A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Enjoy our special posts in the fields of Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS Blog) and Social Sciences & Arts (SSA Blog)

A Special Place for Blog Lovers with a Touch of Science!

Editor’s Pick: Mircea Eliade

Credit: Portrait of the Romanian philosopher, writer and historian of religion and mythology around 1977; Getty images

Excerpts from The Sacred and the Profane: The Nature of Religion (1957)

1. "A religious symbol conveys its message even if it is no longer consciously understood in every part. For a symbol speaks to the whole human being and not only to the intelligence."

2. "Do what he will, he [the profane man] is an inheritor. He cannot utterly abolish his past, since he himself is a product of his past. He forms himself by a series of denials and refusals, but he continues to be haunted by the realities that he has refused and denied. To acquire a world of his own, he has desacralized the world in which his ancestors lived; but to do so he has been obliged to adopt an earlier type of behavior, and that behavior is still emotionally present in him, in one form or another, ready to be reactualized in his deepest being. "

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An Introduction to Roland Barthes' Mythologies

Credit: French Philosopher Roland Barthes, 24th June 1975 (Photo by Sophie Bassouls/Sygma via Getty Images)

How to read capitalist mythology?

In the modern-day world, we are surrounded by images, symbols, brands, and advertisements of all sorts. We face them every day and everywhere. On the street, at home, in the shop, while surfing the web, literally, there is no place without ads and the meta-information hidden behind them. So how can we decipher what our new clothes, gadgets, books, or even thoughts represent? Roland Barthes, one of the most distinguished philosophers of the 20th century, concerned himself with such questions in his notable work Mythologies (1957). He develops an understanding of the mechanism that works behind the creation of symbols and myths in contemporary capitalist society.

Below you can watch a short video with an introduction to Roland Barthes' theory

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Editor’s pick: James George Frazer

Credit: Quora.com

The Golden Bough:  A Study in Comparative Religion (1890)

1. "In the course of time the slow advance of knowledge, which has dispelled so many cherished illusions, convinced at least the more thoughtful portion of mankind that the alterations of summer and winter, of spring and autumn, were not merely the result of their own magical rites, but that some deeper cause, some mightier power, was at work behind the shifting scenes of nature."

2. "For myth changes while custom remains constant; men continue to do what their did before them, though the reasons on which their fathers acted have been long forgotten. The history of religion is a long attempt to reconcile old custom with new reason, to find a sound theory for an absurd practice."

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The Hidden Troves of Etymology

Credit: Gettyimages

What are the origins of the name Europe?

Often, we do not ask ourselves for the origins of words that we use on a daily basis. That is especially valid, for the most common ones like the names of days, months, and countries? That applies to the same degree when speaking about the continents although they are only seven. Today, we are going to take a look at a name we all have heard – Europe.

 We find it recorded first in a Homeric hymn to Apollo from 522 B.C.E. or earlier. It says: "Telphusa, here I am minded to make a glorious temple, an oracle for men, and hither they will always bring perfect hecatombs, both those who live in rich Peloponnesus and those of Europe and all the wave-washed isles, coming to seek oracles." 

But what are the etymological roots of the word? It is widely considered that, as above-mentioned, Europe derives from the Ancient Greek language. It consists of two morphemes: urys "wide" + ops "face," or "eye", literally "broad face," or "wide-gazing" as a suitable description of Europe's mainland and broad shoreline as seen from the shipboard perspective of the maritime Greeks.

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Quotes to reflect on: Joseph Campbell

Photo credit:   Joseph Campbell Foundation (jcf.org)

A thinker with a thousand faces

"People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think that what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive."

― Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

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