group grope

Many many many many people do not understand what I am on about with Myth. It is weird, ironic, sad, exemplary of modern culture that for most people this word primarily means ‘something that isn’t true’.  In fact myth IS true or as Frederick Raphael put it:

Truth maybe stranger than fiction, but fiction is truer. 


But myth is more than fiction, it is the original aggregate knowledge.  We are in the age of aggregate knowledge and  just starting to see the remarkable results that the internet is bringing to everything, perhaps most notably science, which already had a system of ethics and sharing protocols in place to take advantage of what the revolution is creating. For a long time I had this article about gamers mapping the structure of protease for AIDS research up on the Mythic Imagination website because it shows how our collective work is evolving.  While these are not myths, it shows the initial architecture of forming myths.

http://theweek.com/article/index/219424/online-gamers-extraordinary-aids-breakthrough-an-instant-guide

Myth is how people aggregated over time until they got a story right.  Not only were these stories accurate descriptions of something ancestors wanted their descendants to know, they are unbelievably compact, using metaphorical intelligence to make one image or plot point serve many different meanings at once—a spiritual meaning, a psychological meaning, a cultural value meaning and an environmental description.

Nothing matches them for the sheer power of concentration, for the amazing explosion that the little grenade of a mythic story is packing.    One of my favorite people to read is EO Wilson about social creatures, ants, bees, termites and how we human beings belong to this eusocial group in the ways we develop, interact and survive.  Now scientists are doing work  that shows how the way we do things are alike.

On the surface, ants and the Internet don’t seem to have much in common. But two Stanford researchers have discovered that a species of harvester ants determine how many foragers to send out of the nest in much the same way that Internet protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for the transfer of data. The researchers are calling it the “anternet.”

Deborah Gordon, a biology professor at Stanford, has been studying ants for more than 20 years. When she figured out how the harvester ant colonies she had been observing in Arizona decided when to send out more ants to get food, she called across campus to Balaji Prabhakar, a professor of computer science at Stanford and an expert on how files are transferred on a computer network. At first he didn’t see any overlap between his and Gordon’s work, but inspiration would soon strike.

“The next day it occurred to me, ‘Oh wait, this is almost the same as how [Internet] protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for transferring a file!'” Prabhakar said. “The algorithm the ants were using to discover how much food there is available is essentially the same as that used in the Transmission Control Protocol.”

http://www.amazon.com/Social-Conquest-Earth-Edward-Wilson/dp/0871404133

www.MythicImagination.org

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