All science writing is full of holes because all human thought is, by its nature,  full of holes: unproven, unprovable assertions i.e. Russell’s Teapots. Durkheim, Freud, Jung, Levi-Strauss, Stephen Jay Gould,  using the Torah as a model, weave porous rhizomic webs comprising much research of others, adding their own notes and many bold assumptions/conclusions hoping that their assembled compilation of myth hits a nerve, in the community. Myth: An association of ideas reinforced by habit.

Mythics ( JB neolog): All culture including all tradition, history, rite, ritual, religion, all language, science, law and belief as expressed in architecture, books, music, worship, all ongoing interrelations between and among all people engaged in all things. The entire ball of uniquely human wax - the big rhizome - the swarming, teeming, rising, falling nest. Mythics can also refer to a specific culture’s “whole ball of wax” as in American mythics or Aboriginal mythics. Mythics includes myth and religion and science. In biology there is Darwinian mythics referred to as “The Grand Synthesis” or the Genetic mythics encompassed in the term “The Central Dogma” We need a word that is more inclusive of myth or zeitgeist or weltanschauung or culture or society. Mythics. There is family mythics and personal mythics ( see: all memoir)

Mythics is the Kool aid you are given to drink and that you ingest / absorb in 10,000 different ways throughout life about how your society functions. Every parent and every profession has its mythics.

Fogify: Intentionally obscuring the matter at hand to prevent others from seeing deeply into one’s assertion. see: smokescreen

Clarify: Assembling the fog of others in an effort to explain one’s own fog. Foggy thought is amassed in plain enough language to make a case. Who’s to say otherwise? These days, who could possibly care? No one has the time to re-read their own fog let alone verify the fog of others. If they see a mark of membership in whatever priesthood ( usually a PhD)  it’s live and let live. throw your ideas in the pot until someone cares enough to argue.

Sfumato: The atmospheric reduction of the intensity of distant hues and tones. Green foliage looks blue and dim in the distance due to the effect of the atmosphere. Air filters yellow wavelengths of light from the green wavelength from trees, leaving blue.  Leonardo Da Vinci used this popular renaissance picture-making in the background of the “Mona Lisa”.

Blake’s Law: Understanding diminishes with the square of the distance from the matter in question. Corollary One: Understanding increases with the square of the distance from the matter in question.  Note One:  You can’t know the forest if you don’t know the trees. Note Two: Knowing trees while losing sight of the forest is to lose context and thus, meaning.

In his towering novel “The Structure of Evolutionary Theory” Stephen Jay Gould fills 1,300 pages trying to shift our understanding of core aspects of Charles Darwin’s theory of species evolution. Gould’s research and reasoning  weakens two of three of Darwin’s core arguments for species evolution. Gould’s achievement is  monumental but it makes him appear a cheeky upstart.  Gould generates 1,000 pages of intensely interesting ( though repetitive) historical and contemporary fact, figure and anecdote to fogify his achievement, to demonstrate obeisance to the big chief of all bioscience and all contemporary culture.

Darwin, the biggest paradigm shifter of our epoch, remains foundational in 2016. Gould hasn’t made a dent. To  try to rattle our core notions at this point, no matter the fecundity of one’s facts and figures perhaps gleaned from decades of diligent research, gets little traction. Scientific community to genius upstarts: “You’re all brilliant, probably right, now go away.”  Darwin, like Christianity, is bigger than science - he is our culture. He is untouchable. If Darwin goes, it all goes. His thought is a taproot of the rhizomic network of myth propelling our belief system. Diddle with Darwin at one’s own risk, even if you have a customized, two piece pool cue.  If Gould’s magisterial book had been published within 50 years of Darwin’s Earthshaking tome “On The Origin of Species”  Darwin would be a footnote rather than a foundation.

In his iconic book “The Elementary Forms of Religious Life” Emile Durkheim asserts that all religions share a few principles whether remote aborigines or urban judeo-christian sophisticates:

  1. A sense of sacred / profane, a belief that a man comprises a sensate and a spiritual being, mythic personalities
  2. Totemic representation of the sacred as well as the negative cult ( see: The Devil @ Christianity)
  3. Rites of initiation, rites of grieving,  gathering at regular intervals to celebrate clan / tribe/family identity, the tribal bond, hopes for good fortune,
  4. Acknowledgement of an overarching cosmic power-deity-god, a sense that each clan and each person contains a part of this power.

