Dialogues of Nodin and William - Origins of Myths #12
(PD) Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres - Detail of the Apotheosis of Homer
Copyright ©2008-2019 - updated May 11, 2019
William: Nodin, did you know that another person with your name and occupation exists in a northern region?
Nodin: Yes, I have heard of the fellow, and some of the reports by individuals who know the other Nodin have not been flattering; but that is to be expected, for regardless of a man's behavior or view in life, there will always be individuals who agree or disagree.
William: But is it not peculiar that an individual might have the same first and last name as yours, as well as have a similar occupation? Such a coincidence!
Nodin: My name is not so uncommon within our region of the world, and I would suspect that there should be many thousands of individuals with the same first name, and as many individuals with the same last name. Does it not stand to reason that the odds state that there must be many individuals with the same first and last names? Nevertheless, as you are familiar, I have always lived in this southern region, and it is likely that I will never leave this region. I was born here, I matured within this region, and I am now with comfort of this region.
William: True, statistically, if your first name is common among all surnames, and your surname is also relatively common, then it is likely that numerous individuals would possess the same first and last name as yours. But what about the occupation? The closeness of similarities begins drawing close to being cause for believing that you and the other person might be one and the same.
Nodin: Everyone that knows me, knows that I live here in the south, that I do not live in the north, and there is no reason for anyone to believe that I might be the other individual, though the other Nodin might have the same name as I. For a man to believe otherwise, the man would have to invent a belief in his mind, one based on fantasy, not one based on observed evidence. As for occupations, how many occupations are there? If you count the possible occupations of man, you will find that there are few.
William: Surely there must be many occupations, and it now interests me to determine how many occupations there might be. There are laborers, office clerks, plumbers, electricians, machinists, mechanics, pilots, authors, doctors, lawyers, politicians, priests, musicians, teachers, carpenters, and already I find myself striving with difficulty to think of other occupations.
Nodin: Several of the occupations that you mentioned are of similar skills, such as the lawyers and politicians, and it is the variations of expertise that separate one level of skill from another, and one occupation from the other. A good electrician must also have a skill in carpentry, and a good machinist must also have a skill in mechanics. Tell me, William, the occupation of the northern Nodin, is his occupation of the same skill as mine, or perhaps might his occupation merely have a similar title?
William: Oh, I see what you are pointing to, that as an electrician might be capable of installing electrical wire in a house, a second individual whose occupation might also be deemed electrical, his skill in electrical theory might be far greater, and that his occupation might involve the design and diagnosing of intricate electronic circuits that the first individual might not have knowledge of.
Nodin: That is correct, for though two occupations might share the same title, the two occupations encompass numerous levels of skills, and there is not a cause for believing one man's occupation is the same as another man's. Observe how the human language has changed during only the past few decades, that where once a technician was deemed to be a highly skilled individual who serviced technical devices, now the word "technician" can imply something as simple as an unskilled hospital employee who delivers bottles of pills from room to room. Where once the occupation of maintenance had implied the skills necessary to repair and upkeep technical equipment, now maintenance can imply something as simple as sweeping the floor. The human language of today is so careless in its definitions, that now any word can mean anything, and the general public often does not know enough about a topic to be capable of discerning how words ought to be used.
William: Ah, true, and that is why the general public might jump to the conclusion that you and the other Nodin might be the same person, because the public does not sufficiently understand your occupation to realize why your occupation and the occupation of the other Nodin's is different? Is this not also like the titles of scientist and philosopher, that a man might know so little of both that he does not know that there exists variances of science and philosophy, and therefore the man might deem all scientists to be similar, and all philosophers to be similar?
Nodin: Correct. It is wrong for anyone to jump to a conclusion without first gathering all available information about a topic. Though two men may have the same names, and the two men may have the same occupational title, and the men may be listed in the same list of men with that name, still it is necessary to continue asking questions to verify whether or not the men are two. The moment that an individual forms a conclusion without asking further questions, a myth is born.
