Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Necessary Narrative

"life, as both Nietzsche and Ibsen knew, requires life-supporting illusions; and where these have been dispelled, there is nothing secure to hold on to, no moral law, nothing firm. We have seen what has happened, for example, to primitive communities unsettled by the white man's civilization. With their old taboos discredited, they immediately go to pieces, disintegrate, and become resorts of vice and disease. Today the same thing is happening to us." - Myths to Live By by Joseph Campbell.
 The reference for Ibsen is The Cherry Orchard , and re-reading Nietzsche as an adult it was shocking how he was praising and calling out for a new religion. His greatest creation, after all, is Zarathustra (a law giver coming down from the mountain). It hit me when reading The Closing of the American Mind: Religion is the necessary narrative that gives will and purpose to Life and Art.
I just heard something Campbell said about Spengler, so he was familiar with the 'exhaustion of civilization' idea.  But Campbell is anti-literal-interpertation-of-the-Bible  and anti tribal Judaism and I just don't believe he understood what civilizational confidence looks like. Atheists and those on left have their own shibboleths. Man does not live by bread alone.

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