Myth is education

The purpose of myth is education. Drawing out the height and the depth. It enables one to draw out one’s meaning and lay it open to interpretation. Perhaps, like Oedipus, one desires to understand why one has a swollen foot. Or perhaps one seeks to understand, like Daphne, in what sense one’s feet must be rooted to the earth. The opposite of myth is what is sometimes called ‘reality’ but that is no more than convention. There is nothing wrong with convention, it is, after all, convenient, but it has no educational function. One cannot be educated into convention, one must be trained into it. Such training, like the training of a rose into a pergola, can be beautiful, necessary and wise, but it is not education. For, as Alasdair McIntyre notes, education must make one unfitted for society or it has not taken place. Education is antithetical to training. What fits one for society, but at the same time delimits society, is training. In some societies it becomes a mode of control with no other purpose than control. Charlton Ogburn – some say Petronius – understood that when he wrote: ‘We trained hard but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we were reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and what a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while actually producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.’ Education is neither a mode of control, nor does it create the illusion of progress.