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The Goddess Mnemosyne of Greek Mythology

tree of knowledge

Finding truths within Greek mythology

(1st edition - October 2007) by A.O. Kime
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Of all the personages of Greek mythology, the titaness Mnemosyne (Greek goddess of memory) is perhaps the most deserving of further notoriety. Whether goddesses like Mnemosyne exist as living-breathing entities, in spirit or merely effectively (explained further below), she is one of the most influential as demonstrated by her astoundingly powerful influence over creativity. This is evidenced by the tens of thousands of Promethean (daringly original or creative) writers, artists and musicians throughout the world otherwise unexplained. Credited as being the mother of the muse, Mnemosyne set in motion through the workings of her daughters the eternal guiding light over one’s choice of words and thus logic itself… propelling mortal humans upwards, in effect, to the stratosphere of gods.

While neither the scientific community nor organized religions have ever accepted Greek mythology as having an ounce of truth, nonetheless it explains best man’s wondrous abilities such as creativity and his capacity to remember. In this, Greek mythology claims Mnemosyne was responsible but importantly - underlying this contention and those within other tales, largely allegorical - Greek mythology reveals much more than commonly thought.

While at some point in history the term ‘myth’ became associated with “an unfounded or false notion”, assuredly due to the efforts of the Catholic Church who earlier campaigned to discredit Greek mythology, the primary and original definition is “a traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon”.

Until the Sumerians developed the art of writing in 3,000 B.C., the only method available for passing along ancient wisdom was orally. While there is always the possibility something could be lost or exaggerated in the re-telling - although a written account is not immune from inaccuracies either - Greek mythology provides a general idea the thinking in ancient times going back to the Stone Age. Consisting of unfettered imaginations and spiritual persuasions - a type of mentality capable of profound brilliance - it provides insights into our otherwise mysterious being.

The associations of Mnemosyne

While it may be mythological conjecture that Mnemosyne is the daughter of Uranus (sky) and Gaia (mother earth), or that her daughters were fathered by Zeus, overriding any uncertainty is that her existence is as real as any other effective reality. In other words, all realities are based on perceptions but more-so fragile are the human perceptions of phenomena which - despite their unknown properties - are real nonetheless.... hence 'effectively real'.

As for the goddess Mnemosyne, she represents those mysteries associated with memory and inspiration otherwise unexplained (or explained incorrectly) and therefore (at the very least) effectively exists as much as any phenomenon effectively exists. After all, just like the terms ‘god’ and ‘guardian angels’, all mysteries have (or need) a label to represent them which would include the unexplained (but nonetheless apparent) influences. Labels are also needed to represent the missing pieces.

While a word (nomenclature) for a phenomenon could be considered representative - without committing itself to any particular cause - but this neglect would be like uttering an incomplete sentence. On the other hand, it is not the job of lexicographers to cite reasons... rightly saying, in effect, "you figure it out". Yet, curiously, society seems content with matters left hanging... even those begging for a reason. Of course, it's been the norm for ages.

To be clear the meaning of 'inspiration' (in this sense), it is "a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him to receive and communicate sacred revelation" and "the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions".

Similarly, before it was scientifically identified, even oxygen had some type of representation in the minds of the ancients… fascinated with the magical qualities of breathing. Whether from a spiritual perspective or analyzed on the plane of mechanical explanations, they at least knew air was where the mysterious element resided which was imperative to life.

While everything identifiable is destined to be given a name - which would include phenomena not yet understood - the difference with Greek mythology is that by claiming an entity such as Mnemosyne is responsible for memory, or that she is responsible for inspiration (creativity), it adds ‘cause’ to the ‘representation’. While it would be presumptuous to designate a cause without proof, likewise presumptuous would be the notion that life is god-given… a common religious contention. However, similarly presumptuous is the scientific community in denying the spirit world through their endless mechanical explanations. Their contention as to the role of the subconscious mind is just one example… it being much more than scientifically acknowledged. Omissions, after all, would be equally presumptuous.

