The Need For Myths

Fairy Tale

Myths are stories of our search through the ages for truth, for meaning, for significance. We all need to tell our story and to understand our story. We all need to understand death and to cope with death, and we all need help in our passages from birth to life and then to death.

It may really not be possible to do away with myths. The myth is as much a part of the human need as the allure of it. Even when one does not want to, there will come a time when a person feels the need for a story. This inner need expresses itself as a search, or as a desire. It may come early in life or it may come late. Nevertheless, a person who thinks, is bound to realize a sense of emptiness. Nothing but a story could fill it. All a person would want or hope for is to find a good story, and then, live it.

Finding one’s myth

This is where one person differs from another. It’s easy to understand. What isn’t easy to understand is always, why one person chooses one story to understand his reality, while someone else chooses another. It is to be understood that: Till the time a person finds the story – the myth – that satisfyingly explains his existence and gives purpose to his mind, his soul, the power within is still not released. It is looking for its expression. The myth provides the expression. Only then, when one goes deep into his personal myth, is it no longer just a story, but life itself. Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.

Every culture ought to provide a satisfying myth to the people it holds – one might say – captive. Yes, cultures hold at least some persons captive, while the vast majority are simply organized by it. This is what we understand to be a society. Is that not true? The exceptional individuals of society – the artists, the searchers, the thinkers, and the visionaries – if they succeed in finding their creativity-unlocking-myth, will then become the heroes and the leaders. They may even one day become legends that others recall with some fondness and some fear.

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’18 A To Z Challenge – Q

Challenge '18
letter-q

 

I recently found that I’m a

QUIDNUNC

Shabby Man

It’s okay.  I’ve been called worse.  A quidnunc is a nosy old man.  And here I thought that I was just an interested observer of the human condition.  I am fascinated by the most mundane of details about the people who I come into contact with – what their name means, and what ethnic background they come from.  Even if I ask you a question which you refuse to answer because you feel that it is too personal, I still learn something about you.

Actually, a quidnunc is:  noun

  1. a person eager to learn news and scandal; gossipmonger
    a person who is eager to know the latest news and gossip; a gossip or busybody.

Origin of quidnunc

First recorded in 1700–10, quidnunc is from the Latin word quid nunc – what now?

Up until about a century ago, the upper social crust liked to study Latin and Attic Greek, the Classical Languages, and show off their education by scattering Greek and Latin terms into their conversations.  That is largely gone now.  Rapidly advancing technology leaves very little spare time to learn dead languages.

Quidnunc is now a seldom-used, archaic term.  It originally applied to someone of any age, but matured to indicate only nosy older men.  Aside from this blog-post, you may never run into it again for the rest of your life.  If you do, it will almost certainly be applied to some old dude with suspenders, and his pants hiked up almost to his armpits, probably at Shoney’s at 4:00 PM, for the Early Bird Special.

Please stop back again soon.  I’d like to play a game of Twenty Questions.  😉

WOW #29

Fuck It

I was going to publish this post earlier, but I didn’t remember to.   😳  A previous A To Z was about the word “Forgettery.”  This one’s about the same thing, just with the slightly more upscale name of

OBLIVESCENCE

The act of forgetting Oblivescence dates from the late 19th century and is a later spelling of obliviscence, which dates from the late 18th century. The spelling oblivescence arose by influence of the far more common suffix -escence. The English noun is a derivative of the Latin verb oblīviscī “to forget,” literally “to wipe away, smooth over.” The Latin verb is composed of the prefix ob- “away, against” and the same root as the adjective lēvis “smooth.”

Oblivescence has such a rich, round, regal sound to it. Today’s modern society is so chock-full of need-to-know technical knowledge, that the history, pride and good manners of our more elegant past are being forgotten.  There was a time when you could call another man a liar without calling him a liar, by saying that his claim was ‘mendacity, Sir.

Today’s schoolchildren are not taught to add, subtract, multiply or divide. Rather, they are trained to use a calculator.  There’s one inside every computer and Smart phone. “Siri, how much is 12 times 17?” They are not taught cursive writing, but rather how to use a keyboard, or even a little touchscreen.  Kids have forgotten how to pick up and use pencils, pens and crayons, but will soon evolve powerful thumbs from texting.

We have forgotten how to debate, or even how to have a polite conversation with those who don’t totally agree with us. Society has forgotten good manners and tolerance.  We, as writers, should attempt to help others recall kind acceptance.  Remember what your Mother taught you; “Play nice with others!”   😀

Childlike Grace

Bible

When I was a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Blogger Barry, in a recent post, said that he’d halted on his path to becoming an Atheist. He does not say that it was because he was taught that Atheists are evil, nasty or sinful, but that is the reason that many ex-Christians won’t admit that they have become Atheists.

Tired of the judgemental, accusatory, denominational bureaucracy and hypocrisy, he still wished to identify as ‘spiritual.’ It is quite possible to be spiritual, without being a member of any Christian sect.  His last stop before getting off the Christian bus, was at Mormon.

