Consciousness Culture, Tech, Mind and the Future

Tag: myth

Magic, Media and Re-Enchantment

by Jeremy Johnson

Beams and Struts has recently launched a Zombie and Vampire series, exploring why supernatural stories are so popular now in modern media. From True Blood to Game of Thrones, to Grimm, to even super-hero films. What’s with the return of all this mythical and magical stuff?

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Science and the Appropriation of Myth

by Jeremy Johnson

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The first priestly classes had to appropriate the woman’s mysteries and the powers of the Goddess for themselves in order to gain power and authority over their people. We are witnessing a similar process going on with scientists like Richard Dawkins and their rejection of the old, mythical consciousness in favor of a new scientific one. Yet science is taking the explanatory power and structure of myth for itself.

There is plenty of beauty and significance in scientific narratives. They can even be awe-inspiring and breathtaking in their scope and size: the big bang, the evolution of life on Earth, the first humans migrating across the Earth. Surely there are epics written into our DNA and our fossil records that are just as striking as Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey. What is the difference?

For Dawkins, reality has enough poetry in it to fulfill our lives and give us significance. But what he does not realize is that the very scientific narratives he is espousing are, in their structure, mythical (not to mention, how his worldview defines what ‘real‘ is – The religious societies he is denouncing had a very different ontology of reality than we do. They weren’t merely trying to explain physical facts).

Whenever we tell a story, it takes the shape of myth. Scientific narratives are unconsciously mythical in their structure, because they are telling a story. It doesn’t matter whether science is always revisiting itself, because the narratives it perceives are mythical in their structure, and will always be. This has more to say about our psyche and our unconscious, which Dawkins does not seem to know much about.

So in a twist of irony, Dawkin’s new book is affirming that myth is inescapable. In his very attempt to replace it, he affirms that we need it in order to tell any story, whether it’s what we call “reality” or not.

We are not just dealing with an observable event in history which can be understood as a “fact,” but with large stretches of time in which facts are arranged according to a play of imagination. Whenever we call on the imagination to organize our reality, we call upon myth.

Whether or not these scientific initiatives can succeed in making us demonize the old guise in favor of the new is yet to be seen.

Evolutionary Landscapes Logo

by Jeremy Johnson

Evolutionary_landscapes_copy

David B Metcalfe of The Eyeless Owl and Open Myth Source, has graciously designed the logo for EL. Cultural historian, raw artist and media theorist, David continues to create fascinating work that weaves mysticism, alchemy and the mythopoeic together. I highly recommend his work as a continuing source of inspiration and insight!

The design itself is something I was scribbling with on a coffee-stained piece of paper. The image popped up in my mind already formed, and looking at it now, it certainly is an interesting blend of mythopoeic symbols. My hope is that it stirs the soul and sets the tone for our readers (and participants)!

Coming up soon: we will be doing a blog series about evolving contemplative practice in the technological age. Stay tuned!

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