Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Abstraction and the Real

Last night I was working through several different ideas and hammered them down on my iPhone (because why get out of bed, really?)-- as with a lot of the more 'abstract' work, this deals as much with my personal life and inner experience as any research. However, many people assume abstraction is further away from that, or even disingenuous. So this deals with that, as well as several other points related to myth that I intend to unpack later. Pick up the Immanence of Myth for that.

Abstract questions / solutions (which take on the narrative metaphor form as myths) are at once more pure and multifaceted than the specific or concrete. It is never just THIS problem or THIS person, even when it originates from a personal experience or dilemma. This strength is also its greatest weakness as narrative metaphors are essentially untethered from necessity and thus from what many would refer to as reality.
This method of abstraction or metaphor requires an unfortunately "meta-" approach to an analysis of myth, or else the overrall method may get lost through a particular peculiarity, as with Freud and formative sexuality, or even the folk elements of a particular story about Hanuman. In dealing with myth as a subject I am therefor not entirely concerned with the details of a single story or meta-narrative. These particulars or peculiarities can & should be noted, but if we think that by exploding a single mythic/psychological complex we are uncovering the actual nature of myth, then we will continue to chase our own tail in misleading dialogue about trivial or even obsessive points. This is a methodological shortcoming of Frazier, (& ....)

This may seem an apology for the methodology to follow, and in a sense it is, but it is also a means of saying that both I and the reader must remain absolutely aware of the need to re-tether the abstract (myth) with the necessary. This very quandry is often posed in mythic fashion, for example in stories dealing with the problems of relating the needs of the spirit, or what we refer to as spirit, and the material world. (ref. Also Jesus not jumping, "thou shalt not tempt the lord your god." why?) Neither can be sacrificed for the sake of the other, and if they cannot be aligned, integrated, or otherwise rectified the result is death of one form or another. This particular dilemma- one of countless legions- is considered one of the principle purposes of alchemy, in fact all alchemy deals with the fusion of the substantial and insubstantial bodies (ida & pingala in kundalini for instance). This problem takes on an even more dire importance in our present age, where the material has become the only consideration, and the spiritual backlash is not one of integration but rather one of violent fundamentalism.

The conditions surrounding any of the important decisions in our lives can be known through simple observation and logic (and those could be any of them, as often the most trivial decisions lead to the most crucial, defining events). However, the only answers that can answer such questions are actions, informed by mental maps or "ways of being." Logic often does us less good here, or may even confuse the issues as we try to navigate the often conflicting demands of society and the varying systems of our own body. This again is where myth plays its role because our myth is this story, written in the interplay of personal, existential questions and our very lives given as our answer

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