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Reply To: In the Stillness of Love’s Madness, with Mythologist Norland Têllez


Beautiful—thank you for the Oscar Wilde tour de force. I am also a great fan of his work. It’s a tragedy he had to go the way he did. Love and Death in every case belong together as they both represent primary modes of transcendence in time.

As you will see in Primitive Mythology, Campbell recognized the unity of these two forces under the rubric of the Love-Death mythologem, which covers all myths encapsulating the primal murder that constitutes the original act of cultural creation.

“One version of the mythological event at the beginning of time which supplied the model for this rite tells that as the goddess Tlalteutli was walking alone upon the face of the primordial waters —a great and wonderful maiden, with eyes and jaws at every joint that could see and bite like animals—she was spied by the two primary gods Quetzalcoatl (the Plumed Serpent) and Tezcatlipoca (the Smoking Mirror); whereupon, deciding that they should create the world of her, they transformed themselves into mighty serpents and came at her from either side. One seized her from the right hand to the left foot, the other from the left hand to the right foot, and together they ripped her asunder. From the parts they fashioned not only the earth and heavens, but also the gods.” (Masks of God: Primitive Mythology 224)

And if you listen to the Girard interview all the way through, you will realize that his approach is not “anti-mythology,” as some might think, but a fundamental recognition of the way in which mythology deconstructs itself while giving [re]birth to itself in the noumenality of time. In other words, Girard is a great exponent of the uroboric logic of myth, always latent within the manifest content of the collective psyche.