Re: Religion Key To AI?

Sarah Marr (
Fri, 01 Nov 1996 23:48:59 +0000

At 16:54 26/10/96 +0200, Anders Sandberg wrote:
>On Tue, 22 Oct 1996, Twirlip of Greymist wrote:
>> I've started studying linguistics, and started with Ernst Cassirer's
>> _Language and myth_ on the grounds that it was short. I think that he
>> was saying linguistic and mythological development were somewhat linked
>> in the 'discovery' of concepts and classes. Myth starts with isolated
>> events and things that awe the viewer; moves to somewhat generalized
>> functional gods (god of first plowing, god of sowing, god of second
>> plowing); and thence to more personal and anthromoporphized gods.
>You can see this very cleary in the Egyptian myths. Their creation stories
>are very confusing and contradictory, while the layer of myths explaining
>how the cosmos works are much more obvious. And after the battle of Set
>and Horus the gods become downright personal, and gradually merge with
>recorded history (The vizier-architect-priest Imhotep even became a god
>after his death).

The confusion found in early myths may be a function of the methods of
storytelling prevelent in that era, rather than confusion about the stories
themselves. Certain cultures regard myth as power, and therefore only
release certain details in any single account, either to society as a whole,
or to individuals, who are expected to form their own myth versions as they
mature. Furthermore, myths can be deliberately 'mutated' to produce flawed
versions which allow maintenance of a power base amongst those who have the
'true' version.

This explanation of lack of clarity would be confirmed if the creation and
cosmos mythologies were created contemporaneously, and if knowledge of the
creation myth could be shown to endow an individual with more 'power' or
'kudos' than the cosmology myths.

The creation myths may become more clear if analysed from a structuralist
perspective, a la Levi-Strauss, whereby meta-narrative is created by finding
parallels of constructive device and key role assignments within the various
forms of the myth.

Just an idea.


Sarah Kathryn Marr