Friday, 18 November 2011

Interview With Bill Lewis

It’s about time I wrote something up here based on my dissertation. Below are notes which Jackie took after I met up with Bill Lewis on Monday.

Bill Lewis is English artist, story-teller, poet and mythographer. He is a member of ‘The Medway Poets’ a group dedicated to stuckism artwork. A few weeks ago he did a lecture called 'Kissing the Minotaur' in the Pentagon. I couldn't attend this lecture and so Jackie suggested that I email him, to see if he'd be happy to send me some notes about what he was talking about. It turned out he didn’t have any notes and said he'd meet me at the university (as he lives localy) to talk about what I wanted to know. Below are the notes that Jackie took down from my meeting with him.

  • One of the things TV programmes like Dr Who do, is to give people a sense of being part of a family - you become emotionally involved and invest emotionally in the stories.

  • We live in a post-religious age - religion is replaced by other things such as football, pop music etc.

  • Our minds have a natural mechanism that makes us 'live' stories, making our lives into a drama.

  • Look up Joseph Campbell - developed the idea of the heroes journey. Believed that all stories and myths have the same themes and come from a collective memory.

  • Carl Jung - worked with Freud - but whereas freud thought that the unconscious mind was a dumping ground for things we did not want to deal with, Jung thought that there was a collective subconscious, with people sharing common images brought about by the fact that we all share common ancestry.

  • Jung said there were 3 ways of dealing with the shadow -

  • 1)Deny the shadow belongs to you and say it belongs to someone else, so pass the blame to someone else. Then you become the shadow.

  • 2)Deny the shadow exists, then the shadow becomes all-powerful.

  • 3)Embrace the shadow, then you can control it.

  • Need to be able to read visual imagery in film and tv, as a way of being able to read modern myths - use of light, shadow, placing of characters etc.

  • The ancient Greeks knew that if a truth is too close to you, then you can't see it. Things need to be further away to be able to see them.

  • The only way to deal with logic is through metaphor, as logic cannot explain everything.

  • Rene Descartes - 'The Father of Modern Philosophy'

  • Myths, poetry and art are the only ways to portray the truth.

  • Many of our myths are left over from more ancient ideas - so for example, 25 Dec is celebrated as Christmas, when originally in North-western Europe we had a midwinter festival called Yule, when Odin was a gift-giving spirit that was worshipped.

  • The Bible is a collection of myths, written by different people at different times. Many of the stories tie in with ancient Greek myths.

  • All myths are true in a way that facts cannot be. Myths are useful because they inform us on a spiritual level.

  • Some ideas that we take for granted these days, such as Heaven and Hell, could have been misinterpreted and lost in translation from the Norse or Viking ideas for the places where normal people went - downwards to Hel...not a bad place, just where everyone that wasn't a hero went (became what we know as Hell). Heroes went to Valhalla which was upwards.
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