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By ness31
#14979197
Before I start this thread I want to apologize in advance if it comes across as disrespectful or ignorant. That is not my intention. I would like to discuss the concept and in this instance specifically Australian Indigenous Dreamtime.

Wikipedia explains that Dreamtime was first coined by anthropologists to explain the Indigenous world view. I guess my question is, did they get it right? Is it valid? And can it really be explained?

I’ll tell you one thing. I always thought Dreamtime was an allegory until I heard an Aboriginal person on the telly explaining that for them, it was all true! That it was their story of how the lands around them were physically created. Total spin out.

I can’t help but feel that Dreamtime was a misleading term.

Thoughts?
By Paddy14
#14979204
ness31 wrote:Before I start this thread I want to apologize in advance if it comes across as disrespectful or ignorant. That is not my intention. I would like to discuss the concept and in this instance specifically Australian Indigenous Dreamtime.

Wikipedia explains that Dreamtime was first coined by anthropologists to explain the Indigenous world view. I guess my question is, did they get it right? Is it valid? And can it really be explained?

I’ll tell you one thing. I always thought Dreamtime was an allegory until I heard an Aboriginal person on the telly explaining that for them, it was all true! That it was their story of how the lands around them were physically created. Total spin out.

I can’t help but feel that Dreamtime was a misleading term.

Thoughts?


I live in Australia (but I was born in the UK) and I have only heard about the Dreamtime. We learnt in class that it is the word used to describe the religious and cultural view of many Aboriginals of how the world was formed. AFIK, it is a cultural myth, just like the cultural myths of Judeo-Christianity, and I think it is meant to be allegorical, just like the Bible stories. Every culture seems to have had these to explain things they didn't understand when they were at a primitive stage. I don't think educated Aboriginal people would believe all that literally, any more than educated European people would believe in Noah's Ark and Jonah and the whale (or Creationism).
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By Potemkin
#14979205
Paddy14 wrote:I live in Australia (but I was born in the UK) and I have only heard about the Dreamtime. We learnt in class that it is the word used to describe the religious and cultural view of many Aboriginals of how the world was formed. AFIK, it is a cultural myth, just like the cultural myths of Judeo-Christianity, and I think it is meant to be allegorical, just like the Bible stories. Every culture seems to have had these to explain things they didn't understand when they were at a primitive stage. I don't think educated Aboriginal people would believe all that literally, any more than educated European people would believe in Noah's Ark and Jonah and the whale (or Creationism).

A 'mythology' is just a religion in which no-one believes any more. To those Aborigines who still believe in it (whether 'educated' or not), the Dreamtime was and is literally true, just as to those Christians who still believe in it (whether 'educated' or not), Christ was literally crucified and literally rose from the dead.
By ness31
#14979216
You’ve sort of brushed on my point Potemkin. There is something kinda off with anthropologists getting naming rights to such an important part of self identification. :hmm: Dreamtime; it sounds so innocuous, so childlike. Is that the reason behind the name? So as not to scare the living daylights out of people? And then to have to share the concept of Dreamtime with all other indigenous cultures seems so..so generic.
By Paddy14
#14984697
Potemkin wrote:A 'mythology' is just a religion in which no-one believes any more. To those Aborigines who still believe in it (whether 'educated' or not), the Dreamtime was and is literally true, just as to those Christians who still believe in it (whether 'educated' or not), Christ was literally crucified and literally rose from the dead.


Thanks for that, but something that really happened can't be a myth - can it? Like you can only call a belief in something for which there is no evidence - a 'myth'. I grew up in a (sort of) Christian family, and was sent to Sunday School and all that stuff, but I can see no evidence supporting all those stories - so I call them 'myths'. But many people get quite angry when I say that. Like I was 'sent down' from Sunday School for questioning the Noah's ark story. My mum is a bit religious, so she was a bit upset with that, but my dad just laughed, and said I was right to question everything - specially beliefs.
By ness31
#14984706
I think that was exactly Potemkins point - and mine.

Dreamtime is taught as a myth, an allegory. But it is the belief system of (I don’t know how many, but I am curious) Indigenous Australians that all those stories actually happened. I can only imagine that it might be quite insulting to hear of your belief system being portrayed as make believe. It also doesn’t give other people the right tools to understand their world view. A massive injustice.

I don’t think Catholics would stand for the same treatment and they seem like a fairly rational bunch of people.
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By Potemkin
#14984715
Paddy14 wrote:Thanks for that, but something that really happened can't be a myth - can it? Like you can only call a belief in something for which there is no evidence - a 'myth'. I grew up in a (sort of) Christian family, and was sent to Sunday School and all that stuff, but I can see no evidence supporting all those stories - so I call them 'myths'. But many people get quite angry when I say that. Like I was 'sent down' from Sunday School for questioning the Noah's ark story. My mum is a bit religious, so she was a bit upset with that, but my dad just laughed, and said I was right to question everything - specially beliefs.

