Tags

, , , , ,

For those who don’t know, logos is reason, order, logic. Our Lord is sometimes called Logos, as is His word, on account of the fact that He brings order to our chaos. We’ll call this “logos” objective reality or material truth.

Mythos is myth, legend, the stuff of fairytales and romance. We’ll call it subjective truth, how we interpret reality, what we make of things we have been given, how we process the information we receive.

I, like many others, tend to believe our society is having a major crisis of meaning, and that what is missing from the societal recipe is actually mythos. We’ve become very materialistic, very science minded, very anti-religion. We have falsely equated mythos with fiction or lies and as such rejected it as not valid.

This is a tricky point to make because many people look at our crazy world full of confused people where reality appears totally subjective, and falsely conclude that we just need more logos, more reason and facts, more truth, less feelings. That is the wrong diagnosis of the problem and as such, the wrong prescription. When a group of people or a culture is missing it’s mythos, that hunger goes unfulfilled and so it tries to satisfy itself in unhealthy ways.

It seems self evident to me that our materialistic idealization of science and technology has produced some of the craziest, most bizarre, most unrealistic notions our imaginations could possibly conjure up. In fact, I’m afraid to even say that, least we take it as a challenge and try to come up with something crazier.

The more we try to pride ourselves on what reason based creatures we are, the crazier and less reason based we get. We people are total inverters, like we will hang upside down on the monkey bars, complain that the world is upside down, and than proceed to try to fix it in all the wrong ways.

It’s no coincidence that the louder we scream “respect the science,” the louder we also demand everyone respect the pronouns of people who self identify as sea lions. That innate hunger for mythos does not go away, it just begins to express itself in odd and often unhealthy ways. I have a theory that a great deal of our current addiction epidemic has a lot to do with our innate need for mythos going unmet and unfulfilled in modern culture.

Mythos is what gives our lives meaning, it’s what helps us to process our suffering, it’s what connects us to the past, it’s what allows us to honor tradition and history. It is also what connects us to the spiritual, the supernatural. We are social creatures partially lead by our collective narratives. Narratives are simply the stories we would tell one another while sitting around the campfire. They are legends and shared beliefs. Tales of dragon slaying and heroism, where the literal facts are really secondary to the deeper truths that are being conveyed. Mythos is simply another form of truth, and it is truth we desperately need, like our bodies need protein.

Which brings me to venison. The other day I wrote of a deer that was put down and the outrage expressed about it, primarily by those who also seem to subscribe to the narrative that a fetus is just a meaningless clump of cells, or worse yet in some circles, actually deserving of a somewhat celebratory execution. It’s exceedingly bizarre, an irrational juxtaposition, but that really is the narrative. What is missing from the whole recipe is the collective mythos of humanity and without it, we just begin to invert reality.

It is partly from sitting around the campfire sharing legends, myths, and fairytales that we form the mythos that teaches us that our own offspring, the life we create, has tremendous value, sacred value, and bears the image of God, whereas deer are simply beautiful creatures and venison is good for sustaining life. These are deeper truths one cannot learn in an exclusively materialistic environment, one based on alleged reason and logos.

It is the world of mythos that connects us to our children, to a fetus yet unborn, unseen. Faith has a substance, it is real, but it is invested in things hoped for, based on the evidence of things not yet seen. We don’t check out a chair to make sure it is structurally sound and calculate the physics involved, we sit because our mythos has taught us that chairs are built for sitting in.

Abortion is simply a symptom of a materialistic world, a world dominated by logos, a scientific world completely devoid of mythos, and as such, devoid of ethics, too.

Mythos and logos, subjective and objective reality, philosophy is just one form of language we can use to describe this tragic state of affairs. I run about calling myself insanitybytes, speaking of fairytales and romance and embracing the madness, because I know that God lives right on the other side of our own logos, right on the other side of our own pride in our alleged reason, right where He has always been. The absence of mythos, the rejection of spirituality as meaningless “woo” is part of what separates us, not only from our Creator, but from one another.

I sometimes say we are made in the image of our Creator who creates, who spoke the world into existence, so we ourselves are little creators. Our words can also speak things into existence, perhaps not galaxies, but whole worlds just the same. It’s our mythos that can take what God has given us and reflect it back to Him in a pleasing way. What is pleasing to God is also going to be pleasing to us because we are made of the same stuff.

I can’t speak of this without speaking of Jesus, because He is like breathing for me, He is the language I speak, but this same truth about the human need for mythos, as a significant part of a healthy cultural recipe, as foundational to our ethics, is also revealed in philosophy, science, psychology, and the wisdom of tradition and history.