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Time Falling Bodies Take to Light Mythol de…

Time Falling Bodies Take to Light Mythol (edição: 1982)

de William Irwin Thompson

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In this book, William Irwin Thompson explores the nature of myth. Acknowledging the persuasive power of myth to create and inform culture, he weaves the human ability to create life with and communicate through symbols with myths based on male and female forms of power.
Título:Time Falling Bodies Take to Light Mythol
Autores:William Irwin Thompson
Informação:St Martins Press (1982), Paperback
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Etiquetas:Philosophy, Mythology

Detalhes da Obra

The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light: Mythology, Sexuality and the Origins of Culture de William Irwin Thompson

Adicionado recentemente por13th.sign, ljkw, KealeyDa, cswilley1, jamesclark69, LHorton11, Erik39, GREGandDANICA
Bibliotecas HistóricasJackie Gleason

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Some useful ideas here: "myth is the history of the soul;" all versions of a myth are useful to its explication and not mutually exclusive even if they appear to be (which comes from Levi-Strauss); the importance of narrative to human understanding; the importance of women in social evolution, the questioning of linear (reductive) notions of progress, things of that kind. The idea that social innovation in much of hominid and human history was fundamentally conservative - i.e., a way to preserve norms at risk of being lost under changing external conditions - that struck me as a novel insight. The take down of Wilson's sociobiology is a nice addition to anti-reductionist interpretations of reality. The degree to which scientists and thinkers like Freud "invoke what they must explain" in order to justify their origin theories - also good. But then the troublesome fact that Thompson accepts as given, true and universal things like the existence of an "astral plane," or the "prophecies" of spirit mediums, or an "Atlantean" elite world culture; the troublesome idea that he is, like so many western scholars, cherrypicking from other cultures just what he needs to support a universal culture theory that is mostly based on Western (Near Eastern) symbolism - these aspects made me less than enthusiastic. I was no closer to understanding what the "evolution of consciousness" could possibly be after reading him than before. It still seems altogether too diaphanous a concept. There is the old atheist dictum: if horses had gods, they would look like horses... Well, if silicon-ingesting three-gendered beings on a planet with no moons and no plants had consciousness and spirituality, would they really find themselves communing with a lunar cornucopian Great Mother figure? How universal exactly is this metaphysical region into which the enlightened soul is said to tap?

Still a worthwhile read, and as useful an explanation of some aspects of pre-history as anything else out there that purports to explain us to ourselves. ( )
1 vote CSRodgers | Dec 10, 2017 |
In The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light, William Irwin Thompson denounces sociobiological explanations of the development of human culture, and espouses an alternative based to no small degree in yogic mysticism and mythological allegories of sexual and celestial processes. Ultimately, his sweeping account of anthropogenesis resolves into a meta-historical picture provocatively similar to the "aeons" of Isis, Osiris, and Horus proposed by Aleister Crowley, complete with allusions to the precession of the equinoxes. Like Crowley, he sees the 20th century as the possible inception of a new dark age, as well as an opening to new spiritual potentials best understood in terms of human sexuality.

Thompson is especially critical of the 20th-century development of Western educational institutions, which he indicts with succumbing to "the politics of social scientists. In the new society we have created through mass education, we have tried to force the humanists in the universities to become social scientists, and in the extreme patterns of narrow specialization we grant PhDs in the social sciences to some people who have read almost exclusively articles in specialized journals and predigested textbooks prepared especially for the enormous classes favored by the bureaucracies of the edubusiness. Equipped with worthless degrees, these social scientists then become the expert consultants to government and the educators of the new generation" (52). Written by an academic who had held positions at MIT and other universities, Thompson's jeremiad was accurate and should have left a mark, but we are now another generation further along on the same trajectory.

Thompson's chapters on "The Transformations of Prehistory" are a lucid and provocative exploration of a posited matrifocal culture of the neolithic era. His chief archaeological referents for this purpose are the Lascaux caves and Çatal Hüyük. Reconsidering this material today demands--and benefits from--comparison of recently-discovered Indonesian cave art. But more recent and thorough work on Çatal Hüyük casts doubt on the goddess-worship explanations offered by the original excavator Mellart and cited by Thompson.

The chapters on "Western Civilization and the Displacement of the Feminine" provide analyses of actual myths, Sumerian and Egyptian. For the former, the focus is Gilgamesh, for the latter it is Isis and Osiris. Both are taken as illustrative of a transition from the religion of the mother to that of the father. In the Egyptian discussion especially, Thompson concerns himself with the matter of esoteric initiation, and he deploys some jargon of decidedly Theosophical provenance (e.g. the "causal plane" distinguished from the "astral") without ever citing the sources of his own initiated knowledge.

The short final chapter on "The Myth Beyond History" supplies Thompson's analysis of Christianity and its planned obsolescence, along with an attempt at contemporary prophecy. I read this book when it was 33 years old, and I think it's quite deserving of being lifted on a pole or standard, "that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live."
3 vote paradoxosalpha | Mar 16, 2016 |
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In this book, William Irwin Thompson explores the nature of myth. Acknowledging the persuasive power of myth to create and inform culture, he weaves the human ability to create life with and communicate through symbols with myths based on male and female forms of power.

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