Konferencija „Nuolat pasireiškiantis mitas“ / „Ever Present Myth“

2019 m. spalio 7-8 d. Vilniaus universitete vyko tarptautinė konferencija, skirta Jeano Gebserio idėjų plėtojimui šiandieniniame pasaulyje. Pastaruosius keletą dešimtmečių Gebserio konferencijos vyko JAV, Europoje, Japonijoje ir kitose šalyse. Šiuo metu susidomėjimas Gebserio idėjomis ir darbais didėja Europoje ir Lietuvoje.

Akimirką liaukimės žavėtis techniniais modernybės pasiekimais. Turime pripažinti, kad jie buvo pasiekti orientuojantis į kontroliavimą ir vartojimą, o taip pat vyraujant išskaičiuojančiai sąmonei. Ši sąmonė yra siaura, ne universali, skatina susiskaidymą ir izoliaciją. Negalime įveikti šio susiskaidymo ir izoliacijos neatsiverdami kitiems supratimo būdams. Mitinis supratimas, kaip teisingai pastebi Gebseris, skirtingai nuo dominuojančio moderniuose Vakaruose yra ne kiekybiškas, o kokybiškas ir ne skaldantis, o integruojantis. Mitas yra muzikalus ir poetiškas pasaulio be priešybių atvėrimas. Konferencija skirta analizuoti galimybes plačiau atskleisti mitinę sąmonę, parodyti jos neišvengiamumą visose mūsų gyvenimo srityse.

Konferencijos pranešėjai ir organizatoriai [iš kairės į dešinę]: Laura Varanauskaitė, Algis Mickūnas, Alphonso Lingis, Daiva Svigarienė, Vladimir L. Marchenkov, Burt C. Hopkins, Žilvinas Svigaris, Naglis Kardelis, Brigita Gelžinytė, Martynas Švėgžda von Bekker.

Konferencijos metu skaityti pranešimai

Žilvinas Svigaris, įvadinis žodis

Alphonso Lingis „Macondo “

Jean-Luc Nancy opposes myth and literature. Herder, Schlegel, Schelling, and Bachofen elaborated the modern understanding of myth. Myth, created by the community, depicts and found community as communion of humans with one another, with the dead, with ancestors and with gods, with other species of animals, communication, communion with nature and with the cosmos. Literature has evacuated this conception of community as communion. Our study of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude breaks down this opposition of myth and literature. It also breaks down Nancy’s conception of the concept of community, death, and community without communion.

Algis Mickūnas „The Original Opening: Tracing the Apodictic Presence“

Hermes, Mystics, the Prophets, Gurus, Shamans, and numerous Sagas, tell us how to live, to die, what is good and evil, our purpose and destiny, but they do not recount the origin of their wisdom, and the origin is Mythos before specific stories are presented. Various thinkers speak of open horizons, the clearing, and even debate whether humans are fallen angels or risen apes; yet in all cases there is an understanding backgrounding such speaking. It is the background Mythos which this presentation shall attempt to trace.

Martynas Švėgžda von Bekker „Creating the World: The Transparency of Indian Vedic and Lithuanian Mythical Hearing of the World “

The paper attempts to discover and explore parallels between the archaic folklore music of the Lithuanian and Indian regions and reveal the links between those distant traditions with the help of discoveries of philosophy, musicology, anthropology, philology, mythology, etymology and semiotics. Furthermore, exploration of the similarities of the Lithuanian language and Sanskrit helps to discover those parallels between Lithuanian and Indian cultures even more in-depth. The parallels between those cultures paper justify by comparing and analyzing the world-hearing and the world-sounding, which we find in language that is, in speech, dialects, proverbs, songs, riddles, fables. Moreover, those parallels we explore in mythological worldviews of those distant cultures, the worldviews which we primarily find in personalization and personification of Nature. Paper also philosophically reveals similar examples of myths of Lithuania to India, and present the relationships between the understanding the world, which these cultures named, voiced through their meanings of words: syllables, vowels, consonants, sounds, their meanings and possible vivid characters implying special symbols. Paper not only searches for present or former relations between folklore and mythology of these cultures but also emphasize the significance of these outcomes and discoveries for present-day Lithuania, the formation of its culture and identity in a global context.

