Western civilization. Our religious life is ethical, not mystical. The mystery has gone and society is disintegrating as a result.The question is whether or not there can ever be a recovery of themythological, mystical realization of the miracle of life of which humanbeings are a manifestation. We take the Old Testament God to be a fact, not a symbol. The Holy Land is a speciﬁc place and no other, man is superior to the beasts, and na-ture has fallen. With the Fall in the Garden of Eden, nature becomes a cor-rupt force, so we do not give ourselves to nature as Chief Seattle did.
Wewill correct nature. We develop ideas of good and evil in nature, and we aresupposed to be on the side of the good, which creates an obvious tension. We don’t yield to nature. The term
has become the objectof rejection and abuse. But what else are you going to worship? Some ﬁg-ment of your imagination that you have put up in the clouds? A strangething has happened. It is so extreme that if you don’t believe in a ﬁgure,you don’t have any worship. Now everything is lost!In the Puritan period we had the rejection of the whole iconography of the Christian myth and of the rituals by which it was delivered to yoursoul. The whole thing was rendered simply as a rational performance of bringing people of goodwill together, particularly those in that particularchurch. But even that has been torn apart bit by bit. What do we read? We read newspapers concerned with wars, murders,rapes, politicians, and athletes, and that’s about it. This is the reading thatpeople used to devote to worship, to legends of deities who represent thefounding ﬁgures of their lives and religion. People today are hunting around for something they have lost. Some of them know that they’rehunting. The ones who don’t are having a really hard time.Now I will tell you a little story. I have only a tiny television set, thesize of a postcard, which I bought many years ago when I was on TV andwanted to see myself.
After that I never watched it much, but when theMoon shots started, I spent day after day glued to the screen, just watch-ing them. One of the thrilling moments for me was when the astronautswere on the way back and Houston ground control asked them, “Who isnavigating now?” The reply that came back was, “Newton.”I immediately thought of Kant’s “Transcendental Aesthetic,” the ﬁrst
Myths of Light