What remains changeless throughout seasonal changes, remains the same in every landscape, environment, climate or society?
You, no matter who, when or where you are. Mythology has always been about you in your environment, you in your world, you among your family, your friends, your enemies. You are the constant observer, the open eye at the center of the world, the hero of every myth, the monster of every adventure, the goal of every quest.
Creation stories are not about the Big Bang that started spacetime, rather, they are the poetry of you waking up each morning from the dreamscape of magic, gods and demons. There is no greater creation than the waking of consciousness, because it is, itself, the ultimate result of every event since the Big Bang. Consciousness is the greatest revolution of evolution and, whatever consciousness really is, it’s our best trick, our greatest tool and the driving force behind our amazing civilization.
Consciousness is the perceiver of time as an elemental force separate from other elemental forces. Animals do not know time, only the promptings of their circadian systems. They know day and night, changes of season and climate, but life is a timeless round that just goes on until it doesn’t. Human beings no longer have that luxury.
This is not mysticism, not fantasy, no longer even science fiction. Consciousness is. The inability of Science to pin it down is not the fault of consciousness; it just doesn’t reflect in a mirror. You cannot take pictures of it, only track its activity within its biological home. To find consciousness, direct experience is all you’ve got.
In order to be born at all, humans are born too young and consciousness is not yet ready; you cannot leap up and run behind mother. You are not born quite as helpless as some fellow mammals, but you must learn everything. Consciousness doesn’t even know how to focus the visual display when you first arrive; just standing up and walking takes years of practice. You are born pre-equipped with sophisticated hardware and miraculous operating software, but you are on your own for maintenance after that.
Almost on your own.
You have an AI system, your unconscious, an autopilot programmed to keep you alive or die trying. This “artificial intelligence” has all the qualifications of a human being except one, consciousness.
That’s where you come in.
Until you do arrive, however, your AI/unconscious is in control of the biological infrastructure which houses and informs your perception of Self. Your body is your mooring in spacetime, the magical starship in which your explore space and experience time. You are captain and pilot, seated at the bridge between your eyes.
Your AI has a layered structure, with the deepest level being the actual hardwiring of the system which maintains your biological continuity; do not mess with these without tech support.
The next levels up are the wiring of your user interface, (joystick, keyboard/mouse, monitor, peripherals, etc.,) These are mostly under the management of your AI, but limited overrides are possible, and you can train yourself to customize some peripherals. You are totally dependent on the input from those systems in order to navigate in spacetime and to interact with other people. Most of your software at this level is pre-installed; no choice of operating systems, and upgrade here is tricky, at best. Further up, personalizing options are available, and family, friends and environment provide software and apps.
Then, consciousness finally wakes up and takes over the controls, in other words, a time comes when you realize that you are you, separate from others, separate from your environment. You. There you are, the User, the Captain, sitting in the Captain’s Seat in front of that big monitor, wired into the controls and ready to go. At this point, you can install your own choice of software, and the options are dizzying. It will take you years to get it all under control and in your own hands. Things change constantly. Once sex activates itself in your system, however, you discover that you are alone at those controls. Out there is spacetime reality and everbody else, and inside here is you, inside your body/ship, and your skin is the closest you will ever get to anyone.
At this point, it gets complicated.
Education is training to prepare for spacetime and surviving out there. Mythology is training to prepare for life inside at the controls and having to live with it, in other words, self-maintenance.
Even though you are the user, the captain, your AI unconscious does not relent in constant vigilance, ready to snatch the controls from you whenever your conscious attention strays. You will spend the rest of your life in the grip of that power struggle, and your AI does not sleep, not for a single instant of your biological existence.
Communication between you and your AI is crucial to everything in your life. This manages itself fairly well until sex rearranges your view of reality inside and out, forcing you to learn a new vocabulary. (In our monotheistic world, this vocabulary is kept secret by the very people whom you have trusted to teach you everything else.) As you maneuver this transition of perception into adult sexuality, your decisions impact your future in spacetime. Communication between you and your AI is the foundation of your success, as well as the weakness in everything you do. This is
the territory of Mythology, the worlds where you dream and landscape of your mind.
Myth is reborn with every human being; consciousness arrives in spacetime thoroughly dazzled by the journey and unable to control the body except at the cellular level until you recognize yourself. Myths come from the same source as dreams, but they are big dreams, archetypal dreams woven
of non-verbal, emotional experiences made visible, an artist’s vision so clear that your AI can use your responses as a mutually available vocabulary. A myth is a metaphor for a psychological complex or process, such as the “you are a computer” myth I just outlined, or your relationship with mother as opposed to your relationship with father, and theirs with you, or yours with your food. Myths inform your opinions about your environment, about Nature and Big Corporations
and who you are compared to them. Myths can stand on their own, and they hold their unique
form for generations, like a well-known tune. They can transfer from one mythological system to another and remain essentially intact even when differently expressed: old tune, new lyrics.
