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Myth and Ideology

Edited By Cyril Levitt and Sabine Sander

This posthumously published work by Lawrence Krader surveys the study of myths from ancient times (in classical Greece and Rome, Egypt, Babylon, Akkad, Sumer, China), in the Biblical traditions, of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and Australia, and from Northeastern and Central Asia. It also covers the various approaches to the study of myth in Europe in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Enlightenment, and the Romantic movement in the late eighteenth and early to mid-nineteenth century; it discusses evolutionist, structuralist, hermeneutic, and linguistic approaches. The book covers on the one hand the treatment of myth from the inside, that is from the experience of those committed to the myth, and on the other the perspective of those ethnologists, philosophers and other students of myth who are outsiders. Krader takes up the theme of esoteric and exoteric myths as he rejects some of the assumptions and approaches to the study of myth from the past while singling out others for approval and inclusion in his general theory of myth. The book includes a discussion of myth in science and in infinitesimal mathematics. It also considers the relationship between myth and ideology in the twentieth century in relation to politics and power. It both incorporates and broadens Krader’s theory of nature as a manifold consisting of different orders of space-time which he developed in his magnum opus Noetics: The Science of Thinking and Knowing.

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6 Myth in the Making: The Transition from One Myth to Another. Benedetto Croce, Barrington Moore, Karl Popper

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Another way to look at the treatments of myths of the state, of the machine, technology and science is to regard them as myths in the making. In order to examine what is meant by this, we will turn back to the myth of the state in the hands of Thomas Hobbes and G. W. F. Hegel. There we see two powerful thinkers faced with a mighty force in history. The state and the concept of the state are old, but the word for the state, and the form of the state as we now know it are new. Niccolò Machiavelli in the sixteenth century had much to do with formulating the term for the state in the meaning we now give it. He did no more than set the modern minds to work. In seeking to formulate his own ideas about the state, Hobbes drew on a highly charged rhetoric, borrowed from religion, calling the state Leviathan, the mortal god, of which there is no greater power on earth. Hegel acted in the same way, his rhetoric being no less highly charged, summing up his attitude toward the supreme secular power by a number of religious metaphors. Now these are not analytic devices, but expressions of awe before the forces of life and death. They had no explanation for how the state came to be, or underwent historical change, and they had no theory of its passing out of being, whether or if this is to occur, or the...

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