William: That is an interesting topic, Nodin, for often I have wondered how it might be that myths began. Many people claim that superstitions were what led to the creation of myths, and if superstitions are a cause of myths, then might it be said that the unknowing, which causes superstitions, is the root of all myths?
Nodin: Is superstition truly based on an unknowing, or might superstitions be based on a different thing? What does the law of firsts and the law of observation dictate?
William: If I apply the law of firsts, then I quickly arrive at the conclusion that I cannot apply the law of observation due to the first events not being observable, and therefore I must conclude that I cannot know the origins of popular myths nor even of superstitions. Is this not of the same error of the prodigy biography book that we viewed in the library? That the author failed to apply the laws of firsts and observation, which resulted in the book inventing conclusions based upon imagination rather than evidence?
Nodin: Excellent! And do you now see that, without verifiable evidence to be observed, no man can claim to know the origin of a myth or superstition that nascented prior to his birth? But that, rather, the myth can be the unknowing itself, an unknowing that is claimed to be a knowing?
William: Yes, and within my mind is a distaste for how many people today claim that they know the origins of myths, even though no evidence exists to support the individuals' claims. The myths within the library book are capable of being proven as myths because we have evidence of how the myths began in recent years, but we have no means of verifying how a myth may have been born thousands of years ago. But on the topic of evidence, Nodin, some individuals have presented what appears to the public to be convincing evidence for the cause of origins of some religions and systems of belief. It is quite easy to disprove the claims, but I am puzzled why so many people so easily believe another man's claim of truth.
Nodin: Illustrate for me an example of what you are alluding to, William, so that I might have a better-clarified concept of what your thoughts might be.
William: Allow me to use the symbol of a cross for my example. It is claimed that the cross is a mythic symbol used in early Pagan religions, and now that the cross is also used in Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity, therefore all the religions are copy-cats of the earliest religion, and that therefore all religions are based upon myths. As you and I, and all other healthy minds know, the use of a similar symbol does not imply sameness. And please allow me to confess that my mind is now with a greater realization of how two or more individuals with the identical same names does not infer that the two individuals are the same person, nor that the two individuals might be copy-cats of the other, and the thought applies to both individuals living today as well as individuals that lived thousands of years ago.
Nodin: And how is it that the information about the cross is being made to the public?
William: The claimants present paintings and carvings of each religion's patriarchs, and within the paintings and carvings there exists the symbols of crosses.
Nodin: And when were the paintings and carvings created?
William: I have been told by scholars, and through my own personal research of books that claim to have researched the topic, that the paintings and carvings were created during numerous eras spanning thousands of years.
Nodin: Does a painting of a cross imply that the painter was with perfect knowledge, and that the painter has no choice in his art but to only paint perfect things?
William: No, for the painter is human, and he can choose to insert a cross on any painting, whether the painting's topic might be of religion or of the stars.
Nodin: And so then, if we apply the law of firsts and the law of observation upon the painters, then we know that the painters themselves did not have perfect knowledge, and we also then know that the paintings themselves cannot convey perfect knowledge.
William: That is true, for it has been my opinion that the painters expressed their artistic license to create what the painters desired, and the paintings themselves do not necessarily reflect true knowledge, and therefore it is wrong for anyone to use the paintings as alleged evidence of how religions might have used or copied the symbolism from one religion to the next.
Nodin: Very good, and so then you and I are in agreement, that the alleged evidence presented by the claimants is false and deceptive?
William: Yes, we are very much in agreement. But felt within my heart and mind is a question of why the many philosophies, religions, and other ideologies might use similar symbols. What might be the origin of the reason for so many cultures to develop and use similar symbols? To me, it appears to be more than a coincidence, and therefore surely there must be a reason why humans have continued doing similar things throughout history.
