myth quotation by Hillman

Vico’s New Science says that the study of knowing and how to gain knowledge of reality and certitude of truth cannot begin in logic and mathematics and introspection, but in what is prior to them – historically, psychologically and philologically – the study of myth. The first science is the understanding of fables. In them we find the universali fantastici, which stand within and before all concept formation which the Cartesian mind wrongly uses to know reality and state truth.

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  • Hillman's style tends to be a bit dogmatic at times. He was like that in person as well.

    • I have heard much harsher words used about the man, whatever you think of his writing and thought.

      In my intro to Ecopsych course, we read a wonderful Hillman article about the animal soul. It was an amazing piece of writing.

      Still, you didn't answer the question. Is mythology and the study of fable a necessary prerequisite for the truthful understanding of the world through science, logic, math, and introspection? Do we not already have an inherent understanding of myth, narrative, fable, and story as human beings? Do we need to study them?

    • Thought you were asking about his tone. --I think it depends on how consciously and holistically we want to grasp things. I don't need to study myth to study cosmology, for example, but I understand it more deeply if I know that the Cosmic Egg myth of the Big Bang is now being augmented by the archetypal motif of the Divine Parents who give birth to the cosmos. Without studying these mythic and archetypal stories and structures I'm apt to miss a lot, and I wouldn't be able to protect myself from hubris adequately. Look what Prometheus did to the research team at Trinity, for instance. As one scientist put it, "The tools get hold of you." But they needn't.

    • What was the story about Prometheus and the research team at Trinity?

      Thanks, Jane

    • Point taken. I do think the mythic perspective is a valuable one. You don't have to sell me on that. It seems to me that concurrent study of mythology along with scientific exploration would be very useful.

  • What do you think, Craig? I'm always a bit opposed to statements of such confidence. Nice quote though.

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