Re: Random Thoughts on Campbell, Myth and Glorantha

From: Mark Galeotti <>
Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2001 08:12:51 +0100

(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 my own:

  1. 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 Heortling story-teller.
  2. 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.
  3. 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)
  4. 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.


Powered by hypermail