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Civilizational Pathology: Transcending Imperial Borders
Unformatted Document Text:  Civilizational Pathology 13 consciousness (which are insightful, but because they deal with underlying body functions such as neurotransmission and the like, are actually not dealing with consciousness itself, but rather with physiology). While there is more than one way of approaching this problem (indeed volumes exist on the subject), the relevant tack here is to trace the interpenetration of consciousness, attention and purpose. In other words, we can shift our attention as communication researchers to mythology. I use the word mythology here as used by Campbell, Bateson, Gebser, Watts and others. That is, myths are not fictitious or superstitious and ultimately false stories told by long since dead Greeks. But, they are stories. They are stories that we tell as attempts to make sense of the senseless; to communicate between one another the wonder in face of the mysteries of the world. In this sense, then, myths encompass both religions and the sciences. To suggest that science is a myth (or better, a form of myth) may sound to the uneducated and professional ear alike as heresy. But is it so absurd to suggest that all science is a story? It is certainly told by someone to someone. The better writers get more attention (even if others have more provocative theories). Where once we had an old Man with a long gray beard creating the world in six days and who will ultimately judge us all before His eyes, we now have a big bang and expanding universe which will either expand into a big chill or collapse in a big crunch. Either way, we have a story with a beginning, middle and end; with senders and receivers; helpers and opponents; a subject

Authors: Williams, Kevin.
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Civilizational Pathology
13
consciousness (which are insightful, but because they deal with underlying body
functions such as neurotransmission and the like, are actually not dealing with
consciousness itself, but rather with physiology). While there is more than one
way of approaching this problem (indeed volumes exist on the subject), the
relevant tack here is to trace the interpenetration of consciousness, attention and
purpose. In other words, we can shift our attention as communication
researchers to mythology.
I use the word mythology here as used by Campbell, Bateson, Gebser,
Watts and others. That is, myths are not fictitious or superstitious and ultimately
false stories told by long since dead Greeks. But, they are stories. They are
stories that we tell as attempts to make sense of the senseless; to communicate
between one another the wonder in face of the mysteries of the world. In this
sense, then, myths encompass both religions and the sciences.
To suggest that science is a myth (or better, a form of myth) may sound to
the uneducated and professional ear alike as heresy. But is it so absurd to
suggest that all science is a story? It is certainly told by someone to someone.
The better writers get more attention (even if others have more provocative
theories). Where once we had an old Man with a long gray beard creating the
world in six days and who will ultimately judge us all before His eyes, we now
have a big bang and expanding universe which will either expand into a big chill
or collapse in a big crunch. Either way, we have a story with a beginning,
middle and end; with senders and receivers; helpers and opponents; a subject


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