Nodin: Ah, your question has spawned within me a delightful memory of my youth, during a time that I gave additional attention to the physics of Nature. I was standing at the north side of a brown-painted wooden-framed west window when the observation was rationalized, and as I gazed out the window to the beautiful spring day, I was pleased that the mind had recognized the obvious, and I felt a comfort as well as a sadness that this Reality is so simplistic. Similar to there being a small quantity of occupations, there exists only a small finite quantity of actions that can occur in this Reality, and it is natural and to be expected that there will be similarities between many people's lives, but the similarities do not infer one or the other similarity is made-up, mythed, or copy-catted in any manner.
William: A small quantity of actions in Nature? How can that be possible? For within my observations, I perceive that there exists an endless quantity of possibilities, and I am not with an understanding of what you might be alluding to, Nodin.
Nodin: A thing can move, and the thing can change directions, or the thing can change into a different state of existence, but those three actions are about the whole of the limits of all things, and yet all things exist within the singularity of movement. Your sensorial perceptions perceive, and yet the senses are based upon other things moving, changing direction, or changing into different states of existence. And within the motion and change of things, there is a small quantity of possibilities of how objects can react to another object's motion and change.
William: I do realize what you say is true for physics, but what about human life? And human choices? Is there not the potential for an almost infinite number of possibilities?
Nodin: And what more can man do with naming an object, but to use a preexisting language, and to rely upon the motion of the vocal chords and tongue to speak the syllables of a name? There are only but a small quantity of syllables available in any language, and it must occur that the syllables will be repeated, regardless of what the syllables might symbolize.
William: True, words are by their very nature limited to within the envelope of language, but what about the events in one's life? If we were to say that there are only a small quantity of actions possible, then that would also imply that our very minds and bodies are trapped within a small marble of existence.
Nodin: Your description of life within a marble is a delightful one, for indeed this life is as bound and chained to within an encapsulation of limited choices. Observe man, observe his behavior, observe how his behavior is in reaction to his environment, and that the typical man's thoughts cannot exceed the marble of his immediate culture. The whole of the Universe is as a small shallow pool of reflected and refracted light, the material Universe is finite, as a tiny flattened marble within an infinite sea of timeless consciousness, and as the material Universe is finite, so are man's choices finite.
William: But, even so, if man's thoughts are too often limited to his immediate environment, what has that to do with our topic of today, that of myths?
Nodin: Do you not see? Visualize before you that there exists in your neighborhood a hundred men named Nodin. Of those hundred men, it is likely that all one-hundred will be of a similar behavior, that of having an occupation, of dressing similar, and of having a spouse and children. There are so very few choices that the men can choose, and it is inevitable that some of the men will lead very similar lives, including the names of their wives and children.
William: Ah, so then what might appear to be a coincidence, might instead actually be caused by individuals not having sufficient opportunities for other choices?
Nodin: Yes, very correct. Sometimes the coincidences may appear to be rather fantastic and improbable, but when viewing the limitations of choices, it is inevitable that the coincidences will occur in time. Consider this: two kings of the same kingdom were crowned in the same year except being one-hundred years apart, both had a lazy eye, both had been commanders of ships, both were second sons, both were assassinated on a Friday in a similar manner, both were succeeded by kings with the same names, and more than a dozen other similarities exist between the kings. How should you and I approach this story about the kings, with belief or disbelief? Might the first king have been real, and the second king be a myth of the first? Or might both kings have been mere legends?
William: What you speak of, Nodin, holds too many coincidences, and it would appear that surely the second king, if not both, might be an invention, a myth.
Nodin: But you see, William, I was speaking of kings Lincoln and Kennedy, and were they not real individuals?
William: Ah, yes, the coincidences surrounding their lives and deaths are remarkable. Many people still living today can give firsthand witness that Kennedy was a real king, and the history of Lincoln was written before Kennedy was born, and so there does exist sufficient evidence to verify that the coincidences are but coincidences, and do not imply a myth.
