Definition (As The Good Book Says)

I learn from the Oxford dictionary that myth can mean ” a widely held but false belief or idea.

“the belief that evening primrose oil helps to cure eczema is a myth, according to dermatologists

Sentence is certainly correct in regard to modern English usage. Myths and legends can result from having a limited data set from which we then fill in the gaps.

Science has no myths. This again is true, if we are strictly speaking of science as a subject and restrict the context dramatically to an ideal final form or what it will be in the future at the end of experiment.

If we further confuse this definition of science the ideal subject, for scientists, science culture and history we march further into the land of myth.

If we go on to say that people who believe in the use of evening primrose oil are unscientific because they believe in myth,  we arrive at a further definition with all the actors in place:

“an exaggerated or idealized conception of a person or thing.”

In this case both folklore and folk and science and the scientist are presented in a highly over- inflected form as opposed extremes.

This binary opposition is of course one other feature of such traditional forms of narrative and thought. Creatures of myth, these ideal forms, lean towards the exaggerated, the stereotypical and are commonly deployed in this form of binary pairing.

Are the beliefs of scientists unscientific? Are the beliefs of folk unscientific?

The question lurking through all of this I think is what is science?

I have no idea, but if I look around and see how definitions of the subject are shaped and determined in the popular culture I am a part of. I think I can make at least one observation. Its nature is almost certainly not what I imagine it to be.

I don’t think I am trapped within some cultural perspective I cannot escape from. I have just not given the subject any thought before.

I am more used to studying traditional fairy tales. I’ve never had to carefully define the term, I know what a myth looks like when I look at it in context. Gnomes, Fairies, Fauns, Wild-men, Apes.

Its the relationship between the last two where my headache began as that involved adding philosophy and science to the list of territory where I may be able to find folklore.

I had to re-define the term folklore to be more class inclusive and the relationship between the spoken and written to do that.

To say that was received as a bad idea would be to down play its institutional reception significantly.

Non-empirical premise was the most repeated objection, I observed as I watched the narrative being orally constructed and exchanged.

I can see why at the time I did not think to question the relationship between myth and science as that would have moved the subject from playing with fire to constructing an atomic device that would have blown up in my face.

I think my issue here is, that I like to think in a naive way, side stepping the literature that surrounds a subject, going directly to sources and playing with them directly.

The observations more related to the question, how do I think about things and construct ideas? What processes am I using to from an opinion about a subject?

Form of self- experiment that does not appear unrelated to the wider subjects that interest me.

The start point is non-empirical. A self- constructed form of naive folk philosophy. I don’t however think that words are things and don’t see why things should be confined to one un- altering form.

I don’t think it is certain that a can take a low resolution high noise image and transform it but I certainly seem to believe it may be possible. I also don’t need to construct a true image just attempt.

Where I fail is not being able to identify the processes involved.

Constructing a monstrous form then retrospectively examining what gave it shape in imagination is not unhelpful.

I can also avoid standard folk explanation here, commonly used in defining identity, where error always has to be the property of other people.

Instead I can imagine that in this regard I may be like other things and may be using the same processes as other folk when it comes to identification.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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