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.
8 Myth and Ideology
Ideology is a social expression which is negative and positive, whereby we represent to ourselves and to outsiders what we eschew and hate or what we seek and desire. The ideology is the expression of a community, a clan, a group of kin, or a band; it is also the expression of a political party, a religious sect, the state, the social classes and juridical institutions of civil society. The ideology of the communal groups, villages, sibs and clans is but little differentiated from their myths and is usually implicit and unstated in them. The ideology as the expression of the communal life and relations gives a conative form to the social substance representing the desires, hopes and fears of the group to themselves and to others. The expression hidden in the representation of the desires, hopes and fears of the group in the myth may then be dug out and interpreted. We then infer how the band or village views the world, how the villagers wish it would be. The ideology is in this case a formulation by the outsider, hermeneut as ethnologist; it is a superstructure built on the mythic base. The mythic representations are explanatory, declarative, descriptive, imperative, narrative or symbolic. The ideological interpretation in this case is a construct, in part objective, in part subjective, of the way we the outsiders view the villagers’ worldview, moral view, their feelings about their world within and the world outside. The construct, if it is made by the outsider,...
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