Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What's with this myth business? / 2

Dear Tolkien--looking over some other things about his life--seems to have drunk deeply from the mystics, which seems to put him for me into the category of great English professors and writers, who think they are great at philosophy or theology or both, in addition to fantasy writing, but truly have their limitations in those regards.  Their fictional side runs away with them.  It does not work in all spheres, gentlemen.  It's not that simple.  I would say, if they asked me.  Maybe it's no wonder that the movie industry has turned the books into action flicks that the Tolkien family is deeply satisfied with, as we hear this week in advance of the opening of the Hobbit.  Maybe the sophistry of this myth business isn't that workable.  Still, I wonder why it doesn't bother me, when Lewis says about the Narnia series, that the underlying premise is that just because there is one place, why should there not be another place.  He likened it to being a boy away a boarding school.  He slaves away far from the comforts of home and the freedom of summer holidays, the woods and field and shore and many adventures.  Such as there are summer holidays and there is slaving at boarding school, such there can be one place and another, and while you are in one, it is hard to imaging the other until you are there and then it all happens in reverse.  This works for me.  There is more than I can know or imagine.  That's alright.  But this myth talk is just double-speak to me.

I also want to quote some things from the German philosophers around that time, their looking for genius (Fuehrer) and mythology.  When I have time, but soon.  These will be from a book by Karla Poewe, "New Religions and the Nazis".  Some of this, seems to me to connect in cogent ways.

In the meantime, glancing at my favorite place to get irritated at, I see this outgrowth of the myth thinking.  This is the Christmas message--believe it or not.  What is it we are supposed to get out of it?  Are we allowed to say anything definite about it?  Did something actually happen?  What am I supposed to glean?

It is very difficult not to impute into the very unassuming original story all the grand assumptions of our time. We don’t know what happened. We can’t rely on the texts for historical accuracy. Our minds gather all the accretions built up over the centuries and assign the magnificent edifice of these traditions to whatever happened in the first century. We don’t know what happened.
But something happened. The borrowed mythologies and hopes combined together with an event that is hopelessly buried in our own mythologies and hopes. But something happened that changed the way we perceive reality and That-Which-We-Call-God.

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