present knowledge that it is supported or not supported.

Stories of creation are not provable. We can't collect data to find out which ones are better supported than others by evidence. That goes beyond the limits of our present knowledge. But we can choose to believe. That's a spiritual matter. It is counter productive to most gods' wishes to kill each other over who's belief is "right." Belief is personal, not communal, even when a community shares a belief system. Read Atwater's The Handmaid's Tale for the difficulties in trying to keep any group in consensus on what they believe. Look at the domination and oppression practiced in the name of communism, a secular belief. Read about the War of the Roses on trying to maintain a consensus of Christian belief. Read about the Inquisition in Spain.

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