He still visited Atheist websites, and admitted that he had remained a Christian. He was amazed at the vehemence of some militant Atheists, who insisted that any and all religions were harmful.  He admitted that, being ‘inside the box,’ perhaps he did not understand the claim.  He asked, if he was not harming himself, or anyone else, how could his being a Christian be harmful?

When we tell small children that Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy exist, are we harming them, or society in general? Probably not, or only a minuscule amount.  However, when children get to be 7, 8, 9 years old, we tell them the truth, and show them reality.  To allow them to grow into adults who still believe in things like the Tooth Fairy, can cause harm in a variety of ways.

If an individual or sect is allowed to treat their particular and peculiar superstition as reality, then both the believers and society are harmed. It also inserts the thin edge of a wedge.  If one is, then all religious opinions must be accepted, no matter how strange or unreal.  The more people there are, who treat fantasy as fact when dealing with life and the general public – the fewer people who cannot and/or do not, deal with secular reality – the more harm is caused, both to the believers and to society.

Critical thinking is incredibly hard, but also incredibly important. We can’t learn and grow without it.  We have to question our own ideas and motivations, so that we don’t get stuck on there being only one correct, acceptable idea.

Next comes the slippery slope. Once strange unprovable beliefs are allowed, the holders quickly try to turn acceptance into licence.  If politically powerful enough, they try to pass laws enforcing membership in their sect, and making disagreement with their views into heresy and apostasy.  Kindly old George H. W. Thousand Points Of Light Bush once said that Atheists should not be allowed to be American citizens, or patriots.

My opinion of Blogger Barry’s intelligence and mental strength, based only on reading a few of his posts, is that he is not, and probably won’t ever be, directly harmful to society. Sadly, he’s one in 10,000 – or maybe a million.  There are countless hordes, who are only too willing to use their religion as a justification to inflict physical, mental, emotional, social, or financial pain and damage to countless other victims.

God is for the wise. Religions are for fools.  If only more people would grow out of the childish need for an imaginary friend to protect and guide them, and become adult enough to face the universe and life as it really is, and not just how they wish it were.   😦  😯

2017 A To Z Challenge – O

Challenge2017*

I am an Optimist.  Not a cockeyed optimist.  Not a naïve, ‘everything will turn out right’, optimist.   Not a wide-eyed, slack-grinned, Pollyanna, ‘everything is great’, optimist.  Not a Little Orphan Annie, ‘The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow’ optimist.  Not even one of those Optimist guys who goes to monthly urban-improvement meetings.  I just always hope for the best from people and society.

letter-o

On the other hand, I’m also a flint-hard-minded, cynical realist. I hope for the best, but expect the worst from people, and I’m seldom disappointed, Trust – But Verify.

The optimist thinks that we live in the best of all possible worlds.
The pessimist fears that that statement is true.

During my childhood, alone in my neighborhood, I sometimes reached out to other children (guys) living blocks away, to show them things I’d discovered during my solitary explorations. Almost without exception, whatever was not stolen, was destroyed, preventing further enjoyment by them, me, or the rightful owner.  It’s still an all-too-common attitude in the world today, which I just don’t understand!  😯

I would like to believe that, with the information age, and increasing education and technology, the world is slowly rising to be a better place.  Certainly, within the more civilized sections, torture and arbitrary executions have mostly disappeared.  Then I see militant Islam terror attacks against Christian countries, and one type of Muslim killing and driving out another.

Islamofascists are trying to control/prevent the dissemination of information and concepts that they do not approve of, especially via the internet. That genie (if you’ll excuse the expression) is already out of the bottle.  I hope that the tipping point has been reached, and, no matter how many AK-47s or Semtex explosive they use, knowledge and social freedom will still continue to spread.

In the western world, it seems restricted to acts like a local LGBTF-friendly church recently having its entryway sidewalk graffitied, “The Church Shall Remain Holy.” Since they are welcoming the same sort of social rejects that Christ did, they feel that they are holy, and plan to have another artist ‘frame’ the graffiti, and seal it with a transparent coat, turning it from an act of hate, to an inclusive act of love.

So much of life has become polarized – Blue States vs. Red States – White Supremacists – tear down historical statues – Fundamentalists trying to drag society back into superstitious days.

I hope!
I hope!
I hope!

I don’t think that I will live long enough to see very much total improvement. I’d like to say, ‘Two steps forward – One step back’, but often it seems like 12 steps forward, 11 steps backward.  I hope that progress will continue.  I hope that my children and grandchildren will live in a better world than the one that I did.  I am optimistic!

***

This is the closest that I’ve finished a blog composition before posting, since I wrote my first 13 directly into WordPress. It was completed only a half an hour before my self-imposed schedule said that it was to be published.  I don’t even think it was because of my procrastination – more like, I just couldn’t organize my thoughts, and decide where it was going.  Since I’m supposed to have three, in a Word file, ready to go at all times, I’d better get going at P, Q, and R.  😳

Twisted, Sister

I am attracted by clever twists in the way words are used. Here are some examples.