The omission in this case is that mechanical explanations overlook ‘purpose’… ignoring the deeper questions as to why life and its functions exist. In other words, it would be presumptuous to believe there is no purpose. Purpose, of course, is indicative of a divine presence and the prime reason science ignores it.

Degrees of presumptiveness and metaphysical differences

While there will always be a degree of presumptiveness within one’s explanation of phenomena even if it’s in the ballpark… invariably due to the commonplace and understandable misinterpretations of the spirit world… there will always be someone’s accounting which is closest to the truth. Of course, mortals wouldn’t know which it might be unless they've been spiritually enlightened through the Divine Intellect (divine intelligence). Until then, one can only guess which contentions of religions and mythology are the most insightful. Science, on the other hand, while still mired in the pit of denial has no insightfulness whatsoever.

Greek mythology and religions are most notably different from science however because they are largely allegorical and daringly specific by citing the names of metaphysical entities and the events which allegedly unfolded… although the characters and events within their stories are completely different from each other. For example, Zeus, Apollo and the goddess Mnemosyne have no place whatsoever within the tales of conventional religions. Yet, they’re still in the same ballpark.

To be clear the meaning of 'allegory', it is "the expression by means of symbolic fictional figures and actions of truths and generalizations about human existence" and the derivative 'allegorical' means "having hidden spiritual meaning that transcends the literal sense of a sacred text".

Despite these differences, there are benefits from having representations based upon a believed cause even if the belief is wrong because it demonstrates disagreement with any established premise. It keeps matters openly argumentative as no institution should have jurisdiction. Jurisdictions, after all, are the executioners of progress. Without the accountings of religions and mythology, explanations would go begging as is the case with scientific (mechanical) explanations. In order to grasp the role of a particular phenomenon, it needs to be symbolically represented in some fashion which science won’t do… due to the methodical nature of scientific inquiry. As a result, the missing pieces (gaps) within scientific knowledge are huge.

Yet, some phenomena aren’t represented by religions whereas they are within Greek mythology… inspiration (creativity) for example. Only Greek mythology recognizes it as a phenomenon and the reason it is represented by the muse of Greek mythology… more specifically as the doings of the muse (the cause). Actually, the sciences and religions have failed to distinguish as sovereign almost every aspect of humanity. If not for Greek mythology, love, jealousy and our warring nature would also go begging for a reason. Psychologists and psychiatrists typically offer only their mechanical explanations while religions have only two buckets to put it in… that of good and evil (although true in the broader sense).

While there is little or no evidence concerning metaphysics lying about within any camp, whether scientific, religious or mythology, at least people know when something rings true… and science, we know, has never rang true when it comes to metaphysics. After all, from the scientific point-of-view, even God is mythical (in the sense of being 'an unfounded or false notion’… the latter-day definition of myth).

Religions, on the other hand, seem only partially right as most religions became ad hoc religions over time... existing now on foundations only partially of truths. It was also for institutional gain that they discredited polytheism only to adopt the same practices. As institutions now... they've shot themselves in the foot.

The lure of Greek mythology

Conversely, there is something especially heartfelt about Greek mythology… indicating it is more than a collection of fairytales. Importantly, it provides a service to mankind by pointing out his godly abilities otherwise ignored as such. Only the matter as to how these godly abilities were obtained should be subject to question. In other words, we can’t discount the biblical accounting as it too contains truths.

Without question, biblical accounts and especially Greek mythology have provided mankind a much better picture than science even though those pictures may not be accurate in precise terms. While their versions vary greatly, this is to be expected in the hazy ballpark of spiritual realities. Versions and allegories will always be the case. Nonetheless, something similar to the biblical tales or those within Greek mythology occurred.

