Thursday, December 31, 2009

"You're Welcome, Jesus" or "World:1 John Ozkirbas:1"

Several months ago, science fired the first shot in what has become an apocalyptic struggle between the laws and history forming existence itself and my gargantuan ego. I was a wounded animal. Befuddled. Scared. Lost. I pleaded to the heavens for direction and guidance. I questioned whether I could go on and feared that I may abandon whatever moral dignities I still held. After months of teetering on the edge as a broken man, I left on a Dantean quest for deliverance from such existential despair. And, now I return. VICTORIOUS:

Yep. Do another double take. It's not going to change a thing. After months of soul-searching in a perdition of defeat, my own heritage gripped me tight and lifted me from the pit to salvation. New and improved. Redeemed. So what if the world might be a hologram? Science, you showed your hand too soon. Ozkirbas gets to put one in the win column.

While the article admits the extensive debatability of its claims, it still raises the question about whether or not a given culture can ever definitively claim to be the "source" of a given rite, tradition, or myth. Many cultures may claim (or be academically attributed) to source certain customs, but it is usually difficult to concretely narrow down when a tradition first appeared. Additionally, analogues of a given custom will occur across cultures, despite being on opposite parts of the globe. Psychologist Carl Jung used to talk about a collective unconscious - a genetic source-pool by which all human beings could recall and recognize certain cultural variables. Anthropologists argued a human migration theory concerning myth/custom generation - Snorri Sturluson himself attributed in his Edda the existence of the Norse gods to the migration of the Turks from Troy up north (i.e. that the Asgard were actually Trojans). Either are intriguing prospects.

Still, if Christmas trees can be come out of left field to surprise us, what else can? Does anyone else dare to second guess the origins of the customs and traditions they practice? Can anyone think of common myths and customs that may come from an unexpected place?

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