Man, Myth, & A Poem

1. Man is unique among the social animals in that he is able to create myths to explain his world to himself and to other men. He lives according to myth and his institutions develop within it.

2. The sweep of the scientific myth is far reaching because of what it has produced technologically. Science must be correct because we have the jet airplane. It is as though a tribe decided to accept the metaphysical proclamations of a shaman because he had discovered a jungle root to cure an ailment that afflicted many.

5. Myth is most powerful when he can touch it. Through technology he touches science.

11. Observing other social species man recognizes a moral feeling and conduct similar to his own. The mother wolf cares for her children, the father provides, defends and will sacrifice himself. The family of wolves is affectionate with one another and a wolf will often assist a fellow wolf in need. Yet the wolves act morally in the ostensible absence of any religious myth.

12. Man shares with the wolves (and chimps, birds, elephants, dolphins and others) the moral habits of the family and the small group. But unlike these other species man attempts to explain this morality with a story. Through myth he communicates where he comes from and why he acts as he does. These myths no doubt strengthened the family and the group, providing it with a shared identity that could be communicated through language, ritual and art. But morality existed prior to the myths erected to explain it.

19. With Enlightenment the ancient myths were slowly destroyed. Strangely, man assumed that in the absence of religious myth his feeling toward other men, his morality, was now without a foundation. The philosophers argued the foundation for what is morality was “outside” him, first in a positive sense (Descartes, etc). Then later some argued (Nietzsche, etc) that morality was a negative imposition upon his essential freedom, a stricture without any basis, forced upon him by other men seeking power. Other enlightened men pictured man as only physical, defined by his genes, a being reducible to brain function and electrons. To others he was psychological man, a consciousness spontaneous and essentially nothing, fighting for its freedom against the inauthenticity imposed by other men and the world around him.

20. Common to these newer myths was a conception of man as individual, alone, separate from all the others, cut off from the world. In evolutionary terms he pictured himself as competing with other men in a fight for survival (see Hobbes and Huxley). Psychological man was also in a struggle, though one more for his authenticity and freedom than his survival. The economic man of the 20th century was also constructed upon these ideas of individuality and competition as man’s natural state. Mankind is best served through competition, not cooperation, they argued.

31. Might not there have been more cooperation in man’s history? It does not matter. Man’s myths of today hold no place for cooperation despite the examples of it he might observe among the other social species. Man and his institutions develop otherwise. He becomes as he believes. His myth is his becoming.


While they
Gettin turned out by they bosses
Making facebook updates,
Gettin drunk & trying to fuck

I alone living lone
And laying down
The fucking scorch

And shittin on you face,

Now you shook, now

they all


  1. This is turning into something very concrete now. It is of similar quality to the people you mention--e.g.,Hobbes, Nietzsche. At age 36, interesting.

  2. Which Huxley have you been reading? Perennial Philosophy?

  3. You are leaving out 200 BCE Chuang Tzu, and later on later Buddhist thought. This was far before the Euros you mention and its ommision is glaring. There was some advancement on some of these matters far earlier--you might want to take an anthropological look at earlier China, despite your previous writing on Chinese men.


Copyright © Moraline Free