Do Fabulists Believe their own Fables?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Irish1975
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Do Fabulists Believe their own Fables?

Post by Irish1975 » Sun Jan 10, 2021 3:26 pm

Here's a true story (cough) illustrating why I don't credit arguments that depend crucially on what ancient writers or their audiences "must have believed."

Charles Baudelaire (d. 1867) was one of the great poets of modern times, with an exceptionally vivid imagination.

In 1841, at age 20, he was sent on a voyage to Calcutta by his father, who didn't want Charles to waste his life in the haunts of the Latin Quarter. But when he docked at Mauritius, Charles decided he had enough. After 3 weeks dawdling in the tropical grass, and a layover at the isle of Reunion, he sailed for France on the ship L'Alcide on November 4, 1841.

However, after he returned to Paris, he always claimed to have gone to Calcutta, and he described to Asselineau how he had joined up with traders and had gone with them into the interior of India. He also gave blood-curdling accounts of the cruel treatment he had suffered at the hands of the crew, and left his friends with the impression that he had been press-ganged, and taken by force on a pirate ship. He told the stories well and, as they improved with each telling, he had great success with his friends, and they never tired of hearing the tale of his adventures on the high seas with the buccaneers.
...These tales were all believed by his friends, and many of them were repeated subsequently as true facts by biographers.
...He had a talent for description, for evoking lands which he had only seen in imagination, and the fact that he found an audience ready to appreciate his gifts, only added to the zest of his excitement and spurred him on to further efforts. When he had told the story several times he could no longer separate what was true from what was fiction, and he later never remembered that he had not, in reality, gone to Calcutta.


Baudelaire, by Enid Starkie (1958), pp. 66-67.


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billd89
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Re: Fabulists/NPDs and Their Fables

Post by billd89 » Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:33 pm

Charles Baudelaire was a flamboyant narcissist (NPD).

In larger 12-Step Recovery meetings (perhaps 10-15% Cluster B NPDs), you will hear people frankly admit they lie, often, and that they don't even know why. So YES: I think many raconteurs do believe their own b.s. (A related topic? 10/26/20 New Yorker article on military impostors)

Unvarnished truth is an exceedingly rare commodity. So it's best to begin - not with, 'This is the truth!' - but 'What are this narrator's motives?'

I've made a spectacular discovery: one of the most published books in history had a team of ghostwriters, but one single man claimed credit for all. I cannot fathom why EVERYONE still believes he was the sole Author (he was quasi-illiterate, no academic background, almost anti-intellectual, had never published anything prior, not a writer, etc., etc.), but apparently no one thought - or dared? - to question his authorship. YES there are also falsified documents (contradictory, impossible in all their claims) to distract researchers and neatly tie up a few of the obvious loose ends - there was alot of money & power at stake - but REALLY! are ppl so gullible??? Indeed, they are.

What I see in this particular individual is consistent with NPDs generally: multiple versions of 'same story' - inconsistent - and an over-arching record fabulism (this guy was tagged a fibber many decades ago) that any serious critic should have spotted immediately. Doubt it, chief!

So even the 'experts' (best-grade culture workers) are blind: suspension of disbelief is everywhere the norm. People want to believe. Ghostwriters don't exist )

Check your sources!
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Kunigunde Kreuzerin
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Re: Do Fabulists Believe their own Fables?

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:33 am

Irish1975 wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 3:26 pm
Here's a true story
Our own theories are just fables and we all believe in them. :cheers:

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Irish1975
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Re: Fabulists/NPDs and Their Fables

Post by Irish1975 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:56 am

billd89 wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:33 pm
Charles Baudelaire was a flamboyant narcissist (NPD).
Perhaps. But the point is that he wrote great stuff and told wonderful stories that proved convincing even to his 19th/20th century biographers living in the so-called age of reason. “Believing” his imagination over his memory was integral to his art. If it happened in the modern age, all the more likely is it to have happened in ancient times.

Many Biblical writiers (especially “Mark”) must have “believed” what their imagination brought forth, and rode the tide of an enthusiastic audience. This is why I think it is absolutely unsound to infer from such and such prophecy or parable in the Gospels that the author intended/knew/wanted/expected, etc thus and so, or worse, must have been living in the year X or the decade Y. It’s like mapping stars through a kaleidoscope.

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Irish1975
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Re: Do Fabulists Believe their own Fables?

Post by Irish1975 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:04 am

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:33 am
Irish1975 wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 3:26 pm
Here's a true story
Our own theories are just fables and we all believe in them. :cheers:
If there is no difference between biography and fiction. If there are no facts.

Careful with that axe, Eugene.

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billd89
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Re: Opinion

Post by billd89 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:55 am

Irish1975 wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:56 am
billd89 wrote:
Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:33 pm
Charles Baudelaire was a flamboyant narcissist (NPD).
Perhaps. But the point is that he wrote great stuff and told wonderful stories that proved convincing even to his 19th/20th century biographers living in the so-called age of reason. “Believing” his imagination over his memory was integral to his art. If it happened in the modern age, all the more likely is it to have happened in ancient times.

