Joseph Campbell’s dogma: “Mythology is not invented rationally; mythology cannot be rationally understood” (“Primitive Mythology,” p.42)
Joseph Campbell’s opinion on the origin of the myths:
“And though many who bow with closed eyes in the sanctuaries of their own tradition rationally scrutinize and disqualify the sacraments of others, an honest comparison immediately reveals that all have been built from one fund of mythological motifs –variously selected, organized, interpreted, and ritualized, according to local need, but revered by every people on earth. A fascinating psychological, as well as historical, problem is thus presented. Man, apparently, cannot maintain himself in the universe without belief in some arrangement of the general inheritance of myth.
And why should it be that whenever men looked for something solid on which to found their lives, they have chosen not the facts in which the world abounds, but the myths of an immemorial imagination?”
The original “fund of mythological motifs” was the product of an “immemorial imagination”!
That is a reasonable assertion because Native Americans so much as ancient Sumerians, Greeks and Japanese share the same “mythological motifs”. The “immemorial imagination” part of the theory is based on the fact that the American Indians were separated from the rest of the planet’s inhabitants for 14,000 years. Even if “mythology cannot be rationally understood” the relationship between every single culture’s mythological motifs and the “immemorial imagination,” can and should be rationally understood.
Did all cultures sprang from one mother-culture? Thanks to the science of genetics we now know that they did (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/...60940.stm) and, therefore, Campbell’s “immemorial imagination” can be altered to “immemorial memories.”
Figurines of the Great Mother (or Mother Goddess) are known to have been produced as early as 40,000 years ago. The fact that those figurines (known as Venus figurines) depict the Mother who according to mythology gave birth to gods and men, is confirmed by a description of the Mother (also called “Cow,” “Wild Cow” or “Sacred Cow”) found in the Pyramid Texts, the oldest texts of humanity. The description matches the depiction of the Mother in the statuettes because the “Mother” was a particular woman and not just any woman capable of producing offspring. She had a particular figure –exceptionally obese- and was treated in a particular way which most probably led to her acquiring that particular figure.
Venus figurines have been produced for 40,000 years and although the oldest texts available were written only 4,500 years ago the myths and legends accompanying the practice of sculpting her figure and perpetuating her worship had a chance to be recorded. Thus, according to the story narrated in the archaic texts, the Mother was revered by her children not as the mother who gave birth to them, but as her who provided them with the physical attributes necessary for survival.
All Mother’s children were subject to the test of judgment effected by those fathering her children; the gods. Some children would be found to be “sons of god” and therefore gods themselves, some would be accepted as “sons of man,“ suitable to serve the gods as their slaves, and some would be rejected as primitive savages and would be exterminated. Accordingly, the Mother herself was regarded either as ”Mother of gods” or as just an indifferent common mother.
Those worshipping the Mother were those who survived the ordeal of judgment, those who were born by the “God bearing Mother” and therefore this one was the mother they revered and were proud of having been born by, not the common mother. The common mother’s children were gone; dead, incapable of worshipping.
The “Venus figurines” are indeed Venus figurines! To call them “fertility idols” it only indicates lack of serious involvement with the particular subject. For those interested I have uploaded an article of a 45-page study http://dtango.wordpress.com/2012/01...]Great in a pdf file.
The story of the Mother is the foundation on which the extremely racist attitude of mythology is based: the mother belongs to an inferior primitive race while the father, the god, belongs to a superior civilized race. The offspring may belong to the race of the father, the mother, or anywhere between the two. “Katharmos,” the deadly symptom of racism, demanded that the non-pure, the non-god, be expelled or exterminated. The Diaspora of the human kind begun at approximately 60,000 years ago and was completed a few hundred years ago when the last of the persecuted “non-pure ones” arrived at the remotest and loneliest place of the earth: the Easter Island.
Myths about gods are considered fairy tales and are treated in the same way myths about mermaids are treated because on the one hand what evidence confirming the historicity of the myths there is cannot be recognized for what it is, and on the other hand a great part of the evidence lies on the bottom of the sea. When, 15,000 thousand years ago, sea level was 100 meters lower than its present level the Nile river delta was by approximately fifty kilometers longer and close to 10,000 square kilometers –in the Delta area only- of today’s sea area was dry land.
The myth of imperfect creation is found on both sides of the Atlantic: gods were killing one generation of humans after the other in their attempt to have the sort of people they wanted. According to the Mother’s story, however, they were not killing entire generations. They simply kept killing for thousands of years those children of the Mother they deemed unsuitable for use.
The above is a theory hated by both theists and atheists. Theists would never accept that their sacred supernatural deities are fake and atheists would never accept the existence of any sort of gods.
To my opinion Academia has been so far pleasing both by remaining silent!