Re: MYTH AND COLLECTIVE MEMORY (WAS: Photographs Reading Us?)

Anthony Dauer (jackechs@MAIL.EROLS.COM)
Mon, 8 Jan 1996 15:21:25 -0500

First, it's nice to receive an intelligent response without smoke coming
from my computer. Yes, I was assuming that you were generally against
'collective memory' ... that not being the case my point is some what mute.
I'm not sure I would change my comment 'mythological symbols that Carl Jung
and Joseph Campbell have shown to exist in the basic psych?' from shown to
proof. There may be many explanations of this ... not to mention the fact
that Joseph Campbell was interpreting the symbology of the dreams to fit his
arguement, but it does seem reasonable to me at this time. While the
simularities found in myths may have many interpretations my current belief
is single event that has been passed on throught the ages. While some of
the groups may have literally taken one myth from another people and revised
it for their needs I feel this only explains more modern versions. The more
ancient (maybe purer?) versions flow back into a real event thousands upon
thousands of years ago. We probably will never now. Oh, can you recommend
a book(s) that talk about your point "Levi-Straus' notion of deep structure"?

At 01:25 PM 01/08/96 -0600, Matt Tomaso wrote:
>I hope you dont mind me moving this discussion to anthro-l, where it should
>have been in the first place.

Not at all ... I hadn't realized I jumped listservs, a danger of being on
both I suppose.

>Second, I completely and totally agree that social facts are generally
>multifaceted and multicausal. If you have the time, look back over my past
>two years of anthro-l and arch-l participation. You'll notice that I
>conistently argue this point. This, for me, is one of many aspects that
>make human reality so interesting.

Are these saved somewhere in particular? I've only been on the list less
than a month.

>Fourth. Of course there is a lot of garbage constituting whole genres of
>literature. Again, this is a matter of opinion and interests and can not be
>If you mean to say that symbolic anthropology is one of these dismissable
>fine, that's your choice and I respectfully disagree.

No, not at all just pointing out the possibility.

>What i had wanted to accomplish was to suggest that we shouldn't rely on
>explanations like 'collective memory' and 'forgotten paradise' without
>elaborately unwrapping the assumptions and implication of those
>explanations. I have not yet seen any evidence here or elsewhere which
>adequately does so. In fact, the concepts themselves seem so unwieldy that
>I wonder if it would be possible to accomplish such a task. Feel free to
>make the attempt...

No, thanks I keep my day job. True 'collective memory' and 'forgotten
paradise' both constitute convienant buzzwords that are more easily applied
than defended. I am not very confident that we will ever be able to prove
'collective memory' maybe in the future. To go way over the deep end into
speculation as well (maybe not, depends on your viewpoint) ... for
arguements sake say reincarnation is a fact. 'Collective memory' in that
case may only be the sum of an individuals experience while it appears on
the surface to express a social memory being passed down the ages
genetically. I would use the repetition of errors performed by different
individuals ... the idea being that in a social memory the group would learn
from the mistake, while in a individual memory would only assist the current
incarnation if the error had been performed in the past.


Anthony Dauer, B.S.
Meticulating M.S. at GMU


Anthony Dauer

Psychopathic killers, however, are not mad, according
to accepted legal and psychiatric standards. Their acts
result not from a deranged mind but from a cold, calculating
rationality combined with a chilling inability to treat
others as thinking, feeling human beings. Such morally
incomprehensible behavior, exhibited by a seemingly normal
person, leaves us feeling bewildered and helpless.

Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths
Among Us, 1993. Dr. Robert D. Hare. First Pocket Books
trade paperback printing July 1995.