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Reply To: Journey Through Myth,” with Mythologist Norland Téllez, Ph.D.”


    Hello Stephen, as always, a great pleasure to return to our forum,

    I am so glad you picked up on the apparent paradoxicality of the term “true myth” in my various usages of it. And you are right to see in it a connection—indeed, a secret identity —with the primordial notion of Reason. For that is indeed how it stands in my mind: true myth and reason are not only equiprimordial but one and the same thing, an identity in difference. I also thank you for noticing the coherence of my contributions to the mythblast series, which indeed circle around this notion of true myth as their nucleus and circumference.

    You see, I do not contradict the ordinary meaning of the word “myth” which in normal or “natural” language simply means a lie, a falsehood, something entirely made up. Outside esoteric circles, as we know, myth is the opposite of “truth” and “reality”. That is why, to me, the naked term “myth” is indistinguishable from ideology or ideological fantasy as the underlying source of a “false consciousness.”

    Although I’ve been accused of obscurantism, at least I do not deviate from this common usage of the word “myth”—hence you can understand my need to qualify it somehow and to differentiate it from its vulgar coinage and common trade. But the qualifier “true” is more than just an arbitrary quality or cipher; it constitutes, instead, the material ground of its historic actuality—or truth. “True myth” is nothing other than mytho-history in poetic disguise.

    So yes, within the mytho-historic context of the ancient archaic, human sacrifice and similar rites of bloody dismemberment were in their time “living” embodiments of reason. They were the Truth of humanity at that time. Although obscure to us now, they were a necessary stage or cultural womb, as Campbell indicated, from which humanity would be born again on a new plane of reason. This is not a contradiction, any more than the past contradicts the future per se, but a proof of the present infinite dialectical nature of spirit across abysses of time.