Ideas and learning
- not necessarily in that order.
Studying the thoughts behind mythsAlthough I studied the natural sciences at college — or maybe therefore — I have always felt ambiguous toward the academic world. School, all the way to that level, had in my eyes mostly rewarded conformity and the ability to memorize — hardly true understanding of any kind.
With a sharper choice of words one might call it obedience — although in Swedish educational statutes there is talk about "independent and critical thinking". As mentioned in my bio, I prefer the auto didactic, even within the framework of formal education.
In spite of this, I complied and did, at the beginning of the 80s, study for some time at the Stockholm University: popular culture, social anthropology and the history of ideas, whereof only the latter for more than one semester. What fascinated me with the history of ideas was that in this subject, one dares to embrace practically all human thinking — at least that of the western tradition.
So, when I decided to approach the Lund University a decade later, the same department was a natural choice. In Lund, though, it is called history of ideas and learning, whereof the first intrigues me much more than the second, but it proved to be the kind of learning that leads to understanding (to the extent I am able of it).
The owl above, a drawing I have had the nerve to borrow from the department at Lund, appears here as a harsh reminder for man never to cease in curiosity. So far, there seems not to be any real threat of that, as far as I understand myself — but you never know.
The Tao te ching says:
and those who are learned do not know.
In spite of my lack of education — and of respect for such a thing — I have remained at this institution, specializing in research on creation myths. In this, I am particularly interested in the patterns of thought and reason, which may be traced through the creation myths, and thereby perchance it is also possible to distinguish patterns of the human mind — if any generalization of that kind is at all meaningful.
Enough history of ideas I have adopted, though, to regard the sciences of our time as neither more certain nor more wise than those of ancient times. What is true is still a matter of opinion — at least in fields that are most dear to us, and such fields are the settings of every creation myth.
On my Creation Myths website:
My Other Websites