If you call these people's religious beliefs "myths", then you are asserting that they are not true, that the events narrated in them never happened. Basically, you're telling them that you think they're a bunch of fools. That's why they get angry. But that's exactly what we're doing to the Australian Aborigines every time we call the Dreamtime a "myth".
By Paddy14
#14984737
Potemkin wrote:If you call these people's religious beliefs "myths", then you are asserting that they are not true, that the events narrated in them never happened. Basically, you're telling them that you think they're a bunch of fools. That's why they get angry. But that's exactly what we're doing to the Australian Aborigines every time we call the Dreamtime a "myth".


OK, its past my bedtime so I can't give you a long and detailed answer on this. These beliefs or myths (I'm happy to call them whatever you want,) are not facts based on scientific research or historical evidence. So if we can agree they are not facts supported by evidence - I am happy to use whatever word you recommend.

If I was to write here that I can fly without an aircraft, or walk on water - I think people would have the right to question me on that - don't you?

There is a huge amount of scientific research and historical evidence that tells us how the earth was formed 4.5 billion years ago by a process called runaway accretion, and how, over billions of years, the land was terraformed and life appeared, and evolved from a photosynthesising blue-green algae, some 2.5 billion years ago.

Primitive cultures didn't know about this stuff so they had to make up stories to explain what they couldn't understand. This became known as 'the God of the Gaps', and some people choose to continue to believe those stories. That's cool - but I shouldn't be expected to share those beliefs if they don't make any sense.

My mum has a university Baccalaureate and a Doctorate, so I don't think she is a fool - she just chooses to believe the Christian stories for her own reasons. My dad chooses not to.
By ness31
#14984744
Lol, and the fact that you don’t choose to believe religious stories or otherwise is perfectly fine. The issue here is outsiders, anthropologists, dictating and usurping how Indigenous folk actually want to tell there stories.
It’s like an atheist having the authority to recount religious stories in a way that makes the whole bible seem like a metaphor. Don’t get me wrong, they do it now anyway, but there’s always a bit of push back from organized religion.

Edit - oh, and good night ;)
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By Potemkin
#14984752
ness31 wrote:Lol, and the fact that you don’t choose to believe religious stories or otherwise is perfectly fine. The issue here is outsiders, anthropologists, dictating and usurping how Indigenous folk actually want to tell there stories.
It’s like an atheist having the authority to recount religious stories in a way that makes the whole bible seem like a metaphor. Don’t get me wrong, they do it now anyway, but there’s always a bit of push back from organized religion.

Precisely. There is a fundamental problem with using rationalistic, scientific methods of analysis to investigate religious or cultural beliefs. It is part of the culture of any society that they believe in the literal truth of their cultural values and religious belief systems. If they did not have that belief in its literal truth, then it would not and could not be a functioning part of their culture. It would merely be an ossified "mythology", confined to children's bedtime stories. This means that when cultural anthropologists investigate a culture using a rationalistic, sceptical approach to the belief systems of that culture, then they are throwing out the baby with the bathwater. They cannot, it seems to me, possibly understand how those belief systems function within that society if the truth-value of those belief systems is thrown out the window a priori. Believing Christians in modern Western society have the same problem as Australian Aborigines in this regard, as Paddy14 has discovered. The difference, of course, is that Christians can send you home from Sunday school in disgrace, whereas Aborigines can do no such thing to the cultural anthropologists who condescend to grace them with their august, scientific presence. Lol.

Edit - oh, and good night ;)

Sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite. ;)
By Sivad
#14985665
Potemkin wrote:If you call these people's religious beliefs "myths", then you are asserting that they are not true, that the events narrated in them never happened.


I don't know about that, "myth" can mean either not literally true but true in a deeper sense or that the literal truth is irrelevant to the deeper truth conveyed by the symbolism. Most myths are true in that they do render real psychological, social, historical, and natural phenomena through poetic personification. The narratives aren't literally true but the patterns and phenomena the accounts depict are as real as anything. And the wise have always known this, the poets and seers who create the myths know exactly what they're doing. It's only ever been the profane who approach mythology as a matter of literal truth.
By Sivad
#14985666
"Alas for the stupidity and blindness of men who do not perceive the mysteries of the Torah and do not know that by 'the beasts of the field' are designated the unlearned [first creation] . . . The 'beasts of the field' were like [soul-less] animals among men." (Zohar 1:128a-b)

"Pardes" refers to (types of) approaches to biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism or to interpretation of text in Torah study. The term, sometimes also spelled PaRDeS, is an acronym formed from the same initials of the following four approaches:

Peshat (פְּשָׁט‬) – "surface" ("straight") or the literal (direct) meaning.[1]
Remez (רֶמֶז‬) – "hints" or the deep (allegoric: hidden or symbolic) meaning beyond just the literal sense.
Derash (דְּרַשׁ‬) – from Hebrew darash: "inquire" ("seek") – the comparative (midrashic) meaning, as given through similar occurrences.
Sod (סוֹד‬) (pronounced with a long O as in 'lore') – "secret" ("mystery") or the esoteric/mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation.

