Are we living in mythic times?
Myth sits in the paradox of being both/and. It is true and untrue. It is metaphor – meta – carrying, phor – across – making meaning by moving from the literal to the abstract, the concrete to the intuited. The ancient Greeks, and then Romans, said that myths were the things that were most and least true simultaneously. As Sallustius (a 4th-century writer, a friend of the Roman Emperor Julian. He wrote the treatise On the Gods and the Cosmos, a kind of catechism of 4th-century Hellenic paganism.) wrote “Now these things never happened, but always are.” Truth sits in the flashes of insight that can be deeper than what we see in the tangible world in front of us.
Far from just being a lie, myths pulse in the background of all of our lives — our selves, our families, our communities — we tell ourselves stories about all of them.
This is where Myth America begins. Together we’ll explore the stories that we tell that in turn, tell us. We are as made by the stories we choose to tell as we are the makers of them. As individuals and communities.
With all of that in mind, I’ll like to throw out an idea that’s been poking at me.
We are living in mythic times.
So many of the things – the systems, the safeguards, the normal – that we have lived within and have seemed unquestioningly stable, are breaking. Or they’re broken. Or now seem so fragile that it’s hard to imagine their surviving.
Suddenly, the world doesn’t seem quite so immediate or literal or mundane. Instead, it feels as though we are caught in a story of mythic scale, with our lives and the very planet at risk. It’s hard to fathom. It feels so huge, and so beyond what any one person can do, terrifying and overwhelming.
To me, this feels mythic. Does it to you? Join me to explore this idea together. And please share your thoughts in the comments!
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