On the Longevity of Myths, or
Will TRIZ Become a New "Illiad" ?

Y. B. Karasik
Thoughts Guiding Systems Corp.,
Ottawa, Canada.
e-mail:karasik@sympatico.ca

30+ years ago I bought Homer's "Illiad". I was influenced by Altshuller's high respect for the ancient Greeks. He admired that "all Greeks read Homer" and "had his books at home". He probably regarded it as a sign of refinement of their spirit. But to my dismay I could not advance further than the first page.

The book has been collecting dust on my bookshelf for 30 years and I recently thought to myself: "When else will I read it if not now ?!" So I decided to force myself to read it. To my surprise the book turned out to be quite hollow. I found it containing nothing but:

In vain I was searching in the book for something not completely repulsive, e.g. for the story of the Trojan horse at least. It turned out to be missing in the book ! As I later learned, it came to us from the Virgil's account of the Trojan war rather than from Homer !

The book's foreword informed that the Greeks conducted annual Homer readings, that somebody famous even said that "Homer has brought up the Greece", etc. Brought up on what ? - I wondered. On glorifying the pillages of the old cities, on the stories of killing all men and raping all women, and mutilating the fallen warriors ? On pitching such primitive morale norms as "one has to avenge the killing of his friend" ? Did not they do so before Homer ? Or there simply were no friends in Greece before him ?

It is hard for us to understand the morale of the ancient peoples and to judge the ancient books from the standpoint of our morale. It is quite possible that for total savages "Illiad" was an upbringing and inspirational book, full of novel wisdoms and patterns of behaviour (such as killing just men as opposed to eating both men, women, and children). But not for us, and even not for peoples of the Middle Ages. Nevertheless the image launched thousands years ago stayed. Interestingly why ?

Was it just another "mass psychosis" ? Or was it due to unreadability of the book for contemporary reader ? Or due to the fear to go against the established opinion supported by authorities (which can be called "the new dress of the king" complex) ? Probably all this contributed to the inertia of the image.

The example of "Illiad" shows that if a false image is launched into a high orbit, it stays there forever. The most difficult part is to launch it. It requires a tremendous effort from many people and sometimes from the entire nation. But after it is successfully launched, to bring it down also requires a tremendous effort from many people, which are hard to find and organize for such a dubious goal. That is why the image and "reputation" stays flying high in the skies.

This answers the question about how long has TRIZ left to live ? As it appears now, it is on the way into orbit. The multitudes of TRIZniks propel it. The annual Altshuller readings have already began. The TRIZ mass psychosis is on the rise. And the TRIZ literature becomes less readable and understandable day by day.