Dark Bilious Vapors

But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors....
--Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy: Meditation I

Home » Archives » May 2005 » Myths in the Making

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05/12/2005: Myths in the Making

This Chicago Tribune editorial has some interesting points about “myth making” or that *revisionist history* being crafted in Iraq: Myths of liberation critical to democracies: The question for Iraqis today is whether a modern myth can be constructed as a foundation for an entirely new approach to governance by Philip R. O'Connor.

”Myths have gotten a bad name. These days calling something a myth suggests an inherent untruth that is believed nonetheless.

But truth be told, myths translate complex events and human relationships into dramatic stories that can hold our interest and that we can get our arms around. By their very nature, myths will contain embellishments and even facts made from whole cloth. All through recorded history, and certainly before, mankind has relied on myths--for good and ill.

And it is on precisely this point that President Bush and some of his critics differ so deeply.

The oldest recorded epic mythical poem is about an actual historical figure, King Gilgamesh, from nearly 5,000 years ago in what is now Iraq. The question for Iraqis today is whether a modern myth can be constructed as a foundation for an entirely new approach to governance in that part of the world.

Over time, President Bush has evolved in his thinking in the direction of the centrality of the need the Iraqi people will have for laying claim to having freed themselves.

Those critics who focus on the inevitable errors and shortcomings in wartime decision-making or who were so skeptical of the Iraqi elections also often complain of insufficient Iraqi demonstrations of gratitude. They fail to understand that the flip side of gratitude is resentment that, in the long run, becomes pernicious.

No man wants to owe his freedom to another or not to have earned his most precious possession. What honor is there in having relied on outsiders to do that which you may be ashamed of having been unable to do yourself?

President Bush understands this more fully than do his more nuanced critics. We best succeed in living out our own liberation myth when we step toward the background at the right time to allow others to have theirs.”

[Philip R. O'Connor is in the energy business in Chicago and helped to organize the Chicago-area voting in the Jan. 30 Iraqi elections.]

GW is terribly convinced of his ability to “create reality” and that there is no *objective measure* of the facts…but that he will “dictate the reality” for our Nation (so he’s said). So, why not try it for the Iraqi “self-liberation” myth – if it will really help. Can't hurt.

Karen on 05.12.05 @ 05:29 AM CST

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