Symbolic & Literal: Comprehending claims from the ancient epics

“My point once again, is not that those people told literal stories and we are now smart enough to take them symbolically, but that they told them symbolically and we are now dumb enough to take them literally.”
– John Dominic Crossan

A reader wrote…

“Dear Nileseh Oak, while I am admirer of your work, I have problem with everything that is written in Mahabharata..especially all fancy stuff. What are your thoughts”

My response…

While in our subjective judgment, one may believe (or not believe) in anything they like, all we can objectively corroborate (and only corroborate…not prove) or objectively falsify (and only falsify…not disprove) are only those claims/descriptions that can be ‘tested’.

This criteria allows us to separate any claim into ‘testable or non-testable claims’ bucket. At least scientifcally speaking, we have nothing to say about ‘non-testable’ claims. This does not mean that the claim is false. It is just that science has nothing to say about it.

And lastly, what can be tested is determined by the advances in technology at any given time. As technology evolves, we may able to test claims that were considered ‘metaphysical’ (or non-testable) in nature….and either able to corrborate or falsify.

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