On August 25, 2011, Justin Downey presented World as Imagination or We Feed the Gods and the Gods Feed Us in the Philosophy Student Association’ Osoinach Student Lecture Series. His presentation focused on how metaphor is often thought of as working in one direction (as one thing illustrates another), but that upon closer consideration we find metaphor works as a mutual relation between two items. One vivid example given in his talk is the way food and sex is typically spoken of in relation to one another. Following this example of the overlap of food and sex into some of the mythic and religious stories and rituals in which it is found to powerfully reveal itself (particularly rituals of sacrificial feeding), he explored the dynamics of relation between gods and humans in such rites. Gods and humans are then seen to relate in an intimate mutual sustenance. This in turn leads us to consider the metaphorical nature of relationship that is hinted at in such myths and why a polytheistic imagination may have certain advantages over a monotheistic vision.
Justin Downey is completing his M.A. at the University of Dallas and is a long time friend of the Philosophy Student Association and a former PSA officer and senior advisor to the PSA.
Posted: September 16, 2011