Essays on spiritual subjects that develop themes from the book Meeting the Masters.
This extract from a book by Fr. Robert Spitzer, though not referring to the "British Myth", is a part of a good explanation of how myth works in the human mind and soul. “....Though a myth is fictional, it is not fiction. Fiction concerns narratives that could be factual – “real in this world alone”. Though fiction is purely imaginary, it portrays a narrative that could be real in the world around us. Myths, in contrast, are not concerned with worldy narratives, but rather with transworldy, transphysical, and spiritual narratives. The objective of myths is to express ultimate truth and meaning, and in order to do this they must reach beyond the contingent barriers of this world and universe and reveal the source of ultimate truth and meaning – that is ultimate reality. Not only this but myths must also reveal how and why ultimate reality connects with this world – and the people within it.J.R.R. Tolkien knew well of the power, mystery, and truth of myths, and he wrote the “Lord of the Rings”, “The Silmarillion”, and “The Hobbit” to convey this most important dimension of man’s existence and destiny. Before his conversion to Christianity, C.S. Lewis told Tolkien that “myths were nothing more than lies and therefore worthless, even though breathed through silver.” Joseph Pearce reports Tolkien’s response as follows:‘No, they are not lies. Far from being lies they are the best way – sometimes the only way – of conveying truths that would otherwise remain inexpressible. We have come from God and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, where materialistic “progress” lead only to the abyss and the power of evil.’For Tolkien, myths presume that ultimate truth and meaning are not to be found in the natural world. They are based on the presumption that this world is too restricted, conditioned, and contingent to hold ultimate truth and meaning, and so they tell a story that expresses a “creed” about creation, a transcendent reality, gods, heroes, villains, good and evil, virtues and vices – a story about adventure and challenge, darkness and light, wisdom, courage, fortitude, and temperance. Through this “high narrative”, myths open up an interior belief held by the vast majority of people, namely, that there is an ultimate reality beyond this world, and that this reality has come into this world to give us transcendent dignity, meaning and destiny and to reveal “the way” to draw close to this ultimate meaning. If this is our common belief, then we should not be surprised that myths fascinate and captivate not only our imagination but our very souls (the interior domain in which the transcendent makes contact with us)....”Extract from “The Souls’ Upward Yearning” – Robert Spitzer, S.J, Ph.D.The book can be got from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Souls-Upward-Yearning-Transcendent-Transcendence/dp/1586179551
Yes, I know the Tolkien quote. He was a very wise man. Modern people are hugely in his debt as one of the few souls who stood firm against the deviations of the 20th century and enabled those who came after him to do likewise through his example and, most of all , of course, his writings..
Post a Comment