My first disclaimer is that this is not about the book by Mr Starr but only addresses this interview given to Mr O’Flaherty and Dr Waters. I do have some reservations but I am sure they would be cleared up once I have read the book and listened to the pod cast.
As I have written previously I do not give bad reviews and this will be no exception. There are a number of points I would like clarity on and would welcome comments in the comment section. I hope in the actual podcast series Mr Starr will explain ‘mythological and imaginative truth’ and how they are distinct from ‘real’ (sic) truth. I suspect that they are not distinct but rather are made clearer out of reality where they are less clear in, what Screwtape describe as, real life. The charge of Faramir or the sheer bloody mindedness of Sam in Mordor show courage and duty clearly and wonderfully out of ‘reality’ but are less real than but harder to see the virtue of the son caring for his aged parents. I think this is what Mr Starr means, and am willing to be corrected, and I agree. Myth is a powerful way of knowing transcendent truths that are hard or impossible for us to access in this day and age. An example from my own experience is seeing grown men with tears in their eyes hearing that the planet Cadia “broke before the guard did!” Grimly they muttered under their breath that “Cadia stands!” These were not veterans but enthusiasts of Games Workshops Warhammer 40K. Through the mythos and lore of the conflicts of the 41st century they were accessing transcendent truths and realities that fed their souls and made them better men.
In “Screwtape Proposes a Toast” Lewis argues that the philosophy of functionalism of language had disabled for its purpose. I think the purpose he had in mind was to water the vast desert imaginations (see The Abolition of Man) of now a series of generations brought up under materialism. Lewis never attacked science and held the scientist in high regard but the Wellsian and the Sciencism were fare game because they had wandered from their expert field into philosophy. Sciencism, Modernism and Postmodernism not feeding the imagination or the soul and I agree with Mr Starr that myth is the curative which accounts for its vast popularity. Mr Starr draws our attention to Disney and Starwars and it is absolutely true. The success of Starwars lies in its mythos and accounts for the engagement by fans and the productivity of writers, film makers, artists, cosplayers, model makers and collectors. I humbly submit Games Workshop which is Britains biggest manufacturer and more profitable than Google. Since the 1980s I have engaged with the lore of the Warhammer universe and have seen how it has grown out of Tolkien, 2000AD and other influences. Mythos not only is a curative for materialism and her hideous daughters but is profitable.
Oscar Wilde wrote that “we are all lying in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” I think in this context we can all use mythos, from Gilgamesh to Guilliman, to access the transcendent realities that feed what can not be fed by materialism.
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