« …in fact, men begun to philosophise, now as much as at the beginning, out of wonder: while, in the beginning, they were astonished by the most simple difficulties, later, progressing little by little, they came to pose ever-greater problems: for example, problems relating to the phenomena of the moon and the sun and the stars, or problems concerning the generation of the entire universe. Now, whoever feels a sense of doubt and wonder acknowledges there is something he does not know; and it is for this reason that he who loves the myth is also, in some way, a philosopher: the myth, in fact, consists of a set of things which arouse wonder. So, if men have philosophised to rid themselves of ignorance, it is clear that they only seek knowledge in order to know and not out of any practical use. »
And so came the time of myths.
Tied to the concept of wonder and knowledge, and even before the idea of art as knowledge and revelation, the myth is individual and collective.
It is the mechanism that makes possible the chiasm (the connection), and the catharsis between individual thought and feeling and collective thought and feeling.
Myth is to be found in nature (the landscape, the tree, the dark, the light, the sea, the river, the lake, the vines, the path, the clearing…..), it is to be found in the archetype of architecture (the shack, the tent, the house, geometric shapes, the dome, the vault, the underground spaces, the hypostyle spaces, the stairs…), it is to be found in history, it is to be found in modern and contemporary imagery (science, cinema, art).
Reality is composed of visible and invisible parts, the latter being only imaginable. Architecture connects these two components of reality: the subject, in his/her relationship with the world, cannot limit him/herself to the objectively visible parts but, necessarily, has to enter into its spiritual side, invisible, the “aura” surrounding the visible reality of things.
The connection between the objective (visible) and the spiritual (invisible) is one of the centres of architecture. The consciousness of this centrality, of this double level of relationship with reality, is the consciousness of not knowing, of not understanding, of wonder in the face of the inexplicability of reality (death, darkness, the echo, the future), it is that which reveals the “original” and “primitive” zone of sharing with the outside world. At the basis of these thoughts is the idea that “man and the world are made of the same flesh” (merleau-ponty) (3), and that this flesh, these bodies in dialogue, have a shared perceptive consciousness, which goes beyond the objectivity of reality, but comes into contact with the spiritual part of the outside world. This consciousness is composed of a procedure of “climbing back up”, of “imagination” (hillman), which allows this sharing of and with the world in its visible and invisible aspects. Therefore feeling what is not logically visible or understandable becomes the “soul making” that belongs to a symbolic, sensory, atavistic, mythical world; a “bath in uncertainty”, belonging to the use of “symbolic images” and not “logical and non-contradictory deductions”.
The recourse to the symbolic, to myths, to archetypes, has the aim of stealing knowledge and awareness from proceedings that are deductive or “familiar” (both in the sense of family and in the sense of tradition of modern reason) and placing it on the table, available to all, because it belongs to all and dwells in all. Myths lead us then to a planning action of sharing, because these myths, these archetypes are inside everyone, they are collective and profound, infantile and primitive.