Many Biblical writiers (especially “Mark”) must have “believed” what their imagination brought forth, and rode the tide of an enthusiastic audience. This is why I think it is absolutely unsound to infer from such and such prophecy or parable in the Gospels that the author intended/knew/wanted/expected, etc thus and so, or worse, must have been living in the year X or the decade Y. It’s like mapping stars through a kaleidoscope.
No, Baudelaire was CERTAINLY a bullsh*tter and Narcissist. We should not equivocate on the truth (which does exist).
AND - separate issue - he was an excellent (viz. best representative) artist of his day/milieu. He saw himself as an artist-storyteller (not historian), too. I doubt he was a divine, either: the differences vastly outweigh any similarities.

Your OP is about "arguments" (which I presume to be about 'history' and 'facts'), but now you've switched to talking about "art" and 'fiction'? These are NOT the same topic; I don't conflate the two.

Big Picture? Personally, I don't (and never did) believe the Bible is factual; it is factitious (artificial, made-up) though not entirely false in all details. It is a leading argument/ assemblage on a myriad of little myths, which comprise a jerry-rigged belief-system and pseudo-history. Again, there are likely to be many minor points that do reflect, allude, connect to actual historical events - but caveat lector! I have nothing against 'the Bible' as a communal reference for believers, either. (Free country, and all that.)

In detail? I do suppose most of the authors “believed” what they expressed, and their expression was more likely than not a 'product of their time'. I don't believe they approached their writing as 'historical' - the scientistic idea of historicity or legalistic 'factual truth' is misplaced, here. Some authors had pointed agendas, too: like here (or any internet forum), not everyone 'basically tells the whole truth' that they know. And some people are simply wrong/crazy! But the real problem w/ the Gospels is the 2nd-5th generation redactors, who edited/manipulated in however many iterations with very real, and different, outside agendas. Therein lies the corruption; we have to try to uncover or discern the 1st generation version (aka 'Gospel authors') to know their truth. Impossible? Thus, endless debates on opinion.

Baudelaire told Baudelaire's 'truth', completely unmediated by anyone but his own editor/publisher. The 'Gospel of Mark', otoh, is probably a 3th or 4th generation (plus?) iteration off one or more specific Quelle documents (with several others, perhaps competing versions, circulating contemporaneously), so what we see is mere survivorship bias. In the (1930s American)work I am examining, the published version and manuscript are 95% identical, but the 'framed history' - deliberately manufactured 10-20 years later - is almost entirely false and misleading, without tampering the original material. THEN - call it 3rd generation - amateur scholars of the last 25 years have created their own divergent narratives to explain the gross inconsistencies, to rationalize the impossibilities of the manufactured 'history of'. The actual history (true facts, publicly known or unknown) gets convoluted or buried fairly quickly by opinion, in my example.

I love storytelling and myth, anyway; I'm guessing 99% of what I read is 'opinion' (a spectrum: from falsehood/error, to unsubstantiated conjecture) and I'm rarely disappointed. I also appreciate reading sane viewpoints that are not readily apparent to me. Memo to self? 'Don't believe your own bullsh*t!'

That's my two cents on the topic )
Last edited by billd89 on Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Kunigunde Kreuzerin
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Re: Do Fabulists Believe their own Fables?

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:11 pm

Irish1975 wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 10:04 am
Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 1:33 am
Our own theories are just fables and we all believe in them. :cheers:
If there is no difference between biography and fiction. If there are no facts.
When ten of us are discussing with each other, there are often ten different opinions about what is the true fact. So nine out of ten must be wrong, yet the nine believe in "their" facts. Whether the 10th is correct is an open question. In any case, the 10th can be neglected.

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Irish1975
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Re: Do Fabulists Believe their own Fables?

Post by Irish1975 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:19 pm

billd89 wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:55 am
No, Baudelaire was CERTAINLY a bullsh*tter and Narcissist. We should not equivocate on the truth (which does exist).
This is irrelevant to the topic.
Your OP is about "arguments" (which I presume to be about 'history' and 'facts'), but now you've switched to talking about "art" and 'fiction'? These are NOT the same topic; I don't conflate the two.
I don’t understand what you’re objecting to.

andrewcriddle
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Re: Do Fabulists Believe their own Fables?

Post by andrewcriddle » Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:25 pm

One issue here is how far Mark for example was constrained by the ideas about Jesus previously accepted by his audience.

Andrew Crddle

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billd89
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So you're contentious, and trolling?

Post by billd89 » Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:37 pm

Irish1975 wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:19 pm
billd89 wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:55 am
No, Baudelaire was CERTAINLY a bullsh*tter and Narcissist. We should not equivocate on the truth (which does exist).
This is irrelevant to the topic.
The topic was your illustration of Baudelaire, his invention, etc. and what it means. That was addressed. Baudelaire isn't "Mark"; false equivalence, here.
Irish1975 wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:19 pm
Here's a true story ...why I don't credit arguments that depend crucially on what ancient writers or their audiences "must have believed."
This topic is now about your solipsism? Ahhh, no.
Irish1975 wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 12:19 pm
Your OP is about "arguments" (which I presume to be about 'history' and 'facts'), but now you've switched to talking about "art" and 'fiction'? These are NOT the same topic; I don't conflate the two.
I don’t understand what you’re objecting to.
I can't help you then, sorry )

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