Depictions of the spirit world will always raise doubts however due to its mystical nature and because languages (semantics) are incapable of accurately describing anything metaphysical in ways humans can relate. It is an extralinguistic subject. Symbolism is all there is to work with in trying to clarify an otherwise very vague picture… and it is this vagueness which conjures up the idea of ‘mystical’. Only mechanical explanations can escape this ominous-sounding tag... except it demonstrates an unwillingness to venture into this territory.

Largely due to the mystical qualities of the spirit world, Greek mythology may often seem a collection of outrageous (unbelievable) contentions… but equally outrageous would be religious contentions and even the fact oxygen freely exists in our atmosphere which humans breathe to exist. If we didn’t already know the wonders of life and those of the human body first-hand, the list of the unbelievable would be nearly endless.

Also, whether there were instances in which mortals (human beings) interacted with the immortal gods and titans such as Mnemosyne as depicted in Greek mythology… well, interactions are a matter of degree. For example, as we have begun to appreciate in modern times, we need not be standing next to someone in order to be in contact. Spiritual contacts in one form or another do exist but continue to go unrecognized scientifically… as did the possibility of radio and television 200 years ago.

Mnemosyne during the Stone Age

However, far more advanced than the mechanical devices of the modern age, extra sensory perception (ESP) was surely recognized as far back as the Stone Age. This was due to the prevalence of the spiritual (and thus empirical) mindset… being more capable to recognize the origins of metaphysical wonders upon which Greek mythology was founded. In some spiritual sense, albeit indefinable, the ancients were obviously cognizant of the gods and goddesses such as Zeus and Mnemosyne but of equal importance… they profoundly deduced that earth was actually alive.

While gods and goddesses may seem a bizarre concept, being out in left field, a living earth is something humans can more easily relate to. This complex perpetual motion machine of harmoniously juggled wonders capable of creating and sustaining life is called Gaia.

Establishing that earth is actually alive would serve as proof the veracity of Greek mythology… an easier task for mortals than finding proof the existence of gods and goddesses. Since the inanimateness of its individual elements isn't proof the earth is not alive (as a whole), the magnificence resulting from all that which earth consists is indicative of a life form. After all, the human body consists of elements as well... individually adjudged inert. It seems certain the scope and complexity of earth, its magnificence, cannot be maintained by anything less than a life form… albeit a higher life form. For that matter, in that beauty and divine are synonymous, anything magnificent may be 'alive'. At any rate, to the extent we can conceptualize one… earth is effectively a god. While it is not the supreme god, as our role-playing sun can testify to, its godly life-giving attributes suggests nothing less… assuming, of course, that anything having greater powers than man would be a god.

While in agreement with the biblical account that God created earth, that doesn't necessarily mean this multifaceted perpetual motion machine isn't alive. This wasn't touched upon in the bible however... perhaps because the fact wasn't conveyed, it wasn't deciphered or purposefully omitted by the unknown author of Genesis as being beyond human understanding.

Insightfulness of Greek mythology

In that most people consider God Almighty as fact, being necessary to explain the wonders of creation, but despite being unknowable in linguistic terms… God symbolically represents the cause (and master) of all creation. With this in mind, it shouldn’t seem odd that ‘creativity’ should also be symbolically represented in some fashion. Far ahead in the realm of spiritual insightfulness… the progenitors of Greek mythology not only saw there was a driving force behind creativeness (inspiration) which science has yet to recognize, or even religions, but ventured onward to identify the cause.

However, while the authors identified the cause as being the goddess Mnemosyne, it is uncertain whether it was based upon actual knowledge or extrapolated from just partial knowledge. In other words, since obviously creativeness and memory would be subcategories of the greater scheme residing at some level of architectural importance, an ‘organizational chart’ may have been developed which would account for mythology's lesser gods being in charge. Of course, their accuracy would depend on how close they got to the subject. If not standing in the doorway, much of Greek mythology says at least they were on the doorsteps.