Nodin: If we were to investigate the lives of common man, we would find that there exists many thousands, and perhaps millions, of men who led remarkably similar lives, but since the men did not become famous, then the public does not know how frequent it might be for two men to share similar names and events in life. We must conclude that coincidences do occur, and that close similarities between one man and another man do not necessitate that either man is a copy-cat or myth of the other man.
William: Yes, I see now, and even if all cultures and all religions were to use the same symbolism, it would not necessarily infer that the cultures acquired the symbolism from a singular preexisting source.
Nodin: But also give attention to how some individuals thousands of years from now, who did not live during this era, and who will not perform the necessary research to verify evidence, might believe that Kennedy was a myth. Can you see how the separation of time, the lack of documented historical records, and the lack of observation can lead to a belief that a real thing might be a myth?
William: Yes, and the whole of the difficulty before us today rests within the inability to apply the law of firsts and the law of observation. If a man cannot observe the first event in a sequence, then he cannot know how a thing came into being. But Nodin, as with the book at the library, the prodigy biography, were you not able to discern what was true and what was invention? By what similar methods might we use to verify whether an ideology might be true or false?
Nodin: With great humor I recently read a remark from an individual who claimed that "history does not lie", and with the sorely uneducated man believing that all history books are immaculate words of truth, did the man then claim that his belief, a belief that religions are all based on myths, was allegedly substantiated. Well-educated historians know that history books are prone to be inaccurate, and as you and I observed with the prodigy biography, though a book may claim to be historically accurate, it may in fact be all lies. Understand this well, William, that just as no word can correctly communicate the same meaning from one man to the next man, so likewise is it impossible for any book of words to correctly communicate a fullness of knowledge. If a thing is valid in one field of investigation, then the thing will be valid for all fields of investigation, and since words cannot accurately convey a fullness of intention when spoken, then the words also cannot convey a fullness of intention when written.
William: I agree, Nodin, for indeed, you and I have fully verified it to be true. Ah, within my mind I am attempting to compare all things to all things else, as you taught me well, and I am aware that perhaps our search for truth in the accuracy of ideologies might be along the manner of how you also taught me to discover the definition of a word? That is, to experience what the word implies, as I did with the word "honesty", and to observe myself during the experience?
Nodin: Very good William, you are learning to apply known rules of thought to all thoughts, that if a technique has proven correct for one use, then it will be correct for all uses. So yes, the only method of verifying whether an ideology is true or false is for the individual to experience what the ideology teaches, and to then observe one's own self to determine whether the teachings are valid or not.
William: But here we return to the necessity of investing many years into the mastering of an ideology, which as I have said before, seems to require more dedication than I might desire to exert.
Nodin: That is, of course, your choice, to come to understand a thing through firsthand experience, or to choose to not know of a thing. Each man has the same choice, but please tell me this; that of the men who presented the claims that religions were founded upon myths, how many of the men do you suspect were of an understanding gained through firsthand observation?
William: Oh but that is an easy question, for I am certain that none of the men held a firsthand understanding of the religions, for none of the men exhibited even the slightest knowledge of the religions or the zeitgeist, that is, the ideas prevalent in an era and culture, and in fact, the men presented very many claims about the religions that were obviously and verifiably not true. But back to my question, and so that I might clarify the question further; if words cannot convey a fullness of intention, then how might I or anyone else analyze an ideology? If I already know that the memorizing of words cannot lead to a fullness of understanding about an ideology, then how can I know what teaching it is that I ought to experience? Or even if I am experiencing a correct teaching?
Nodin: One method is to approach an ideology with a stubbornness of historical and logical critiquing, that is, with the design to prove all things written by the ideology to be false or unverifiable. It is not difficult to place almost all written words within a classification of being unsubstantiated. How can we personally know for certain that what a man writes is true or false? If there exists a possibility for a written thing to have been invented by a man, then we cannot rationally accept the thing as being an undeniable truth. As with what you and I have discussed over the many weeks; do you accept some of my thoughts because of my words, or because you yourself have verified the words' intentions by your applying the concepts in your own life and then observing how the concepts produced the desired result?
