He was defensive at that time, and for a reason. Like all intelligent people, he knew that the simple myths of virgin birth and a corpse rising from the dead were not true. But he wanted to take me one level above that. He said that mythology, like science, was a vehicle for passing information from one generation to the next. He found myth to be a much better vehicle, and that the truths thereby transmitted to be of far more value than those given us by science.
For me, mythology is a matter of curiosity and not much more. I look at life’s passing in the same way that Bill Hicks did in the video above – it’s a ride. We get on, we get off. What happens while we are here is horrible, wonderful, fascinating, intriguing, and we are powerless to change it. Evil people seem to have control of this place. Good people, like Hicks himself, make early exit. But what the hell – 30, 40, 90 years … what does it matter?
If it is some kind of test, most of us are doomed to repeat second grade. We leave this place knowing not much more than upon entrance. Yes, the myths carry within them important truths. Just as importantly, one must strip the wrappers off the mythology for current use before repackaging it and handing it on. It’s not the wrapper, but the content that matters.
The truths are simple: love, comfort and care for one another, take care of our home and leave it in good shape, remember that you leave your stuff behind when you go. It’s not complicated.
I do not understand why it needs to be packaged as it is. All that does, as I see it, is to empower shamans as intercessors when we can engage our own minds without such help. I see TV preachers taking undue pride in their expertise in memorization of passages of the Bible, pretending that they thereby have superior wisdom … and are therefore worthy of cash contributions from helpless followers.
As George Carlin said, this God we worship who made everything and knows all past, present and future … is always short of cash.
I don’t mind the mythology. Metaphor and storytelling enrich our existence. The recent movie Gravity was a metaphor about a woman who lost a child, and her suffering and survival. That final scene where she gets up, recovers her balance and starts to walk again is so very moving. How wonderful it is to tell the story that way rather than just act it out in real time.
But please remember when you leave the movie theater that it was just a story. That’s really all that bugs me – that serious grown ups believe in angels and demons, and think that movie was about astronauts in space rather than people on earth.