Tuesday, 6 March 2012

200words: hughes on myth and education

Foundational education should consist in learning myths. Acquiring myths is a wealth (139); this because myths are the irreducible (141) building blocks of active consciousness (140); myths define the relative conceptual spatiality of earth and the underworld (138); myths are remixable hieroglyphs, containing within them image and pattern (152), which are the icon and praxis of the religious good life; and our myths are the keys to our language, the doorway to our culture (139) and all culture. For in myth the inner and outer world come together well, synthesised through an imagination which is both strong and accurate (143), such an imagination conceives myths whose truth is attested by their longevity in oral culture (152).

Myths are not mechanical; the antithesis of mythical representation is photographic representation (146), which surgically detaches place from context, event from circumstance and fact from meaning. Without myths we become mere cameras (147), helpless bystanders (147), passive TV addicts (148), grazing indiscriminately, uncreatively, unimaginatively.

Myths are the geometric proposal that we live in a parabolic reality not a gridded legal 'plan' (142) nor a circular lens (148) of self-related despair (149); rather, by parables, myths bring about human flourishing by assuming and fuelling the brain's genius for metaphor (152). The mythic structure of true reality grows like as seed, (141) and thus actively not passively (148), while the brain is engaged in collision and struggle (150) to nurture that seed.

On what myth do you base your life and art?
Is longevity in oral tradition a sufficient basis to claim the truth of a myth?
If a woman was being eaten by a tiger, what would you do?


Hughes, Ted - Winter Pollen: Occasional Prose, 1995

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