Burt C. Hopkins „The Unwritten Teachings in Plato’s Symposium: Socrates’ Initiation into the Ἀριϴμός of Ἔρως“

The paper argues that the ontology of Self behind Descartes’s paradigmatic modern account of passion is an obstacle to interpreting properly the account Socrates gives in the Symposium of the truth of Eros’s origin, nature, and gift to the philosophical initiate into his truth. The key to interpreting this account is located in the relation between Eros and the arithmos-structure of the community of kinds, which is disclosed in terms of the Symposium’s dramatic mimesis of the two Platonic sources of being, the One Itself and the indeterminate dyad. This interpretation’s focus is the vulgar and philosophical dimensions of the phallic pun at the beginning of the dialogue. Both dimensions of the dialogue’s opening joke manifest the appearance of Eros in the dialogue as a distorted imitation of the koinonia of the greatest kinds: Being, Rest, Motion, the Same, and the Other.

Naglis Kardelis „Myth as Proto-philosophy: Some Considerations on the Philosophical Aspects of Myth“

Many a history of philosophy begins with the foundational myth – created not by the ancient Greeks themselves, but by the Classical scholars of the 19th century – of the birth of philosophy which has supposedly emerged from the medium of dim and unarticulated thought as a result of the victory of the nascent Greek logos over the fading Greek muthos. Since then, the invented story of the mortal struggle between the “rational” logos and the “irrational” muthos – the story based on too sharp a distinction between the logos and the muthos – has become a staple for uncritical scholarly minds.
Though the beginnings of ancient Greek philosophy are linked with the names of Thales, Anaximander, and Pythagoras, it is only natural to suppose that the Presocratic thought was not born in an empty place, “out of nothing”, and had some anticipation in the pre-philosophical – both oral and textual – tradition of the Archaic and early Classical periods of ancient Greek culture. The overemphasis on the muthos : logos distinction loses its credibility when we draw our attention to the fact that, contrary to traditional scholarly expectation, we find the most powerful anticipation of Greek philosophy namely in those texts belonging to the Archaic period that are most mythological in their content and way of expression.
For example, already a few decades ago some scholars expressed an opinion that the Theogony of Hesiod has many conceptual similarities with and may have directly or indirectly influenced the early cosmological systems of the Milesian philosophers. It is also important to note that if we expect to find some anticipation of philosophy in Homer, we should look at those places in the Iliad and especially the Odyssey that have some relation to mythology or where the poet (whoever he or she might have been) expressly deals with certain mythical themes. For instance, a brief yet colorful description of the cave of the nymphs found at the beginning of the thirteenth book of the Odyssey, already in Late Antiquity attracted the attention of some Neoplatonists such as Porphyry who interpreted this passage in the philosophical light, comparing this cave and its layout with the whole of the cosmos with its different levels. In the Odyssey, the Homeric descriptions of Odysseus’ wanderings in the faraway imaginary lands and islands, either mythical or semimythical, located in the far West or only in the poet’s imagination, as well as the crucial events that took place in those outlandish landscapes, have far greater potential of philosophical meaning and philosophical interpretation than any “ordinary” or “realistic” happening presented by Homer in this poem. To a somewhat lesser degree, the same might be said about the Iliad.
The etymology of the Greek word philosophia reveals that the ancient Greeks themselves viewed philosophy as “love of wisdom”. It is very important to have in mind that initially philosophy was thought of as love of wisdom and not as love of sheer knowledge. This circumstance is very crucial, for not all possible knowledge is conducive to wisdom and is crowned by it. Had the Greeks conceived of philosophy as “love of knowledge”, love of knowledge sheer and simple, they would have chosen an appropriate word for this kind of intellectual enterprise, naming it, for example, philomathy (philomatheia) instead of philosophy (philosophia). Primitive positivistic explanations of the origins and nature of philosophy tend to overemphasize its similarity to science, viewing philosophy, not as a sui generis intellectual enteprise, but only as a “cradle” of positive (positivistic) science, even as a some sort of proto-science – and at the same time, rather condescendingly, as childish or adolescent not-yet-science.
It is far more relevant to say that philosophy, like myth, deals in wisdom – and loves wisdom, than to say that it, like science, deals with knowledge and “hard facts”. Though philosophy, without doubt, has some similarity to science, this similarity is less essential and less important than philosophy’s similarity to myth.