Each type of Pardes interpretation examines the extended meaning of a text. As a general rule, the extended meaning never contradicts the base meaning. The Peshat means the plain or contextual meaning of the text. Remez is the allegorical meaning. Derash includes the metaphorical meaning, and Sod represents the hidden meaning. There is often considerable overlap, for example when legal understandings of a verse are influenced by mystical interpretations or when a "hint" is determined by comparing a word with other instances of the same word.
By ness31
#14985733
"
Pardes" refers to (types of) approaches to biblical exegesis in rabbinic Judaism or to interpretation of text in Torah study. The term, sometimes also spelled PaRDeS, is an acronym formed from the same initials of the following four approaches:

Peshat (פְּשָׁט‬) – "surface" ("straight") or the literal (direct) meaning.[1]
Remez (רֶמֶז‬) – "hints" or the deep (allegoric: hidden or symbolic) meaning beyond just the literal sense.
Derash (דְּרַשׁ‬) – from Hebrew darash: "inquire" ("seek") – the comparative (midrashic) meaning, as given through similar occurrences.
Sod (סוֹד‬) (pronounced with a long O as in 'lore') – "secret" ("mystery") or the esoteric/mystical meaning, as given through inspiration or revelation.

Each type of Pardes interpretation examines the extended meaning of a text. As a general rule, the extended meaning never contradicts the base meaning. The Peshat means the plain or contextual meaning of the text. Remez is the allegorical meaning. Derash includes the metaphorical meaning, and Sod represents the hidden meaning. There is often considerable overlap, for example when legal understandings of a verse are influenced by mystical interpretations or when a "hint" is determined by comparing a word with other instances of the same word.


That was actually very interesting.

But I guess my question is, why should any Indigenous belief system follow the same ‘formula’ to be understood? :hmm:
How a belief system is learned and perceived should come directly from the people of that cultural persuasion.

I see the lumping of their belief system into the ‘mythology’ basket as a deliberate act to quite literally disempower them.

Indigenous cultures harness nature. Any invading force would want to subjugate that as quickly as possible :hmm:
By Sivad
#14985736
ness31 wrote:"

But I guess my question is, why should any Indigenous belief system follow the same ‘formula’ to be understood? :hmm:
How a belief system is learned and perceived should come directly from the people of that cultural persuasion.


There are only so many ways to interpret a mythology. The pardes method may not be exhaustive but it's definitely more comprehensive than the binary true\false approach.


I see the lumping of their belief system into the ‘mythology’ basket as a deliberate act to quite literally disempower them.



Then you're just not grasping the concept. Mythology isn't just a collection of fantastic tales, it's a body of sacred stories that contain profound truths.
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By Potemkin
#14985738
Sivad wrote:I don't know about that, "myth" can mean either not literally true but true in a deeper sense or that the literal truth is irrelevant to the deeper truth conveyed by the symbolism. Most myths are true in that they do render real psychological, social, historical, and natural phenomena through poetic personification. The narratives aren't literally true but the patterns and phenomena the accounts depict are as real as anything. And the wise have always known this, the poets and seers who create the myths know exactly what they're doing. It's only ever been the profane who approach mythology as a matter of literal truth.

Religious beliefs are not merely poetic metaphors or symbolic allegories. When the Catholic faithful perform mass, are they symbolically re-enacting the Last Supper, or are they literally re-enacting it? According to the doctrine of trans-substantiation, they are literally eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ. That's not mythology; that is faith.
By Sivad
#14985750
Potemkin wrote:Religious beliefs are not merely poetic metaphors or symbolic allegories. When the Catholic faithful perform mass, are they symbolically re-enacting the Last Supper, or are they literally re-enacting it? According to the doctrine of trans-substantiation, they are literally eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ. That's not mythology; that is faith.



That's fundamentalism, the most vulgar kind of faith. Obviously some people do interpret their myths literally, I'm not disputing that, but the more sophisticated have always understood their sacred mythologies as moral and spiritual allegories.
By Sivad
#14985751
By ness31
#14985769
Sivad wrote:Then you're just not grasping the concept. Mythology isn't just a collection of fantastic tales, it's a body of sacred stories that contain profound truths.


My concept of mythology is pretty standard. Sacred stories, usually passed down through the generations, more often than not involving the paranormal. ie, Greek mythology, Roman mythology, Norse mythology...paganism generally.

Purposely comandeering an entire belief system by placing it into a category which could also be described as ‘heathen’ or even ‘philistine’ would be hard to justify as noble in its intent :hmm:
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By Potemkin
#14985770
Sivad wrote:That's fundamentalism, the most vulgar kind of faith. Obviously some people do interpret their myths literally, I'm not disputing that, but the more sophisticated have always understood their sacred mythologies as moral and spiritual allegories.

St Paul wrote:And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:

And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

1 Corinthians 15:14-19
By Sivad
#14985780
Potemkin wrote:1 Corinthians 15:14-19



There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the splendor of those in heaven is of one kind, and that of those on earth is of another. 41One kind of splendor belongs to the sun, another to the moon, and still another to the stars. In fact, one star differs from another star in splendor.

42This is how it will be at the resurrection of the dead. What is planted is decaying, what is raised cannot decay. 43The body is planted in a state of dishonor but is raised in a state of splendor. It is planted in weakness but is raised in power. 44It is planted a physical body but is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.

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