20060917

Myternas historia

Karen Armstrong - Myternas historia

4/5

På engelska igen. Håhåjaja.

Karen Armstrong's "A Short History Of Myth" is, indeed, short. Perhaps too short (I had a similar complaint with her "Islam: A Short History"; damnit, the woman can write and is incredibly knowledgable - why limit herself to 130-odd pages?)

However, it's also very interesting. The rundown of the role of myths, religions, beliefs etc - not just the religions themselves, but the way they work, the function they perform - is very interesting, but the perhaps most interesting part is the last chapter. She argues - convincingly, at least to me, though a modern believer would perhaps disagree - that the problem with our post-renaissance school of thought that has prevailed since the 1500s is that it has forced logic to the forefront over myth and belief. This has given us a lot of technological advances, but it has also forced religion into a corner. There is no place for gray scales anymore, no place for metaphor; myths once designed as morality tales and ways to understand the world must, per Aristotle and Newton, either be completely discarded or argued to be objectively true; cue religious fundamentalism.

The only area still filling the role that mythology used to occupy, she argues, is fiction (and this should be enough for a book in itself). Which causes me to worry even more about the current trend of "Based on a true story", where we can argue seemingly forever about the factual basis of "the da Vinci Code" or "A Million Little Pieces".

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