We cannot justly interpret the religion of any people, unless we are prepared to admit that we ourselves, as well as they, are liable to error in matters of faith; and that the convictions of others, however singular, may in some points have been well founded, while our own, however reasonable, may be in some particulars mistaken. -John Ruskin
This was amazing. It was drier than a desert; however, it was worth the squeeze. He dissects Grecian mythology from a philosophical viewpoint, but within a sensitive tone. He is, to my knowledge, one of the first cases of cultural sensitivity. He suspends, as best as one can, his own culture in order to study another.
I, as a Heathen, am bogged with allusions to Greek mythology, and Middle Eastern rhetoric. This lecture was the epitome of it. I knew that in which I was getting, though. It did not bother me, truthfully.
I find his tone appropriate, and his philosophy intriguing. He makes great arguments, and his quotes are snarky enough to be funny, but not to cheapen the piece.
* Note, once for all, that unless when there is question about some particular expression, I never translate literally, but give the real force of what is said, as I best can, freely.
This straightforward speech is a welcomed change from the simple, but circulatory speech we find in modern academia. I, also, am well aware that I am speaking against circulatory speech when I ruminate every fortnight. Forgive me of my differentiating of two similar concepts.
Other lines I enjoyed:
(When speaking on correct logic) Babes should not be swaddled with their hands bound down to their sides: therefore they should be thrown out to roll in the kennels naked.
(Speaking in drawing) Never allow yourselves black shadows
The rule of the first spirit, Demeter, the earth mother, is over the earth, first, as the origin of all life,—the dust from whence we were taken; secondly, as the receiver of all things back at last into silence…And, therefore, as the most tender image of this appearing and fading life, in the birth and fall of flowers, her daughter Proserpine plays in the fields of Sicily, and thence is torn away into darkness, and becomes the Queen of Fate—not merely of death, but of the gloom which closes over and ends, not beauty only, but sin, and chiefly of sins the sin against the life she gave; so that she is, in her highest power, Persephone, the avenger and purifier of blood… I love this because Kore/Persephone is such an intriguing goddess. In modern times, some — including my dear friend S. Kay Smith — have taken it as a myth misunderstood: Kore went with Hades willing. I find this interpretation intriguing — for the record, I disagree; however, I like my death goddess cold, and unfeeling like the ground that awaits us all, for death scares me, but I figured that when I get to Hel, she will surprise me not only with her hospitality, but also her coolness as well –, for that changes the relationship with death. It offers suicide support (the right of a lifeform to dictate if one wishes to end one’s life), the marriage of Spring, and the underground (seeds tend to germinate underground), and others which are gorgeous in their religious applications. It also proves that mythology of all religions evolves. The Kore of today is not the Kore of tomorrow: our relationship with religion needs to serve our reality. Oh, I love it. More practically, Persephone, the Queen of Fate is an amazing image. I must write a poem about that.
Anywho, anyone with an interest in mythology, of any culture, should read this. It is a bit dated in its findings — so, most will already be familiar with the findings –; however, the structure is a good exercise to scientific, and philosophical thinking.