I would be copping out if I stayed in the myth of the ’60s.
Uncritical semantics is the myth of a museum in which the exhibits are meanings and the words are labels. To switch languages is to change the labels.
But myth is something else than an explanation of the world, of history, and of destiny.
Each religion, by the help of more or less myth, which it takes more or less seriously, proposes some method of fortifying the human soul and enabling it to make its peace with its destiny.
It is a myth, not a mandate, a fable not a logic, and symbol rather than a reason by which men are moved.
That is how it stiffens, my vision of that seaside childhood. My father died; we moved inland. Whereon those nine first years of my life sealed themselves off like a ship in a bottle – beautiful, inaccessible, obsolete: a fine, white, flying myth.
To idolise a person means you don’t get to know them, and the idea that you can become one is a myth, and it also means that you don’t need to talk to one another because you’re the same person.
‘Easter’ is a movable event, calculated by the relative positions of sun and moon, an impossible way of fixing year by year the anniversary of a historical event, but a very natural and indeed inevitable way of calculating a solar festival. These changing dates do not point to the history of a man, but to the hero of a solar myth.
I think the Sixties in some ways is a barrier to young people today. They think of it, you know, what we’re doing is not that. But it’s partly the myth of the Sixties. It always felt embattled and small. It always, almost always, was a small group of people relative to the opposition around.
I was in my mid-teens when someone gave me a copy of ‘Pears Encyclopaedia of Myth and Legends’ as a birthday present. It sat on my shelves for many months before I looked at it. When I did, I couldn’t stop reading it.