Of course, myth cannot be viewed as philosophy sensu stricto, yet there is reason to think of it as a some sort of archaic proto-philosophy. But in what sense are we entitled to speak of myth as proto-philosophy? In order to answer this question, we should look for some traits of a specific “love of wisdom” that might be found as inherent in the inner nature of myth as such. If found in the very nature and essence of myth, this “love of wisdom” which, as we have mentioned, is also characteristic of philosophy, would reveal the fundamental similarity between myth and philosophy.
First of all, both myth and philosophy (as conceived initially, by the Greeks), unlike positive science, aims to view – to contemplate theoretically – the whole of reality, not any isolated part of it. Even if they are interested in some part of reality, they view it not in isolation, but in relation to other parts and the whole of reality. We might say that both philosophical theōria and mythical theōria aim at construing “theoretical” visions of the world as holistic spatial wholes that are contemplated with physical or metaphysical eyes – or with the eyes of sheer imagination. Both philosophy and myth, unlike science, are concerned with meaning and not with the empirical facts, and this preoccupation, characteristic of both myth and philosophy, with “theoretical”, holistic vision of reality stems from the fact that, as we well know, only deeply integrated – densely contextually interwoven – organic wholes have a potential to become meaningful, not mechanistic systems comprised of atomized and isolated elements.
“Theoretically” contemplated wholes are the wholes that are arranged spatially. Yet the wholes that are of interest both to myth and philosophy might be arranged not only spatially, but also temporally. This is the reason why both philosophy and myth are so concerned with narrative which, taken in its entirety, might be thought of as a temporal whole. As we know, philosophy is cultivated in the medium of language and is construed as a discourse, and every discourse is a temporally arranged sequence of discursive elements that are glued together with the glue of meaning. This meaning gradually evolves in the process of narration. Myth, like philosophy, is also concerned with narration – yet this is an understatement, for myth, in its most fundamental sense, is narrative. Aristotle in his Poetics defines the Greek word muthos as a plot of tragedy, and this plot is viewed as all its sequentially arranged elements. It is important to observe that both philosophical and mythical narrative is a sequentially construed temporal whole which engenders meaning by the very process of narration – by way of glueing together all the discursive elements with the glue of gradually evolving unified vision. Philosophical and mythical narrative is very similar to philosophical and mythical theōria in that they both are employed as the vehicles, or instruments, of the creation of meaning by way of wholes, arranged either spatially or temporally. This similarity – in terms of theōria and narrative – between philosophy and myth gives us ample reason to consider myth as a sort of proto-philosophy.
Another interesting feature of myth is its preoccupation with existential themes. Myths are dealing with the most fundamental human desires, longings, problems, disasters, anxieties, challenges, and temptations, and mythical heroes are presented as facing up to – and ultimately overcoming – the most serious challenges that spell life or death both for them personally and for the communities they represent. Myth is concerned with problem solving on personal, communal, and societal levels. Therefore, we might even say that, in this sense, myth is a precursor of existential philosophy. The dangers of human extravagance, hubris, the importance of limits and moderation in human life, the irony of destiny, the fleeting nature of time and life, the impermanence of luck and human success – these and other “existential” themes are most seriously dealt with in the medium of myth.
It is not a coincidence that contemporary writers in existentialist tradition so frequently turn to Greek myths for inspiration and employ in their writings entire mythical stories. We are accustomed to think that, chronologically, existential philosophy comes later than essentialist philosophy viewed as “metaphysics”. Philosophical essentialism, or “metaphysics”, is usually (and, in general, quite correctly) considered as an achievement of ancient Greek thought, and the beginnings of existential philosophy are traced back to the nineteenth century, to the writings of Kierkegaard. Strangely enough, in Greek culture itself, namely, in the realm of Greek myth and epic tradition imbued with mythical themes, we first encounter existential proto-philosophy and only somewhat later, in the writings of the first “true” philosophers, find the first anticipations of Greek essentialism.
Therefore, myth is concerned not only with theōria that creates meaning by way of construing holistic visions of reality: as existential proto-philosophy, myth is also concerned with praxis, with practical action and practical reason aimed at problem solving and resourceful dealing with the most challenging situations of human life. This striking similarity between myth and philosophy gives us yet another reason to view myth as proto-philosophy, this time a practical one.

