On Myth

We in the west tend to think that myth is a naive attempt to understand nature. That’s untrue and not sufficiently generous to those who came before us. Myth is not a failed theory of the universe; it’s a brilliantly successful technology for changing it.

What is the world? It is of course the stars, the Earth, the weather, life, and all the things that are out there. But we do not perceive these things directly, nor do they affect us. What affects us comes through our senses, and the way we perceive is as much a product of our embodied senses and our mind as it is a representation of the true disposition of things. Our perceptions are shaped by the ideas we already hold.

As soon as our ancestral apes became intelligent enough to affect the world, seeking to make it more hospitable to their vulnerable existence, two paths were open. They could make tools, draw predictions, and try to alter the physical world immediately around them, or they could alter their own minds so that their experience would be less harsh, more hopeful, more meaningful, fanciful and interesting, and even less bound to the actual sensations of cold and hunger that the body sometimes offered. The ability to alter the human experience of the world through the communication of ideas is myth.

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The Greek financial crisis

Pavlos’s Thoughts – Episode 2 – The Greek financial crisis

Talking post (podcast). Click to open as MP3.

Key points:

  • The core problem is that the Greek economy is unproductive in structure and ethos.
  • Greece will probably have to default against the debt market, if not now then later.
  • It would be better if the EU dealt with the issue instead, by taking over and restructuring some debt.
  • The EU should probably create a framework to deal with national solvency in a consolidated way.
  • Fortunately the Greek economy has poor coupling, and could be protected temporarily by price controls.
  • In the long run the solution is to make Greece more productive by fixing exactly that – creating high coupling of innovative firms with the international economy. The best way to do that is probably to create international economic zones, which work in English by Western rules.

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