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Mythic view of the Universe and Religious-philosophical Consciousness

February 7, 2022 | ნახვა 162
Mythic view of the Universe and   Religious-philosophical Consciousness

                                                                                                    Kakha Ketsbaia

                   Doctor of Philosophy, Academician of the Academy of Philosophical Sciences of Georgia.Iv.                      Javakhishvili Tbilisi State Universitty, Associate Professor Departament of Sociology (Georgia)

        Mythic view of the Universe and   Religious-philosophical Consciousness


The science has asserted the fact that the earth is round like a ball for a very long time. Today, even the third-year pupil knows it, but it would be better if we considered the one of the oldest mythic truth, according to which the earth is flat, with more attention! In ancient times people had no doubts of truth of this statement. There was a time when such a notion was the only model of cosmic and human existence, and it was truth for millions of people. There were famous erudites, thinkers, military or political statesmen among them, and what is more, spiritual fathers of mankind, great religious authorities, clergymen, who shared the same idea. Hence, it would be quite right to raise question whether this assertion of our ancestors contains some valuable, necessary by today’s criteria information, or this everything is the result of weakness and stupidity of human mind, which evokes only the smile for contemporaneousness and nothing more. But the later is less acceptable. We can acknowledge that our ancestors were not so unintelligible and retarded not to know that earth was not flat, but round! They specially masked it, attached sacral, esoteric meaning to it, and covered the real essence of matter with poetic, mythic images. But on its side the later kept the information of great sacral importance (let’s remember what kind of sacral and esoteric meaning was attached to numbers by Pythagoreans and with what respect they kept numerous secrets connected to them. It is known from history of philosophy, how one of Pythagoreans killed himself because he had given away the secret of number N.) Our ancestors should have known that besides this world (such dimension) there is some other universe, having another dimension, or without any dimension at all – in the aspect of super dimension (“The kingdom of heaven”, “Paradise”) The earth is flat! It stands on three whales, and these whales themselves stand on turtle.
Such is a very short content of mythic cosmology, which is poetic mythic-archetypal expression of real essence of matter. Whale is a water animal, so is the turtle. In both cases we deal with water that must not be accidental. Scientifically acknowledged fact is that origin of life is connected with water. It is not accidental that the first philosopher Thales of Miletus acknowledged water element as the origin – “Arche” – of universe. One of the seven Christian sacraments, baptism, is also connected with water, which is the beginning of Christian life. According to above mentioned archetypal model of universe, it stands on the water or its origin is connected with water. Bible also confirms it. Saint David profit says about it, that God had established the world on the water. “Who established land on the water” (psalms 135.6). The same idea is given in genesis, according to which: “Darkness was above the abyss and the soul of god wandered above waters” (Genesis, 1.2). Saint father John of Damascus explains that “Abyss is nothing more, but a lot of water”, “God created the universe to separate upper universe water from lower universe water”, as he “established himself in the middle of water abyss” (God placed the water above the universe in order that it couldn’t be burned because of fervid of the sun and heavenly bodies). Hence from abovementioned the nearness and connection of archetypal model of universe with Bible is evident. It is evident that myth secretly tells us Biblical truth, which gives possibility of asserting that the basis of archetypal model of cosmic and human existence is the Bible, Holy Writ.
Mythic and religious notions on the structure and regularity of universe have not been yet differentiated up to the end at the given stage of culture and civilization. It is true that religious notions dominate, but mythic ones are not yet rejected. Moreover, there is no conflict situation between these notions, just on the contrary, myth serves religion, it is in the service of religious faith, because it is purely specific human phenomenon. Geocentric system had proved religious anthropocentrism, to which the notion on earth flatness corresponded. It is true that in the times of Ptolomaeus the spheric configuration of the earth did not woke doubts, but these ideas came from mythic consciousness and didn’t oppose religious doctrine.
If we want to comprehend the essence of the phenomenon, we should be not only scientist, scholar, but poet as well. Poetry is very close to both philosophy and religion (poetic images of psalms are not accidental).
When they say: “I am standing on something” – they always underline their own belief, faith, and just this idea is meant in the saying that the land stands on three whales or elephant (Hindu myth). Whale and elephant are the largest animals in the universe. Greatness is underlined by it, something huge, global and universal is implied (universe, cosmos). Their number is three – it is the symbol of old triad – love, kindness and beauty – or the symbol of God, creator of universe; turtle, which figures here, is certainly the symbol of time, which flows slowly like a turtle (turtle is nearly always a symbol of slow movement). Let us remember aporime of Zeno of Elea “Achilles and a Turtle”. This aporime besides metaphysical and logic-philosophical contents has got poetic, mythic and religious aspects, namely, a man, even if he was a swift-footed Achilles, would never outrun turtle-time!
Shortly, according to mythic notions, the earth is in the centre of the universe (Geocentrism). This is one more archetypal scheme. Information and knowledge given here must not be considered in physical plan, but look at it “with understanding”. Get it “with understanding” in hermeneutic plan (V. Dilthey). Then we can discover that our planet – earth is not in space centre relative to the universe, but in the centre of attention of supernatural, super cosmic being – of God. That’s why anthropocentrism is the necessary feature of religious and mythic thinking. That is the earth is flat and stands in the centre of universe and is supported by three whales standing on the turtle (water). That means that three-dimensional (earthly civilization) universe is in the centre of attention and protection of superior supernatural being, God, and extraordinary long way going to him can be passed with love, kindness and beauty (love-faith, kindness-moral, philosophy and esthetics-beauty). The fascination and beauty of old myths are just in it. So our ancestors didn’t have false and scientifically unjustified model of cosmic and human existence at all.
Ancient (if you would like, eastern) scientific or philosophic thinking is nourished by mythic, archetypal images of the universe. On its side Biblical thinking is nourishment of myth. Mythic images are closely interwoven with scientific opinions. There where “ratio” doesn’t feel itself confident, it always resorts to the help of myth, in the result of which revealing of mythic images and symbols becomes necessary. Even genius Plato addressed myth in his very critical moments, when pure reason (mind) was not capable of progressing because of lack of power and skills. That’s why people’s mind devours myth like spring water, this likeness of truth, and there is nothing extraordinary in it. It can be said that it is our (human being’s) necessary feature, as the human being is the creator of myth and symbols (E. Cassirer). Symbol, myth themselves are regulators of our experience and explanation-understanding, even because of this they are worthy of attention. It could be added, that myth interpreted in this way is in unison with religion, namely, in Judaist-Christian doctrine, which is told in books of Holy Writ.
Unfortunately “Living perception of myth” has lost. It is out of reach and in some cases even is unacceptable for modern, totally estranged person. However, myth doesn’t require faith from us but understanding. That’s why it’s time for us to treat it “with understanding”. Myth hides truth in itself; it can be especially said on religious truth, which has objective, ontological meaning and is of heavenly origin. Esoterically given truth connects it with religion, namely, Christianity – Orthodox Christianity, which hides heavenly truth in itself.


[1]. Bible, Tbilisi, 1989 (in Georgian).
[2].  Saint John of Damascus, Thorough reproduction of Orthodox faith, Tbilisi, 2000, (in Georgian).
[3]. Ernest Cassirer, “What is a man?” Tbilisi, 1983, (in Georgian).
[4].. S. Avaliani, K. Ketsbaia, Philosophy for Everyon, Tbilisi, 2009, (in Georgian).
[5]. K. Ketsbaia, Sociology of Religion Renewed Textbook, Tbilisi, 2020, (in Georgian).