So… either through envisioning the schema of spiritual realities the authors extrapolated the existence of spiritual entities such as (lesser) gods and goddesses and then named them… or, they were privy to some degree as to the actual names, roles and events. Still, due to the fogginess of spiritual realities they likely got some of it wrong. Also shrouding the simpler truths would be the later additions designed to 'spice up' the stories. For example, Zeus may not have 'chained and tortured' the titan Prometheus for 'stealing' fire from heaven and giving it to man. It might even be largely contrived. Yet, there's something godly about fire (electricity) as if it wasn't originally intended for mankind. After all, electricity has also empowered maleficence.

Dashing doubts of the goddess Mnemosyne

As to any doubts the goddess Mnemosyne was responsible, literally or in terms of equivalency, consider the insightfulness of Greek mythology which is evident in its recognition of the individual godly traits within humans. Any godly traits whatsoever would indicate some connection to God and/or lesser gods which would automatically create the possibility the progenitors of Greek mythology were privy to knowledge of metaphysical events. Through this 'tie that binds', their acquired knowledge would have been responsible for the various and original tales within Greek mythology. However, in order to separate the wheat from the chaff, the later additions designed to make Greek mythology more endearing should be set aside. The common themes within the variations would be the best indicator of truths while anything overly specific should cast doubts. As is the case with religious institutions, not even mythology is immune from the temptation to tinker with the facts.

While Homer and Hesiod may have 'created' Greek mythology sometime during 700-800 B.C., the possibility is stronger their writings were based largely on earlier tales, hymns and poetry... the vestiges of ancient wisdom which preceded them. Since fact is often stranger than fiction, this might explain why the astonishing works of Homer and Hesiod are considered creative genius. Poetry would have been a readily available source... believed very popular in ancient times and first to make use of the written word. Recapturing the magic of this metaphysical poetry was the 17th century.

As said, while Greek mythology may often seem more outrageous than the contentions of science and religions, it's largely because we’re less familiar. Yet, all previously unknown wonders existed in ways totally unexpected and therefore outrageous explanations should not be pre-judged on merit. After all, since straight-line thinking (logic) would be incapable of imagining any of our current senses (if otherwise unknown), not even over the course of 10,000 years… it would be nearly as difficult for logic to rationalize a goddess such a Mnemosyne whether as a living-breathing entity residing in some unknown place or existing in spirit form.

However, even though there is no proof Mnemosyne is a living-breathing entity or spirit, it is typical for the spiritual-minded to conclude that a representative of a spiritual phenomenon must be a 'person' and not something inanimate... hence 'God', 'guardian angels', 'Mnemosyne' and so forth. Contrarily, of course, science believes the magnificence of earth and body were created inanimately while at the same time crediting people for great inventions.

Depending on the schema of spiritual realities one subscribes to, the only variable is 'who'. Whoever these spiritual entities are however, or whichever is believed the most likely candidate, they're as effectively real as the phenomenon the represent... as effectively real as a paperboy we've never seen.

Gaia... the inanimate god

Scientific logic can’t say Gaia doesn’t exist either… that there isn’t an actual ‘Mother Earth’. The same thing applies to our sun... also being heartfelt that the scientific explanation is merely mechanical. It is especially suspect since science doesn’t know yet what life entails… meaning life forms could exist in a variety of ways beyond current understanding. Soil, for example, can either be dead or alive depending upon the presence of other factors even though, scientifically, those factors are either inanimate or have inanimate origins.

For a different view on instincts and the frame-of-mind see Instincts and for a philosophical analysis of light see
The Quest for the Nature of Light

It is an oxymoron that the mystery of life is an accepted reality to science being at odds with the methodical process of scientific inquiry. Of course, life is ‘living proof’ whereas other metaphysical mysteries aren’t so obvious which would include goddesses such as Mnemosyne. Still, this single act of acceptance (life) spotlights the true and limited role of scientific inquiry. It is merely a tool.

A.O. Kime

Matrix of Mnemosyne... the place of smoke signals from the spirit world

Last modified: 03/05/16