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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Myth and History

Myth and History

Last night I woke up and jotted down the following.

Myth: continuous, joins, fuses, blurs, weaves; spoken/ song, performance, elusive rainbow- vanishes, moves. Thoughts.

History: discontinuous, discrete (Turing machine) breaks down, fixes, splits, divides, recorded. Written language.

with TRANSLATION as a connecting theme, shown with curving arrows suggesting movement between myth and history, history and myth.

For my self, this is sufficient. It is clear to me that I am constantly, continually, continuously moving back and forth between myth and history, from the real to the unreal and back again.

Finding myth in history and history in myth.

At this moment, the mythic prevails: "Turn off your mind relax and float down stream..."

It requires an effort of will to stop. To break up the flow into words. To enter into history, into the present /past/ future as distinct entities. To communicate. There is nothing to say, or at least nothing new to say. Myth is a totality. It just is. Or to speak historically "IT" just "IS".

A statement which is meaningless from the perspective of historical consciousness. What exactly is this 'IT' which 'IS'? Myth is so vague, so generalised, so infuriatingly smug. Isn't myth really just some lunched-out, tripped-out hippie hypnotised by the flow of sensations, unable to distinguish and differentiate between destructive and creative forces and entities?

Isn't myth the Spectacle? The Spectacle the myth from which we must awaken? An awakening which requires full consciousness of history? "Before you slip into unconsciousness, I'd like to have another kiss...." [Doors/Crystal Ship]

yes...but... I have blitzed myself into consciousness through fast and furious / slow and detailed attempts to understand history. Not just one bit of history, but many. From cosmology and the origins of the universe, the pre-human history of the evolution of life on earth, the development of human culture and the first civilisations of the ancient near east, the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, British history, European history, world history and local history. The history of philosophy, of religions, of technology, of science, of art, of magick, of the counterculture, of punk.... of computers and the nuclear bomb. Of the internet and world wide web.

So many fragments, so much confusion. Yet within the confusion, amongst the fragments the patterns of myths weave their spell. Myth seems to me to be the driving force of history. Imposible ideals towards which we strive or against which we struggle. At times even Reason itself can seem a myth, a chimera, a delusion.

Has there ever been a time, even now, when myth has not been used/ abused to motivate action? Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction. They were a myth. Nuclear power is not the answer to global climate change; belief in its practicality is a myth.

Myth in this historical sense is nothing but delusion. But from the mythical perspective, history is an illusion. To be sure, events happen, but even as they happen, the significance and actuality of 'events' become distorted and manipulated, become part of the Spectacle. History is and always will be distorted by its incorporation into the discourse of power.

Reality exists, but it exists as myth, not history. By which I mean that reality can be - necessarily is- experienced by each of us as individuals and as participants in our particular societies/ cultures - but the meaning of our experiences eludes historical analysis. We create meaning subjectively and our subjectivity flows 'naturally' into myth-as-narrative.


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