David Talbott will examine the protocol for cross-cultural investigation, bringing an objective standard to a field of study that scholars have long assumed to be hopelessly subjective. Is it really possible to identify extraordinary natural events hidden within a carnival of ancient myths and symbols? Our claim is that world mythology speaks for “real” history, but only in the sense that every archetype or cross-cultural theme has its referent in extraordinary natural phenomena Events that are not occurring today were anciently interpreted through the lens of human imagination, as witnesses on earth translated intensely experienced events into the only languages available to them.
By identifying the underlying natural condition, it becomes clear that many different archetypal themes among the early cultures trace back to the same extraordinary events. The remarkable fact is that nothing in our natural experience today will account for a single archetype. And yet, the archetypes are inseparably connected to each other, constituting a substructure of human memory in ancient times. This collective memory would not be possible in the absence of the natural provocation.
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