The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.


Whenever men have looked for something solid on which to found their lives, they have chosen not the facts in which the world abounds, but the myths of an immemorial imagination.
Joseph Campbell

Joseph Campbell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Myths are the creative products of the human psyche.  They are the manifestations of humankind’s universal need to explain psychological, social, cosmological, and spiritual realities. Artists are a culture’s Myth makers.


6 thoughts on “Mysticism/Spirituality/Folklore

  1. What are your observations concerning how the US government uses myth?

    • That’s a question that has no easy answer as the US government consists of people with different viewpoints and ideals. My opinion is the most prevailing and corrosive myth is the “self-made man,” which places the lack of social mobility squarely on the shoulders of the individual instead of the policies legislated by the government. The subtext to this “myth” is all are given an equal opportunity to succeed in this society. If you are poor, the failure rests squarly on your shoulders because you are lazy and not willing to work hard.

      It’s interesting you asked this question as I was just reading a post on Andrew Sullivan’s blog, The Dish, which relates to this. The New York Times published a map today on regions and income mobility in the US. It turns out the least social mobility is in the South, a stronghold of the Republican party whose antipathy toward the poor is the greatest. The highest upward mobility is centered in the largly Democratic cities – San Francisco, New York and Seattle, where the predominant view is there should be a strong social safety net. Here’s a link to the post: What are your views?

      • The geographic area in the NY Times map roughly corresponds to the Bible belt. What is interesting to me is the perseverance of the American dream myth. There have been different variations of it in the South but seems to live on though the facts prove otherwise. I wonder if the reason for this is that to recognize failure of the American dream is more painful to accept than the pleasure/security/familiarity of holding on to the dream. Wasn’t there a scene in the movie Merlin where the sorceress imprisoned him, he agreed, just so he could live timelessly in a dream with the familiarity of his lover?
        The Republicans and Democrats are guilty of maintaining the myth.

        • You’re right about both parties. My biases are showing. Having said that though, with the exception of Florida and Texas, the map fits perfectly into the old Confederacy, which was built on slave labor, indentured servitude and share-cropping. So when you think about it, there has always been a huge disparity in the South between the workers and land owners. As far as party affiliation, these Dixicrates jumped ship after Civil Rights legislation was passed and joined the Republican party. They have been some of the most vocal advocates for dismantling worker protections and the social safety net, while promoting an agenda that suits their interests. Hence, calls for eliminating the minimum wage, Medicare, unemployment insurance, privatizing social security – the list goes on.

  2. The new chord the confederacy has chosen to use to advance its cause though has changed (?) There seem to be their different and strange alliances between fundamentalist and religious causes. But the growing discontent they have had with the Yanks appears to be not so obvious in one area they can agree on. That is, the advancement of faith-based initiatives-all presidential administrations have wrapped themselves in the federal funding of faith based initiatives, even Barack Obama. I guess eliminating separation of church & state is something they are willing to toss away vis-à-vis the White House Office of Faith Based Initiatives.

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