Mediterranean, King Asopus, Major River discussed on On Being with Krista Tippett


We're using them for all these kind of complex abstract ideas and they're kind of just sitting there winking us the whole time. Yeah, reminding us who we are. And then you make me so aware that we call, we are still naming things out of this primal place in ourselves, right? The World Wide Web, or the cloud, the cloud. Yeah it sneaks up in all these funny ways, doesn't it? Because we have no way of describing things other than the way the world has taught us to, you know? The language is the theories of some of the older theories of the languages that I talk about. I'm not going to remember them all unless you have to work in front of you, which I don't. But these theories that were put together for the origin of language in the 19th century, which were kind of, what is it? Who are theory and Bow Wow theory and these different ideas that language evolved from the grunts that we made when we were exerting ourselves or the noises that animals made or the very serious proposition that's been put forward by a number of anthropologists that we first made noises in order to call dogs. But that was actually something that preexisted the form of language. But made us need to cool. So maybe the first, the first people we spoke to were actually non humans. That there's always been this, the language has always been a kind of calling out to the world, and the world is always kind of speaking back to us, as you say, through language, even when we're talking about the most the most high-tech things imaginable, like the web and the cloud, because those are the things we have to think with, those are the things that originally taught us to think at all. You know, coming back to being in Greece where you live now and where I was when I read this book, I had this sensation there that the mythology, it is practically like a natural element, right? It almost felt like it's in the air, or the ocean, and it's in the soil. And you tell this amazing story about, and of course, mythologies, somebody said, the other day, mythology is what is more than true, or I like the definition of a myth is not something that never happened. It's something that happens over and over and over again. But you had this amazing story about nymphs, the order of the naming of a chain of islands in mythology, so that as we've been talking about language carries truths that science catches up with and or we catch up with and it feels like there's a similar thing to say about mythology in this story. Yeah, absolutely. So that story is told partly in geology, which is that 14,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age. The saronic gulf, which is the kind of large body of water which connects Athens to the main Mediterranean. The Mediterranean was much lower and the islands that now poke out of that gulf, one of which I live on formed a kind of land bridge. Separating the sea into a series of lakes. And then over the subsequently a few thousand years, the levels of the Mediterranean rose, and that land bridge became a series of islands. But as has been pointed out by what some people call geo mythologists, which is just a wonderful term. Is that if you look at some of the sources in H mythology like HCR in his yoga, which kind of tells the long story of how old the gods came to be, you'll find that these islands are named after nymphs and the order in which they were sire at the order of their birth from in this case, someone who's known as king asopus, which is the name of the major river that used to flow out near Athens. The order of the birth of those nymphs corresponds to the order with which these islands would have emerged from the ocean. And so it seems like the myth retells a geological history that's 10,000 more years longer than when the myth was recorded by his. But why not? I mean, people were there. People witnessed this thing happened, or generations of people witnessed this happen. Someone was there at the moment. That bridge became an island, right? Someone some person might have seen there were fewer people around. But some person could have been present to watch the first trickle of water, creep across the kind of coal of a hill in order to form a new sea. And of course, they would have told stories about it. And of course those stories would come down to us one way or another in some strange echo. Tens of thousands of years later. And to me, there's nothing particularly extraordinary about that. And you don't even have to believe in a kind of line of direct descent if you believe in the kind of endlessly fractal holographic nature of the universe that we were discussing earlier, that, of course, these patterns will occur, as you say, the midst of the things that are true over and over again. And so you can find the echoes of them in all of these stories, but as more and more than pile up, the kind of the wonder and the certainty increase. Yeah. And it speaks to how intelligence is carried forward in time. In ways that we haven't necessarily or science doesn't necessarily know how to take seriously, but there it is. That's knowledge. That's been carried forth. And live tradition practice, I think, is really important. I was talking to a friend earlier today who's engaged in a big kind of archival project around the cycladic islands where he's going around collecting various and the monkeys working a big ceramics project meeting lots of kind of potters, people who've been making ceramics on the islands for generations. And telling their stories collecting their materials and trying to work out how to preserve this material, but it's the same old archival problem as ever. There's no magic way of transmuting this into another medium that will survive forever. It will end up getting retold and retold over and over again. And it will get changed in that process and someone else a hundred or 50 years time might look at the materials he's produced and kind of recreate that tradition, but in some kind of new form, and you just see this thing getting handed on and passed down and passed down over time. Because it can only exist as a main practice. There's no separating it off from the world, as we've described. I want to return as we kind of draw to a close to technology, you know, you mentioned before this way in which the Internet actually the creation of the Internet helped us grasp grasp what is happening in the natural world. You said it was a gift from the technological to the ecological. You've talked about how you write about how one of the greatest misunderstandings of the 20th century would persist into the present was that everything was ultimately a decision problem. And when computers came along, there was easy to fall into this idea that the universe is like a computer. The brain is like a computer that we in plants and animals and bugs are. Like computers. And you've also said that our contemporary networked computational technologies might yet be our fullest attempt. Since the development of language to draw ourselves closer to nature, however carelessly and unconsciously. So talk me talk me through that. Well, that's just because of my crazily optimistic belief that there are being constantly brought closer to the world. And in that, I think I'm talking about quite a few things in there, but in one case I'm particularly talking about AI. Which is this. I always know riding fascinating, but I hope it was quite a few of these technologies, which they go through this amazing process. I've done this before with things like self-driving cars or other new other new bits of tech, where there are things that suddenly in our lifetime are going from this is what life will be like in the year 3000 to like a boring everyday reality, like just like that. You know, just sort of suddenly and everyone's like, wow, wow, wow, that exists now. And this is happening with AI, but in this really boring rubbish way where it's just stealing everyone's heart and making bad cartoons. But it's here in some form.

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