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questioning in the rst place that such construct has ever existed, go directly to particular

problems like: settlement patterns of the Lausitz culture. In this way they mistake their

own constructs with historical reality. From today’s perspective, such reasoning seems to

be rather obvious, this is exactly what social constructivism claims, but in the 1980s among

historians and archaeologists, at least in Poland, it was quite revolutionary idea. Nonethe-

less, the idea of scientic myths requires some theoretical improvements (see also Geertz


Alternatively, it can be stated that if you repeat a “lie” (e.g. not verify “metaphysical”

concept), it becomes the “truth” (a part of scientic discourse, something so familiar that

is not ever questioned). And this is the crucial aspect of Rączkowski’s (2011) paper: the

dominant concept of writing about the history of archaeology is, what Topolski calls, a scien-

tic myth, a eld full of clichés and unveried presuppositions.

It is misattributed to thisJoseph Goebbels that he said: if you repeat a lie often enough,

it becomes the truth (see also Geertz 1983). The scientic process usually goes the opposite

way. For example, Topolski, and as a consequence, Rączkowski’s reasoning follows a typi-

cal path of scientic critique. Such critique tries to show in a nutshell how what appears to

be the “truth” is a “lie”, unveried and problematic idea. However, what both of them —

but also more generally, critical scientists— miss is the opposite and much more para-

doxical process, that of: if you repeat a truth often enough, it becomes the “lie” (myth).

As a good example of what I have in mind by the saying: if you repeat a truth often

enough, it becomes the lie,can be scrutinised a masterpiece of the Polish writer Witold

Gombrowicz’s (2000), Ferdydurke. In short, the book is about 30 years old writer (Józio)

who travels in time to his school times. Although he is 30, he does everything as his high

school colleagues do. The book is sophisticated but it can be said that, basically, it is a cri-

tique of Poland at the 1920s and 1930s. Gombrowicz using grotesque, pure nonsense,

criticises education in Poland, national sacred ideas (God, patriotism, honour) and Poles’

traditions, to mention only a few problems. The best known and most intriguing is how-

ever, the scene in school. It is usually read as Gombrowicz’s critique of education. There is

a class, and young students are asked to answer the question why Juliusz Slowacki was

a great poet. Gombrowicz plays here on tautology: Juliusz Slowacki was a poet because

Juliusz Slowacki was a great poet:

Well, then, why does Slowacki arouse our admiration, love and ecstasy?...Why? Because, gentle-

men, Slowacki was a great poet. Walkiewicz, tell me why! Tell me, Walkiewicz. Why the enchantment,

the love, the tears, the exaltation, the magic? Why are our hearts rent? Tell me, Walkiewicz!...

“Because he was a great poet, sir,” said Walkiewicz (quote after Płonowska Ziarek 1998, 1).

The crucial and paradoxical point of Gombrowicz’s critique of Słowacki is that he told

what is actually true. Słowacki was reallya great poet and his poems are masterpieces

which still cause the enchantment, the love, the tears, the exaltation, the magic. But by