  • Atheists can’t solve exponential problems because they do not believe in higher powers.
  • An invisible man married an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at either.
  • Alcohol and calculus don’t mix. Don’t drive and derive.
  • A small boy swallowed some coins and was taken to hospital. His grandmother telephoned to ask how he was. A nurse said ‘No change yet.’
  • A noun and a verb were dating, but they broke up because the noun was too possessive.
  • A man needs a mistress just to break the monogamy.
  • A hangover is the wrath of grapes.

***

Speech pathologists do it orally.
Flutists do it sideways.
Electrical Engineers do it in parallel.
Mathematicians can do it at any angle.
Potato farmers do it with appeal.
Computer scientists simulate it.
Hackers do it when the system goes down.
Submariners do it deeper.

***

Helping your father

A clergyman walking down a country lane and sees a young farmer struggling to load hay back onto a cart after it had fallen off.

“You look hot, my son.” said the cleric. “Why don’t you rest a moment, and I’ll give you a hand.”

“No thanks,” said the young man.  “My father wouldn’t like it.”

“Don’t be silly,” the minister said.  “Everyone is entitled to a break. Come and have a drink of water.”

Again the young man protested that his father would be upset.

Losing his patience, the clergyman said, “Your father must be a real slave driver. Tell me where I can find him and I’ll give him a piece of my mind!”

“Well,” replied the young farmer, “he’s under the load of hay.”

***

Nonconformists are all alike

***

We have enough youth,
how about a fountain of smart?

***

WARNING – You are about to exceed the limit of my medication!

***

Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country
are decent, hard-working, honest Americans. It’s
the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity.
But then … we elected them.

***

A Texas girl and a woman from New York meet at a
party. The Texas gal says, “Hi! Where y’all from?”

The New Yorker sticks her nose in the air like
she’s checking for rain, and replies, “Where I
come from, we don’t end our sentences with a
preposition.”

Texas gal says, “Fine. Where y’all from…bitch!”

***

Thank God for the IRS. Without them I’d be
stinking rich!

***

Why were there only 49 contestants for the “Miss
Ebonics U.S.A.” Pageant?

No contestant wanted to wear the banner that
said “Idaho!”

***

If at first you do succeed, try not to look astonished.

***

Flash Fiction Inflation

VISTA EVENESCENT

 

tree2bcrook

 

 

 

 

 

It’s tough being nine years old, and alone.  He had climbed part-way up this big old oak tree back in the spring, but it had taken a boost from his friend Gordon, to get him up to the first forking of the trunk, where he could get handholds.  Now, Gordon was away on holidays, which was one of the reasons he was wandering his neighborhood alone.

He took a run at the tree, planted his right foot on the knee of a protruding root, lunged upward, and caught the fallen branch, stuck in the crotch.  Swiftly he climbed, and soon the tree had lifted him into its topmost branches.  Unusual in a town full of maples, this oak was the tallest tree, and sat at the top of the highest hill.  The view from up here was magnificent.

He was as high as the top of the nearby water tower, the entire town spread out below him.  Right beneath him was the park, with its empty ball diamond.  Down the hill was the arena.  He could see tiny cars, and miniature people walking.  Below him were three church roofs and bell towers.  Beyond was the main street, with its businesses.  It led right down to the lake and the beach.  The crystal blue water and the bright white sand both sparkled in the sun.

Lighthouse Lighthouse II

 

 

 

 

 

Off to the south, the sandy island sat half a mile offshore, with its stone lighthouse.  He seemed level with the top of its 100 foot tower.  A bit to the north, he could see the river mouth, with the commercial fishing boats chugging into and out of the harbor.

Boat

A block down the street, where the highway crossed the main street, stood the century-old red-brick town hall, with its four-sided clock tower.  Just this side, was the library, where he usually checked out a couple of books each week.  A block to the right was the elementary school where he would happily return to his education in a couple of weeks.

Townhall School

 

 

 

What he could see, was his entire, nine-year-old’s universe.  What he could not see, from his eagle’s perch, with his youngster’s eagle eyes, was the oncoming juggernaut of maturity, physical aging, responsibility, and social change.

All too soon, he would not have the time or the freedom, the strength or the agility, the acceptance or the inclination, to randomly wander his tiny town, talking to bullfrogs or climbing trees just for the fun of it.

Soon, like a Monarch butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, he would leave his protective, supportive home to seek training and experience, employment and income, marriage and family.  What was now his entire universe, would become first, merely the center of his greatly expanded universe, and finally, just a reflection in the time-fogged rear-view mirror of fond memory.

Instead of remaining a carefree child, he would become one of millions of parents.  While he would not do so, most of the others would allow, even urge, their millions of children to embrace myriad electronic distractions and babysitters, till they could not think or act for themselves, instead of encouraging them to read and learn.

In the name of protecting the children, the parents would cocoon them, and change them into hydroponic couch potatoes, denying them the chance to run and play, to enjoy the sun and fresh air, to commune with nature and build strong, healthy bodies and minds.  And so would begin the slow, perhaps inevitable, slide into oblivion, of the great, free society.

 

This is the expanded version of a thought which recently triggered a 100 word story on the Flash Fiction stage, along with some observations, feelings, and pretty pictures.  Much of this has previously appeared here, but I like the redecorating job.  How about you?