What is the difference between science and mythical thought? What different tools do they employ respectively? How can we locate the particular level of the sign, in contrast, on the one hand, to pure structure, and on the other, to pure event? What is the relationship between this particularity of the sign and the production of aesthetic experience according to Levi-Strauss?
In 1962, Claude Levi-Strauss published the essay "The Savage Mind," in aims to explain the way that people learn and the skills required to do so. They are mythical thought, also known as the science of the concrete, and modern scientific inquiry. In Levi-Strauss’s opinion both are equally important in the process of investigation.
The major issue with the two is that both are thinking processes that proceed from two very different fields: science versus ideology. Science uses tools already in existence to investigate why something happens. Mythical thinking takes the initiative of inquiry from a system of belief that leads the researcher to find answers in a way that is neither limited, nor controlled. Yet Strauss argues that mythical thought has proven throughout history to hold a very similar record of predictability as science. For example, when ancient healers would favor one plant over another, and obtained results, their primitive tools of inquiry still allowed them to exercise their intuition, life-schema, and general perception of the nature around them to warn others from good and bad. In fact, Strauss gives a special place to mythical thought because of its tendency for acquiring information from every day. There are no boundaries that can impede mythical thought, whereas scientific inquiry has parameters, delimitations, and specific requirement that render it “limited” to a point. The way Levi-Straus explains the intrinsic connection between mythical thought and scientific inquiry is by stating that
"The scientist [creates] events [changing the world] by means of structures and the 'bricoleur' creating structures by means of events" *bricolage= work initiated and completed by someone’s own ability.
Hence each thought process, mythical and scientific, carry with them tools for inquiry
In mythical thought it would be
· Empirical analysis
· Critical thinking skills
In scientific inquiry the tools are:
· The scientific method
· Parameters and delimitations
· Sample and variable
· Controlled environment