Science and Myth

I found a brief but interesting article with a degree of topicality in a mainly technocratic context like this. It's titled Science and Myth: The hidden connection and it originally was Wolfgang Smith's text for the Third Ananda Coomaraswamy Memorial Lecture sponsored by the Sri Lanka Institute of Traditional Studies in June 2001.

Some excerpts of the lecture:

«Strictly speaking, we have debased the term “myth” by applying it to the paradigms of science. We have picked up on the pejorative sense which came into vogue during the aftermath of what historians call the Enlightenment, when men thought that science had at last delivered us from the childish dreams of a primitive age. In this optic, myth is perceived simply as the antithesis of fact: at best a pleasurable or consoling fiction. One might go so far as to admit that such fictions may be indispensable: that our life would be intolerably drab and void of hope without some kind of mythical embellishment; but when it comes to the question of truth, it is to Science that we must look. Such was the prevailing view of myth during the age of modernism; but that age, as one knows, is now nearing its end.»

«Let us try to understand this more clearly. We must not be put off by the simplistic look of traditional myth, its crudely literal sense, remembering that such myth speaks, not to the analytic mind, but to the intuitive intellect, sometimes termed “the eye of the heart,” a faculty which, alas, modern civilization has been at pains to stifle.»

«We are told that the proverbial conflict between science and religion is based upon antiquated ideas. It has been said that in the age to come the two disciplines will be seen as complementary aspects of a single enterprise, each contributing to the good of man. (. . .) We appear to be entering the so-called New Age, the era of pseudo-religions, many of which (if not all) are indeed the offspring of the aforesaid unholy union.»

«One forgets that science too has its mythology, and that the so-called truths at issue are also in a way mythical.»

Link to the Science and Myth: The hidden connection article:
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