William: That is very correct, Nodin, for even at this moment I do not trust any words you speak, but I do give sufficient trust to investigate your thoughts further, and I can then observe how the concepts influence my own life, which proves to me that the concepts are valid.
Nodin: Excellent, William, for I desire for no man to believe my words, but rather the desire is that a man will lend sufficient trust to experiment and prove to himself whether the words' intentions are valid or false; and with a desire that if a man might be honest with himself, that he might come to accept that if he chooses to not perform experiments and observations, that in so doing he has also chosen the preference to not know of a topic, and that he will forever remain with the admission that he knows nothing of the topic.
William: It appears to me that your view is quite dissimilar to what I have observed amongst most men, for indeed most men say that I should believe in their words, and that my belief in the opinions of the men should be sufficient for my knowing of all things. In the men's view, I should be happy believing in the men, but in your view, I ought not to find happiness until I can believe in my own verification through experiments and observation. Thank you, Nodin, for allowing me the opportunity to observe the polarities of belief, that in the believing of external things without verification, or the believing of internal things verified through experience and observation.
Nodin: Back to your question; it is a wise thing to first read the whole of an ideology's writings, so as to gain a vague concept of the ideology's doctrines. After the writings have been read in their fullness and in proper sequences, then it is useful to apply the historical and logical critiquing to determine what is most easily classified as false or suspect in origin. The critiquing will of course be based on a logic that has no base of knowledge of the topic, and the critiquing will of necessity initially be in error, but all things do require a starting point, and it is necessary to start with what logic a person currently possesses.
William: Ah, but would not such a critiquing result in almost the whole of all writings being deemed false or suspect in origin? For surely it is a simple thing to merely claim that nothing can be known, and therefore all things are suspect.
Nodin: Yes, but the primary emphasis necessary is that of each concept within an ideology that a man might deem as false or suspect in origin, the man must back-up his claim with verifiable evidence, and not merely dismiss a written concept upon the grounds that the man might simply choose to not believe in the concept. Men who disbelieve in a thing without the men first having solid evidence to support the disbelief, the men are no less guilty of a vacancy of logic as are the men who believe in a thing without the men first having reason to support the belief.
William: Oh but Nodin! This is a dangerous thing! For if a man so much as twinkles a thought about an ideology, and the man does not then pursue a thorough investigation into the whole of the ideology and every other topic related to the proving and disproving of his own conclusions, then in so doing the man will have condemned his own logic into a pit of fallacies. Does not this need of verifying one's beliefs and disbeliefs render all but the most dedicated of men as imbeciles? Forgive my use of the word, but I can think of no better term than to judge us all as imbeciles for our believing and disbelieving in things that we cannot know a fullness of answers for.
Nodin: And so do you now better understand why I do not interpret the human mind as superior? Are we not all guilty of the same fallacies, of believing and disbelieving in things that we have no evidence for? A man might become skilled in one topic, but the man will remain unskilled in other topics, and no man is without blame.
William: Yes, I now better comprehend why you might not interpret yourself as above average, and I also grasp another reason why a man might portray the external behavior of modesty, while the inward nature of the man is simply stating truth.
Nodin: Within the writings of an ideology, there will exist certain teachings that an individual can experiment with by accepting the teaching into the man's own life, and the man can then observe how the teachings affect himself personally. By such a method, the man can learn how the teachings may or may not relate to the intentions of the words. A man must first learn the definitions of the words before the man can understand what the words imply.
William: Ah, yes, very good, for indeed it is imperative for two men to share a similar experience in life before the men can then use a singular word to communicate similar meanings. So then, and as you have repeatedly told me, a person cannot learn of any ideology through the reading of the words, but rather the person must live-out what the words mean, and only then might the person understand what was written.
