Mind and Myth

Aristotle recounts Hesiod's story of the generation of all things saying that the gods were the first principles of creation, and that those who did not taste nectar and ambrosia became mortal.

If we wanted to understand this myth as an attempt to esoterically philosophize, we could say, with St. Thomas, that perhaps the ambrosia and nectar signify the infinite goodness of the first principles and the delight of being intimately bound up with them, with the divine life that is the highest good. To be separated from this, to fail to participate in this divine life is to 'not taste of nectar and ambrosia' and to therefore be corruptible.

Though myth creates within us the wonder necessary for the philosophical life, it is dangerous inasmuch as meaning is partially concealed from those who did not create the myth. For instance, we cannot literally say that there is some substance consumed by God which would confer upon Him incorruptibility since then it would not be God Who is incorruptible in Himself but who becomes incorruptible through the use of something prior.

Fables and stories are meant to draw us into the speculative science but can never replace it. This may even apply to Sacred Scripture. We can never abandon reasoned analysis in hopes that meaning will be made for us or delivered to us. To do so requires that we either become agnostic or fall into error. The truth does not lie in either of these.

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