My Son the Skeptic

“All the idols made by man, however terrifying they may be, are in point of fact subordinate to him, and that is why he will always have it in his power to destroy them.”—Simon du Beauvoir

Aaron: why’d Achilles die the way he did?
Me: because his mother Thetis dipped him by the foot in the River Styx so he wouldn’t die young. The water made him immortal. But his ankle was not immersed so he remained vulnerable there.
Aaron: why not turn him over, dip him in the water completely and finish the job? Or switch feet and hang him by the other side?
Me: because Achilles would not have been nearly as interesting if they did that I guess.

This exchange got me thinking: all myths–whether produced by the ancient Greeks or by we moderns–never stand up to even the simplest most childlike question. Myths persist precisely because human ignorance and credulousness continue to make such fertile soil; by simply inventing answers to mysteries we are not actually increasing our knowledge but moving further away from reality. So your belief in homeopathy, acupuncture, astrology, etc. all anesthetize the intellect making one a slave to both mindless abeyance and absurdity.

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