Nodin: Excellent! Yes, it is true, that most people tend to enter into an ideology with the belief that the words of the masters' should share the identical same definition as the what the newcomer defines the words to imply. The masters' words cannot imply the same meaning as what an unlearned individual might give to the words, and so it is necessary that all men who investigate an ideology, do so by first achieving a state of life similar to the masters'.
William: And I am also seeing, how what you said, further enforces what we spoke of in previous days, that it does require years to become proficient in any activity, whether it is a game of ball or the practicing of an ideology. But I ask you, Nodin, at what point might a man decide which teaching within an ideology ought to be investigated first? If there exists many hundreds of teachings, then by what standard might we use to judge which teaching is to become the foundation for our future logic?
Nodin: All coherent ideologies, known to me, contain a focal point that clarifies the whole of the ideology. Judaism has its ten commandments, Buddhism has its enlightenment, and Christianity has as its only focal point the love of God and neighbor. If a person wishes to learn Judaism, then the person will best begin by mastering the ten commandments, and not a mastering of memorizing the words, but of becoming of the inward nature that holds as its own laws the laws that are within the ten commandments. Likewise with Buddhism, the individual will devote his life to becoming an enlightened master, and there is no other purpose. In Christianity, the man must achieve a true and flowing love of God and all men, and until a man has achieved such a love, the man cannot be a Christian, nor can the man understand what the words of the religion imply.
William: And so then, after a man has mastered an ideology, once he shares a common interpretation of what a word might imply, would not the man then be in a better position to understand the other words?
Nodin: Yes, and more importantly, the man would then be in position to comprehend why some analogies can only be comprehended from the view of a master. The Buddhist riddles are not solvable except by an enlightened master of Buddhism, and likewise the parables of Christianity are not recognizable except by individuals who wholly love God and neighbor.
William: Ah, so then if what you say is true, then indeed there is no semblance between any of the religions as some men have claimed. For indeed, if each religion requires a specific manner of life to master, then the religions cannot be the product of a previous religion, but rather each religion is a new creation?
Nodin: That is exactly correct, and of a most primary example why it proves that the claim that Buddhism and Judaism and Christianity are based on myths and previous religions, is a fully wrong claim, and that the claim is spouted by men who are of the most ignorant of the very topic that the men claim immaculate knowledge of.
William: But how is it possible for so many people to have believed in the men's claims, that religions are the products of myths and preexisting symbols?
Nodin: It is an old psychological trick by charlatans. When people know little or nothing of a topic, the charlatan can show pictures and symbols of things that the people do have knowledge of, and if the charlatan then claims that the new false information relates to the pictures and symbols, then the people will likely begin believing that what the charlatan said is true. You see, William, a man's logic is born and structured upon his knowledge, and if he is given new information that appears to agree with his existing knowledge, then his logic will jump to believe that the new information is valid because the new information is explained by the existing knowledge, and the man will then believe a lie because the lie appears to be truth when weighed relative to the older knowledge. Precious few men hold an understanding of religion, and it is an easy thing to convince most men to believe in a lie.
William: It seems to me, Nodin, that I am acquiring a phobia of history, for I am now seeing that no written history can be fully correct, and since I very much dislike error in thought and knowledge, I am with a sense of preferring to remain ignorant of history rather than to acquire wrong knowledge.
Nodin: It appears that only the most astute of minds can withstand the storms of investigating history while retaining accuracy of knowledge, but anyone can verify whether an ideology is true or not, if the man will but only choose to experience and observe what the ideology's words imply. Take no man's word for anything, but rather prove the thing to your own heart and mind. The soul that invents false claims of religious myths, the soul's inward natures are that of slothfulness, cowardice, violence, aggression, strife, great ignorance, and lies: from such turn away and flee to what can be verified within your own self.