"The sacred is not to be held as absolute.
It is not to be protected and revered this way.
The sacred is a connection between the finite and the infinite.
They lost the way when they raised the sacred
To where it was impermeable.
The sacred is a personal experience
To be seen in the light of the eyes of the seer
And not to be dictated by those who would dare define it."
--Convergence III: 7
I consider our existence to be split into two levels of order, the collective reality and the personal mythology. The collective reality is often spoken of as logos, the world of logic and reason by which we are able to effectively communicate ideas and thoughts amongst ourselves in a way that that can be understood. The collective reality is based in concepts that can, on some level, be accepted by a variety of people with different backgrounds and experiences. The world of personal mythology, often spoken of as mythos, is the world of the spiritual and the sacred. It can be built upon existing constructs of belief, but it is more powerful when it is experienced within the individual as something profoundly personal. These things can be utilized to fuel, power and develop one's personal experience within the realm of mythos.
Over time and the development of human history, the lines became blurred between logos and mythos. The collective reality moved into the Age of Reason, a time when the sciences began to develop at a rapid rate on almost every level, giving rational answers to questions that were in the past answered through mythos. In an effort to counteract this, the spiritual, the sacred and the nature of faith itself moved from a personal experience to a more organized system of belief. To counter the growing power of logos, mythos had to find a way to balance that power. Religion changed from a way in which individuals could enable their personal experience with the sacred to a definition of a collective mythology that was to be honored and defended as The One Truth.
The One Truth is defined as a system rooted in mythos which is held up as a definitive answer to the infinite on some level. It is something that is usually loudly proclaimed and vehemently defended. To so much as question an element of The One Truth is to be branded a blasphemer or a heretic. In the minds of those who believe and accept The One Truth, it is incontrovertible fact. To go against it is to engage in profane sacrilege. The way of The One Truth moves elements of mythos into the world of logos. It asserts a collective mythology as a collective reality. It is at this point that religion loses so many people. Whereas it is the purpose of the spiritual to open the heart to experiences with the infinite, The One Truth closes the heart and leaves a narrow corridor through which only the "worthy" may pass.
If we move away from religion as providing a collection of definitive One Truths and instead see it as a building block for personal encounters with a spiritual existence, it takes on a different meaning and a deeper value. For some, having structures in place already is very useful. There are many who can facilitate a meaningful relationship with the infinite using only existing constructs of faith and religion. A quick study of those who have, throughout history, challenged, rejected or reinvented the existing structures reveals that most have been from one of two camps. There are those who are strongly rooted in logos, the "scientists," and there are those who are strongly rooted in creativity, the "artists," who are gifted with a more abstract vision of the infinite.
Using these two terms in a very broad sense has led me to the point where I see a pattern. Those who are strongly rooted in logos, the rationalists, see the invasion of mythos into logos as a threat to the very nature of logos. Only the most hardcore "scientists" would dismiss the elements of mythos completely, but they rightly reject its efforts to establish The One Truth as an element of logos, or to claim that their beliefs are rational and all-encompassing. An unfortunate truth of human existence is that those who yell loudest are those who are heard more often.
Because "artists" are grounded in the elements of creativity and see the world around them in more abstract terms, they are less likely to accept existing structures as adequate in their own perception. It is the function of the artist to expand consciousness and to look beyond the obvious, to move beyond the existing towards what is beyond. This is what drives the artist to create, in whatever art he or she uses as a medium. Artists throughout history who have had a close relationship with a particular religion have used their creativity to build upon or expand existing elements of that religion. Because of this, sacred art is often a powerful medium through which we can experience the infinite.
In more simple terms, it is the function of the "artist" to build upon mythos whereas it is the function of the "scientist" to build upon logos. Without the scientist, logos passes into stagnation. Without the artist, mythos passes into stagnation. Stagnation is the definition of the death of civilization and the collapse of the collective experience.
I tend to think of the development of civilization as parallel to the development of an individual human life. In our infancy, we understand very little and everything takes on a mystical element. As we grow and mature, we begin to understand things, through our own experience and through education, the sharing of compiled collective knowledge. We rebel against established norms in our teenage years and are prone to violent clashes and efforts to destroy what we don't agree with by whatever means possible. As we mature and our collective wisdom expands and grows, we begin to see the variations in all the possibilities that have been uncovered. We begin to find peace within ourselves and a greater acceptance of things, while having little patience for those who are not developing as quickly; a more advanced collective grows exasperated with a less advanced collective. As we begin to abandon the confrontational passions of our youth, we can utilize our knowledge and experience for our own betterment. The danger in this is that we may be led to tunnel vision. We may become so entrenched in our own beliefs, the nature of our own experiences and the methods we have used that we see them as The One Truth.
The question is whether or not we can become secure enough in our own beliefs to accept those beliefs as facilitators rather than solutions, as foundations rather than definitive structures. Middle age is known as a time of stubbornness, but maybe the Age of Aquarius can induce a mid-life crisis...
...It is a dream I have.