A mythology is a feedback structure built out of individual but interrelated myths which maintains the emotional/psychological scaffolding of a culture or society, even an entire nation, and unifies them. The mythology of a people is their cultural identity. Mythologies evolve and change with the living generations and, if the institutions which are supported by local mythological structures do not evolve alongside, they become parasites on their communities.
This is the role of myth and mythology, shared by everybody in your group, whatever size. Mythology shapes your opinions and informs your feelings about the spacetime world and the greater universe which contains that, and mythology also defines the interior landscape of your bridge and captain’s seat.
The Cosmos inside your head is the source of all myth and mythology, art and technology, in fact, the source of everything distinctly human. The archetypal structures within the mythological field are genetic and do not change over the generations; they are expressions of human biochemistry and cellular logic interfacing with your unique, individual consciousness for the purpose of survival and exploration in spacetime.
Myth is you and your AI talking to each other. Mythology is artists showing consciousness how to be conscious, what the realities inside and outside of you are and how to live as the interface between them. Mythology defines and maintains your humanity.
The dynamic nature of the interaction between audience and art defines the translation of dream into myth. In dream, artist and audience are one and the same, a merger of viewer and vision, the Universal Self talking to you. This is a monologue and only becomes a conversation when the dreamer translates the non-verbal and emotional elements of the dream into comprehensible form for an audience of others. At this point, art and audience become separate entities, interacting in individual ways. Everybody experiences art through their own senses. Egypt is 5,000 years of proof that, as the support of a nation’s coherence, the system works. More than any other nation, then or now, ancient Egypt was designed and managed by artists who communicated the spirit of the nation to the people and shaped their human environment. Even their scientists, architects
and engineers were educated in art first, and artists were trained and supported by the temples and always held in high esteem by their citizens.
Our modern artistic media have expanded so phenomenally and so pervasively as to be invisible. The artist is ignored, a mere technical arm of the cultural scene. We have forgotten that an artist designed the thing first, whatever it is, and an artist/engineer designed the machines that built the machines that built the machine that made the tools that were used to make the thing. The artists
of the original design are so far down the line of production that they are lost in the mist. Art is everywhere, so much so that we no longer see it as art.
Back in the ancient world, when things began, art was hard to find. You had to make it yourself or find someone who would make it for you. It was valuable in and of itself and, therefore, a liability as well as an asset, but it gave you status. Art was not taken for granted.
Only in the last fifty years has technology been made fully available to archeology for rediscovering our past. Until then, we had only art as a window and artists as informants, and only the laws of nature have been able to tell us more than they have. This does not, in any way, mean to say that artists did everything and that everyone in the ancient world was an artist; the ratio of artists to non-artists was no different, and the human animal and the human brain have not changed enough genetically to need to say that. Then, as now, individual talents and skill-levels were just that, individual.
The major difference is in the available media and resources: you might be the greatest living painter of the human race, but with no brushes, paint, canvas, paper or pencils, you have to make them first; you might even have to invent them first, and you end up inventing a lot of other things along the way. With no canvas, you paint yourself; you paint other people, the trees, the rocks, then other people make up wonderful stories about what you painted. You just want to make color you can paint with; your friends find other uses for the stuff. The same blade that cuts wood into the shapes of your dream also makes tools.
We were artists before there was art, mathematicians before math or science or music, engineers before machines. These technologies did not create the corresponding categories of human talent, rather, we are born hardwired with predispositions on how to interact with spacetime; that hardwiring is expressed in the differing worlds of art, technology, music, math and science, originally for survival, eventually for the comforts of daily life and now for our magical civilization of the 21st Century. Like the shaman/wizards of the ancient world, we fly around the world on magic carpets; we beam image and sound through the air, send our thoughts anywhere we wish and make anything we want or need out of anything we care to use. We light the darkness without fire and, most importantly, we can heal ourselves. First, however, we had to have the shaman/wizards and their dreams of flying, of sending their influence over great distances, of making dreams real; they showed us how to survive and how to heal. People who had no interest
in art for artistic reasons had plenty of everyday uses for it, but it was only available because of artists who simply had to express it in spacetime or go mad.
For example, we did not invent writing in order to record trade or business; artists had a driving, overwhelming need to make permanent the complicated thoughts in their heads; then mathematicians realized that it could be used to write down the numbers in their heads, the patterns, the interconnections and, by the way, to keep records of real things. The merchant saw a way to prevent theft by keeping a permanent count of his merchandise; the engineer discovered that drawings and notes about his ideas could be communicated to the builders and the makers so that everyone was working on the same vision. The idea of writing down ideas caught on big time, soon everyone was doing it and the artistic need submerged under the sheer practicality of it.
