Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Myth in the beginning

"They choose the path where no-one goes."

No Quarter, Led Zeppelin

Pinpointing why and when my interest in this theme was born brings me back to one of my earliest loves. Mythology. In my early teens I developed a rather poetic fixation with the mythological character Hades. I hunted through texts for some description of his underworld lair, determined to find descriptions that matched my imaginings. It was the realm of the dead but also the home of a major deity from a fantastical world. Surely there were massive grottoes and underground lakes with water glistening a surreal light. Massive stone thrones for the deity and his consort and of course, natural jewels in the rough abounding everywhere. Thousands of candles lighting the passages and a design scheme that was part Clan-of-the-Cave-Bear and part Underground Deluxe.

I have not yet found the mythological text to match my mind's creation, but depictions in film and other sources have satisfied me well enough. Embarking on a definitive study of the depiction of the underworld in all world mythologies I have not done. Such a study would no doubt bring added glee and relief . I cannot be the only one with such dreams.

The first clear memory, that is connected to an actual space, is of navigating an underground shopping arcade with my family in Hong Kong. I had marveled on the dense urbanity of this place since we arrived and on this hot summer day, the cool retreat of well ordered passages simply made sense. But this was just the surface.....

Fast forward to about a decade later. I'm sitting before my computer. The shopping arcade in Hong Kong is nowhere on my mind. Nor is Hades (at least not on the forefront). I am about to begin a casual digging about online for information on 'the underground.' Serious research would come later. This is, after all, my preparatory step for the production of an academic text. But to begin with, I wanted to simply have fun seeing what was 'out there.'

I was readily and willingly lost for a brief period of time in the abundance of rather bizarre information relating to Underground Space. The Hollow Earth theory, numerous conspiracies about military bases, tunnel networks. The inevitable connections made, in modern and ancient day, about ET's and their operations down under. Numerous threads and publications relating to occult-like or doomsday activity in connection with the underground were too numerous to pore through. As well as distracting.

I had to reel back after a while and remember my objective and buckle down. What I was looking for was evidence and research relating to concrete and real developments in the underground by the hand of humans. Actual buildings. Actual findings. Actual space.

Looking back its no surprise I stumbled on this track to begin with. Besides having been, at the time, not very skilled in precise keyword searches that would allow immediately findings of the type I was looking for (which were soon to come), the reality is that Science Fiction and Fantasy realms are rife with depictions of underground space. The catalogue of underground space created by humans is vast and intriguing, as much so as what the mind of humans perceives our relation to this space to be.

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