Durkheim asserts that both science and religion are products of belief. Society dominates all ideas sprung from the human mind:  scientific or religious. Durkheim asserts there is nothing beyond society, nothing greater than society and that individual thought and will is formed, judged and subsumed by society that religion is not primarily about the cosmos, the unknowable, the forces of the universe but about binding populations. “The believer is raised above his condition as a man thus gaining strength as he is saved from evil in whatever form evil may take” -Durkheim

Durkheim asserts the primacy of abstract theories/ideas above individual works as being more true. Durkheim, in studying (second hand) religious patterns of aboriginal tribes of Australia projects his discoveries among them onto all religions worldwide. He has entered his project with the full array of late Victorian prejudice regarding the inviolability of human progress, social evolution/ranking: aborigines are primitive (black skin)  Native Americans are less primitive ( redskin) and judeo-christian people most advanced (white skin). It is no small irony that Durkheim takes 350 pages of detailed ethnographic description to tell us how “primitive” Aborigines are. They are, of course, not primitive at all.

Much of Durkheim’s fog comes from outdated Victorian ideas distilled from misreading Darwin about evolution and fitness. Additional fog comes from his judaic notions of the primacy of the group over the individual and the co-equal place of science and religion.  Durkheim-Fog has roots in his Jewishness, his Darwinness, his Europeans-as- privilegedness. Nonetheless his book has great value due to his detailed discussion of components of religious life. Whether his ideas are right or wrong 100 years after their writing is beside the point. Durkheim’s assembled rhizomic mat of ideas has value even if every bold assertion can be contradicted. This is the beauty of fog. Fog has value - it can dim the harsh glare of rational thought, contemporary prejudice or logical examination to reveal a deep truth about people.


JB Questions-Observations:

  1. The Churinga is an aboriginal totem meant to inspire collective feelings of respect. Are the “Mona Lisa” “The Pieta” such totems for Christians? Is a Gothic cathedral a totemic space / structure?
  2. Cartesian Principle asserts that knowledge can only be established link by link on “indubitable first principles”  This Cartesian idea fully contradicts the way the human brain establishes knowing via its myriad strand rhizomic network.
  3. Does the contract have totemic status in Anglo-Euro life? It does if Capitalism is our religion if we have sacralized it.
  4. Renaissance Popes used the profane seduction of Raphael’s Madonnas and Borromini’s sexy sinuous architectural space in order to win back into the fold of the mother church souls lost to the Protestant Reformation. See: Counterreformation.
  5. Durkheim tries too hard to separate the sacred from the profane. His rhizomic thread snaps from too much cognitive dissonance. He fails to establish a thread, a string, a filament on which he could weave further assertions experiencing “Rhize-Fail” JB neolog i.e. The untethered rhizome of one’s argument.
  6. Charles Darwin pulled the intellectual roots out of Christianity to little effect. Few cared,  Christianity was never an intellectual enterprise anyway. “Faith is impervious to experience” - Lucien Levi-Bruel
  7. What religion were Muslims prior to 8th century?
  8. What is the correlation between protein acetylation and folding to protein function at cochlear hair cells?  Does the protein’s folded geometry correspond to the afferent pitch signal distinguishing 500 different pitches?
  9. To investigate:Cortical and sub-cortical Interneuron microtubule networks that augment electrochemical links via axons-dendrites-synapses-neurotransmitters. Is there a family of signalling proteins that travel from neuron to neuron via tubules? Perhaps initial sensation and motor response occurs via traditional axon-synapse mechanism followed by long-term physical networks of tubules that carry chemicals faster. Does an axon become a tubule? Does the myelin sheath fuse into a tube once electricity is not the signaling mechanism? Do neurochemicals take over from electrical charge or vice versa?
  10. Durkheim proposes society as the the source of the idea of the ideal rather than  innate individual consciousness. This is not so. Most humans, most mammals have an innate sense of proportion - it is key to mate selection and to esthetics in general throughout the arts.
  11. Durkheim's foggiest assertion is that the root of religion is in the collective not in the self.
  12. Another layer of Durk-fog is his valorization of the concept at the expense of individual expression and in so doing marginalizing all artmaking.


“Everything in social life including science, rests on opinion”

                                                                      - Emile Durkheim

February 2. 2016   5:50 PM