The artist is driven to make a dream tangible in spacetime; art is drawn out of an artist like wax
out of a bee. Wax is incredibly useful stuff when you are living out in the wild in a handmade world, art sweetens life like honey and an artist can no more help making art than a bee can help making wax and honey; honey makes mead and mead is the drink of the muse, of the gods.
An artist once used these metaphors to explain this need to express dreams to a baffled friend, metaphors drawn from mutual field-work on the farm. These metaphors answered the question, therefore, it was told again and again; a mathematician heard them as a song and a poet heard a story about mead and the gods. The metaphor had acquired a life of its own, a story about the gods in Valhalla, clothed in local cultural fabric. Centuries later, another artist heard that story and explored the glowing threads that had shaped it, in order to reveal the metaphor beneath: an artist from long ago trying to explain the inexplicable power of the muse.
“What did you dream last night?” Perhaps one of the oldest questions in language and the countless replies might be the earliest development of the communication of the abstract. The origins of art sparked with that question. Some dreams are more interesting than others, some
more frightening, and some people are better at describing them than others. It can lead to a career.
The evolution of myth needs no more dramatic nor mysterious a course than the basic human need for entertainment, especially in a world where it got really dark at night. Moon and stars might light the plains with a silvery glow, but in your own garden, your own cave/hut, it was dark. Fire brought light, but demons danced with the shadows which fire also brought. Even when you had a lamp, dangerous motion filled the corners. Eating, singing, dancing and drinking together remains a go-to standard for group fun to this day, whether in pub culture, family events, night-clubbing or sports. Playing games together ranks a close second. The first requires physical exertion and a safe place, the second, pieces and game board. Both need light, anyway, and nothing beats the simplicity of a good story, no matter the medium, from the immediacy of close-up live to a giant screen with surround-sound. Listening to a good story has been and always will be humankind’s Number One All Time Favorite Form of Fun, because the relationship of storyteller and audience begins with Mother telling stories to Baby about the world around them: “Look, Baby! That’s a tree with red flowers and there’s a bright red bird! See it jump into the air and fly!” Baby is enchanted as much by the story as by the red bird in the garden; more importantly, Baby is totally enchanted with Mother’s enchantment with whatever she is describing. Mother’s little narrative is the audible energy of their emotional bond, as well as informing Baby’s opinion of bright red birds.
Mythology provides detailed maps of you, from the molten core up to the starry heavens. Fairy tales and folk tales are the subway maps of your mid-level reaches, guides for traveling on our common human ground because, sometimes, you just want to get downtown and back. You have
a lot of shared territory and these familiar interior paths can be marked out by the stylized “sign posts” of the fairy/folk tale. The tunnels were dug by our ancestors, the trains run the same old tracks, the stations are at the same connections, but as time goes by, we update and modernize the décor, at least those bits we see in the daylight.
Science fiction and fantasy, "Speculative Fiction," update ancient subway maps to define the
newly cut routes to Game World, Techland and the expanded Territories of Science. These stories are cleanly styled and easy-to-read, just like any good subway map. Other worlds open up new subway lines to your inner shopping malls, libraries and exotic bazaars; anyone can get to them, and you can think and talk about them with metaphors from those familiar story elements.
Our common rationale is that mythology is other people’s religion; since monotheists currently have the monopoly on spiritual authority, there can be only one “true” religion and, therefore, myths lie. Reality exists only out here in spacetime; the Cosmos in your head is the definition of illusion and deception, because your AI runs everything and the AI is only biological and electrical. What it tells you is just a fantasy of reality, and consciousness cannot be real because
we cannot find it out here in spacetime. Discussing or even thinking about this in any modern language gets complicated and wordy because, for the past two thousand years, we have been taught most sternly (until quite recently, at the cost of your life) that the Cosmos inside your head cannot, must not be real, so we do not talk about it except in roundabout, mysterious ways. The paradox is that we yearn for its reality; everything we know or feel or think is in here. If that dimension of reality is not real, does that mean we are not real? Are you real?
Oxford English Dictionary,Speculate:
“1. trans. To observe or view mentally; to consider, examine,
or reflect upon with close attention; to contemplate; to theorize upon.
Common in the 17th c.; now rare...
b. Said of the soul, understanding, etc.”
Oxford English Dictionary, Speculative:
“speculation or theory in contrast to practical or positive knowledge...”
This easy-to-read site is an excellent companion to Egyptian studies, as well as an unusual travel guide through the mind of ancient Egypt.
Site under construction. Updated DECEMBER 2018