The Truth of Myth

by Timothy Lusch

The Lie of Material Progress

Mythopoeia by J.R.R. Tolkien

You’ve seen The Lord of the Rings. Maybe you even read the books. But Tolkien, devout Catholic, philologist, and author of The Silmarillion, The Children of Hurin, and The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun, was foremost a defender of the Truth. For him, the Truth inhered in the mystical, not the material. He fought in WWI and lived through the devastation of the Somme.  Witness to the logical end of material progress for man in the regress of war, he turned to the Truth in the Myth of Man. Mythopoeia is his response to those who claim myths are lies. Truth is not limited to fact. And rarely is it synonymous with fact. After all, someone who asserts a fact often invites only argument as to what constitutes the fact.  But Truth, objective and eternal, is assented to on a deeper level than fact. And so we have Jesus offering parables to give us Truth that is beyond time and place. Eternal Truth. Tolkien spent his life giving us True Myths. Mythopoeia is a spirited defense of his life work.

I will not walk with your progressive apes,
erect and sapient. Before them gapes
the dark abyss to which their progress tends
if by God’s mercy progress ever ends,
and does not ceaselessly revolve the same
unfruitful course with changing of a name.