UFO Conjecture(s)

Friday, October 30, 2015

The difference between myth and fact(s) is not as great as some think

My academic friend Bryan Sentes provided, at his Facebook page, a poignant story of marital discord that is a part of the oral history of the Aborigines in Australia.

This is the site he offered:

This excerpt from the site clarifies the importance of myth, and how mythical tales should not be dismissed because they seem to eschew factual material; that is, there are truths that transcend or enhance facts that may have long disappeared but remain woven in such tales as that of the Aborigines:

In the end, the factuality of stories like these may be impossible to determine, and the definition of ‘authenticity’ may be up for debate. With narratives this old, the distinction between ‘myth’ and ‘fact’ may have simply faded, or disappeared altogether. Myth can become a means to convey the emotional force of long-ago experiences, events witnessed by ancestors so old that they’ve become more abstract than real. In turn, historical snippets or location-specific details may be woven into mythic stories to aid their resonance with listeners. But whether you choose to class these tales as fact or fiction, the research done by Reid and Nunn does suggest that oral narratives should never be dismissed as irrelevant to our understanding of local histories. However you define “truth,” such stories can be repositories for cultural knowledge, beliefs, and shared experiences across massive stretches of time – they become the stuff of a community’s long-term continuity.

This paper makes the case that endangered Indigenous languages can be repositories for factual knowledge across time depths far greater than previously imagined … forcing a rethink of the ways in which such traditions have been dismissed.



  • Rich, interesting link regarding oral traditions. I've noticed what I believe to be "corruptions" in oral histories concerning Native Americans. Most of the corruptions sadly are direct influence of Christian missionary influences based on some of the stories that I've come across.

    Are you linking this with Roswell due to the changing story lines that have been passed on since 1947?

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Saturday, October 31, 2015  

  • Tim"

    I was going to insert a Roswell reference, as that's what drew me to gathering the link for the blog, but Bryan is so gung-ho about poetry and tales such as that making the point of the authors, I hesitated in marring the content and context by slipping Roswell into the mix.

    However, the sentiment applies to the Roswell mythos to some degree but only an alert person (such as yourself) would catch that. Nice, by the way.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, October 31, 2015  

  • I think if studied under the same approach academicians might conclude the entire Roswell belief system, aside from being a pseudo-religion, is a modern example of humanity's love of oral tradition and folklore.

    Bryan's point brings this out nicely. Societies love oral traditions, storytelling, and myth. Since Roswell is entirely based on verbal testimony, it's evidence for this.

    By Blogger Brian Bell, at Sunday, November 01, 2015  

  • In my anthropology of religion class, the professor made the distinction between the 'noemic' and 'noetic' points of view. And I think that applies here as well. The scenario give by the professor was that of African Tribesmen who were known to have a religious holiday in which they slaughtered pigs. It was so important that they'd even pause warring with one another on that Holy/Sacred Day as a religious duty.

    If you were to ask the Tribesmen why they're slaughtering the pigs, they will almost certainly say that they are doing so to appease their goddess. I think this was considered the Noetic POV. Yet there was also the Noemic POV in which the pigs were being slaughtered as a simple matter of necessity due to the overpopulation of the pigs and the rudimentary farming projects these tribesmen were undertaking. If they didn't slaughter the pigs, the pigs would overpopulate and ruin their crops.

    So which is true? Are they slaughtering the pigs to appease their goddess? Or are they slaughtering the pigs in order to preserve their crops? I think the obvious answer is: Yes.

    By Blogger Parakletos, at Monday, November 02, 2015  

  • Hahahaha.

    You have it surprisingly, right, Parakletos.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, November 02, 2015  

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