Truth In Folklore
By Leo Gura - February 8, 2017
“Rational” people tend to dismiss too-easily various religious, spiritual, mystical, and folkloric traditions from around the world, and from the past. The reality is that even though many of these traditions contain much dogma and nonsense, they also contain hidden truths grounded in hard empirical facts. It’s just that often these are edge-case, non-mainstream phenomena.
Here’s an illustrative example:
Did you know that Will-o-the-wisps actually exist?
Yeah, I’m not kidding. Check this out: https /en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Will-o’-the-wisp
Apparently it’s a real phenomena found in swamps and marshes. As various gases escape the swamp, they create an eerie display of glowing light, often interpreted by unsuspecting folk as a ghost or water spirit.
Pretty cool, eh?
It’s important that we learn the epistemic lesson here: just because something sounds spooky or mystical doesn’t mean there isn’t something real behind it. Reality can be stranger than fiction.
In my own research and experience, I’m finding enormous value in studying and trying to understand the esoteric traditions of the past. Humans were A LOT wiser in the past than we were taught in school. This is easy to overlook because we basically live in a modern culture of idiocracy. Our culture places way too much emphasis on the mainstream, the low-brow, and technology.
If science was clever, it would re-visit all the ancient myths from all the world’s cultures with the aim of validating them, so that we may discover all their possible empirical origins. This could be a research project worthy of a Nobel prize. My hunch is, it would yield some fruit.
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