Re: Random Thoughts on Campbell, Myth and Glorantha
(In which Mark sits back in awe at John's supposed 'blathering' and makes a
few, semi-random observations)
Fascinating, challening stuff. Just to raise a few thoughts and queries of
- Surely cultures must have scope for simple 'made-up' stories of their
own. If nothing else, the result otherwise would be horribly sterile. Reduce
myth + story to 'show and tell on the Godplane' would be to make imagination
the sole preserve of the elite. After all, an ordinary initiate can't go and
rewrite myth, may well not even be able to see the powerful heroquester do
it. While I could see it fitting with the orthodoxy of the most rigid Yelmic
to define imagination in stoiry-telling as 'finding a new and interesting
way to tell one of the Thousand Stories', I'm sure even a Lodrili peasants
would want the freedom to create the thousand-and-oneth, never mind some
- Following through your story about negotiated meanings, there is also
the point that exactly the same myth can have so many different meanings on
it. Is 'The Making of the Storm Tribe' about Orlanth's leadership or
Ernalda's wisdom? Is 'How Vinga joined the Thunder Brothers' about Vinga's
might, Orlanth's leadership, Finovan's wisdom or the Thunder Brothers'
collective powers? The answer, of course, is yes.
- But even if there are 'made-up stories' which do not reflect and
resonate some divine or heroic adventure, do these have any magical weight
in such as world as Glorantha. If enough people tell a story, does it
acquire its own magic? After all, even in today's real world there are
enough people who have trouble distinguishing fact from myth (Elvis is alive
and well, aliens travel light years to perform rectal examinations on
passers by, you can catch AIDS from shaking hands...), it must be even
harder when reality is so unpredictable and mutable. Maybe you get 'short
worlds' created by especially powerful fictions, which grow and dwindle with
the passion and scale with which a story is told? (As an interesting
parallel, consider this virtual 'short world' of Glorantha we create by
emailing about it, creating websites to it, etc)
- There is an interesting paradox to devotees seeing deeper into myths
and regrding them as less literal experiences. Devotees devote themselves to
emulating and recreating the virtues and deeds of their deities. And yet if
they also divorse themselves more from those myths, seeing the heroquest as
possibilities rather than well-marked roads, are they being 'good devotees'?
Is there a point when there will be some choice to be made: am I a devotee
or am I an experimental heroquester?
Um. Lots to chew and think over, John: thank you.
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