Myths true and false

Myths true and false

Myths are understood here as narratives, both ancient and modern, embodying popular ideas about natural or social phenomena. A myth never defines a deep truth in a verifiably objective manner, nor do its originators make such a claim. Nevertheless, myths (including, for example, the creation myths of all ancient cultural traditions including the Judeo-Christian and Maori) often convey insights into truths deeper than the scientifically verifiable. Yet in this age of confusing abstractions it is all too easy for people at the grassroots to passively accept a myth that conveys verifiable falsehood. This piece of writing describes only one myth said to be “true,” then discusses several popularly spread myths that may not stand up to critical scrutiny.

A MYTHIC TRUTH

In the deep core of each of us from conception grows

the seedling of the loveliest truth: life is wondrous.

 

We emerge breathing delight: embracing, wide-eyed,

immediate unquestioned openness to joy,

love, beauty, grace, wonder, relationships;

pain of course as the necessary obverse of delight,

death to be seen far off in the undreamed future

as the necessary precursor to vibrant new life.

But the new-born’s tiny universe is known to be

embraced, nourished, centred, in the wonder of now.

 

Thus, unlearned, we arrive ready-gifted with the

mythic vocabulary, the inner reality, of early childhood.

Those of us who reckon we’ve outgrown the life-myth

need to observe, truly listen to, small children

if we’re to be reborn in the spirit of truth.

Their wisdom is the wisdom of all the ages.

 

The true mystics, today and since the dawn of human

inquiry, are indeed childlike. They may be hard to find,

not at all famous in the eyes of the world and its institutions

because the invariable trait of those who go really deep,

beneath the smokescreens of the hoped-for but false self

and of trite religiosity, is joyous humility.

 

 

FALSE MYTH 1

Space-time is finite, linear, complete.

Nope.

There’s no outer boundary.

Yet this moment in this tiny spot in the universe is the

only one presented to you personally right now.

Read the ancient myths again and the latest in science.

Know that the creation is always in process,

that humankind is a very recent presence in the story of

life’s evolution, that everything, everyone, from sub-atomic

particle to galaxy, the life of topsoil and your life in

partnership-family-neighbourhood-community-society-

work-farm-garden is centred not in individual positions

but in the inner content of relationships.

Know too that “heaven” is not just for “later.”

 

FALSE MYTH 2

Gifted faith among us humans is to do with an all-powerful,

supernatural, remote being playing favourites

(only within humankind),

contactable when we feel like it,

occasionally intervening from “out there.”

 

Nope.

How about vulnerable self-giving love: natural, down-to-earth,

here and now, poured out  indiscriminately for all, to be

encountered in all that is natural including all people,

enjoying and caring for all life, graciously inviting our

responsive celebration and sharing, individually and together,

in the same work of the presence of love incarnate in the world?

 

FALSE MYTH 3

We humans are supernaturally endowed with unique,

elite status in the universe, each of us having an individual value

in a bell-curve of worth, whether allotted from “on high”

or by trickling down to passive consumers from powers here below.

 

Nope.

Those who seek deep truth using the eye of the soul via

contemplation, whether in a religious tradition

(Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, shamanist, whatever)

or a superficially secular tool like modern mindfulness,

are rendered humble by that truth, knowing the love at the

beginning and end of everything is for each intimately and

all unconditionally.

True mystics rubbish the notion that the leaders

and scholars of at least some religious institutions have,

as it were, supernatural hotlines to the throne of grace

so the rest of us think we can leave the deep stuff to them.

As for elite species status, look and listen to what’s happening

in the vast ecologies of topsoil, forest floor, ocean depth,

bee populations!

Our gifts of freedom, consciousness, language,

are not for our gratification but for sharing and caring

in grateful works of healing, nurture and justice for all people,

indeed the creation. “The environment” is not there mainly for us

to use and admire. It has its own integrity whether our species

is there or not. It’s not “ours” but we are invited to play a special

role as fellow-species within it, acknowledging our duty of care.

 

FALSE MYTH 4

The global behemoth known as The Market can be trusted

to channel growth of sustainable well-being with justice for all, both

the human species and the entire biosphere, through future centuries.

Nope

Let’s begin by asking who and what are the drivers of

the mysterious creature called The Economy in the media.

Who is accountable? To whom? Personally and locally, as

experienced by all the people who work, consume, create,

husband resources, nurture family life, under its power?

Are values like health, justice and long vision into future

generations assigned more preciousness than

drivers of fear and greed.

To what extent has monetarism parted company with the

realities of the planet, the quality of all its life, including the

most vulnerable of our species, now and

through the centuries ahead?

Is this thing “The Economy” more real, more earthed,

than a mega-abstraction?

Why the widening inequality gap? Why is excessive gross

consumption encouraged daily by the marketers?

Why is net per-capital debt (household, state, local businesses)

so high? Such questioning will confirm that some influential

leaders, corporations, financiers, politicians and other players

indeed act with reasonable ethics given their unavoidable

constraints. But surely it’s important to the inheritance

of human generations far into the future, indeed to the health

of the whole planet, that such questions are asked,

and the answers debated, at the grassroots of society.

 

FALSE MYTH 5

Science can diagnose all that’s wrong in the

world now and all that threatens life’s fullness in future

generations, offering the seeds of remedies for development

by the wonder-workers of technology.

Nope

Science in a historically short recent time has achieved

and continues to achieve wondrous understandings of

“life, the universe and everything.”

As every important piece of research is completed,

more new theories, more questions, more mysteries emerge.

I suggest that there are points at the leading edge of research

calling for meetings of minds and souls between scientists and

true mystics. Mysticism, as understood here, addresses the

really real, the natural world, not supernaturalism.

That, problematic as it is, raises one

caveat to the idea that science merits all-encompassing faith.

A second is raised by posing many of the questions raised

about faith in “The Market.”

To what extent does the funding of science compromise its

integrity as seeker after unbiased truth?

The same question is more obviously answered in respect

to technology.

There’s need for critically informed public forums on this;

a challenge to education, to free journalism and to religion.

 

© Boyd Wilson 2017

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