Brigita Gelžinytė „The Death of Narcissus in the Mirror of Hegel“

Hardly any other myth has been so much exploited and still so misunderstood as the myth of Narcissus. Modern literature, visual arts or psychoanalysis have exploited it for more than a century. Among others, such authors like Schopenhauer and Nietzsche already ascribed this image to the modern consciousness in general. For due to its emphasis on reason’s self-reflective activity as a constitutive power of reality, it presumably threatens with narcissistic solipsism. Narcissus is identified by his failure to see the other, as even in the other he can only see and desire himself. His obsession with his own image is assumed to be his fatal flaw. But what if it is quite the opposite? What if this involuntarily desiring and possessing one’s self as the other or the other as oneself becomes precisely what eradicates the tension between oneself and the other? What if the promise of Narcissus’s redemption lies precisely in his tragedy? Even though Hegel pays only scarce attention to the figure of Narcissus, it is attempted to show that we find the myth implicitly retold once again in the fourth chapter of the Phänomenologie.

Vladimir L. Marchenkov „Notes on the Necessity of Myth in Culture“

The paper argues that myth’s necessity for a culture rests on its distinctive characteristics: realism, immediacy, holism, and personalism. The negative attitude towards myth in modernity stems from the peculiar structure of the modern subject, where all faculties are subordinated to the will to power. This subordination reduces rational thinking to the instrumental intellect and leads to the rise of a peculiar modern mythology in which the lifeless, inert world is conquered by the “rational” and “free” human being. The story of this subject’s infinite expansion bears the name of progress. It is for the sake of progress that the modern subject inverts traditional myth in order to create its own, a myth that will make progress unstoppable. All characteristics of traditional myth mentioned above are obstacles for the modern subject and it is no surprise that all of them constitute the chief problems in modern thought. The reality of the world became the earliest victim of modernity but the others—immediacy, integrity, and personalistic nature of human experience—also became problematic nodes in modern intellectual history. The modern subject has been deeply divided about them from the outset and in the end of its journey so far, in post-structuralism, came to a wholesale denial of all of them. The paper ends with a prediction that, if a new mythology is to replace the modern myth, it will have to arise from a differently conceived relation between reason and will as the core of a new type of subjectivity.

Žilvinas Svigaris „Mythical Relations of Lineage in Archaic Lithuanian Songs“

The individual was once rooted in his lineage, and in some countries this still applies to this day. However, this rootedness becomes a more and more unpopular alternative to popular technological culture, based on the illusion of progress, which builds the globalized world today. Economic, political, social and other processes intensively promote the Western concept of the individual who is free and independent of all ethnic and even cultural values. The individual no longer belongs to his family, tribe or state. Local cultural values and underpinnings of the millennia are treated as obsolete, and are replaced by superficial, globally-spreading technological achievements with increasing scale and noise. All attempts to maintain an ethnic, cultural, or other identity become a matter of survival for many nations, and this is no longer dependent on the size of a nation. Therefore, the presentation tries to answer the question of how to preserve cultural and ethnic identity in a globalized world. Ethnic identity, rooted in the archetype of lineage and relations to the origin of community, mythically links man to the cultural heritage of tradition, its wisdom and values. The origin of many archaic traditions extends to the mythical world of the gods. Such tradition is also found in archaic Lithuanian folklore. Relations of the family here go beyond the concept of the family today. Man is associated with nature, animals, trees and plants, he sounds together with the universe in old Lithuanian songs. The presentation explores mythopoetic rootedness developed in archaic Lithuanian folklore, where an individual resides in the creative nature together with his community. The articulation of the phenomenon of rootedness is extremely important today, because the identity in global society will be maintained only by those communities that will preserve and cultivate their essential relationships with the past, which mythically links them to their origin.

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