How Do We Wear Glasses of the Mythos and Not the Logos?
Why are myths the most fundamental patterns of society?
How do we think mythically and sense archetypally?
Why does the collective psyche respond to the images in myths?
How do myths move us from the conceptual to the experiential?
And just what is the transformative power of myth?
Kristina Dryza explored the myths influencing the technology, business and culture Zeitgeist and how our lives are on the back of a bigger story when the personal meets the mythical.
Here’s a snapshot of her talk in a Q&A with Rising Minds’ Sophie:
Which mythical creature did you believe in as a child? When did you stop believing in them?
The phoenix that rises from the ashes. Though as a child I just saw the image but somehow already sensed the mystical bird's powers. It was only in my 30’s that I could truly perceive the depth of meaning behind its symbolism–resurrection, transformation, new life. And now my belief in the phoenix is stronger than ever. I feel that it’s really only in mythology that our suffering and destiny is mirrored back to us in an honest way.Oh, and I loved mermaids as a child too! And I still believe in them!
What is the most beautiful myth you've ever heard? Did it have a moral lesson?
The Greek myth that has captivated me for the past few years is the Demeter, Persephone and Hades myth. Personally I love hearing myths told in the oral tradition so I’d recommend readers Google an audio version, though of course a personal telling of this story is always more intimate!This myth can be read many different ways.To me it speaks of how, like in nature and our own lives, it can’t always be Spring.But we don’t know how to make space in our psyches and in society for the destroyer archetype. Destruction is the right hand of creation. We can’t have constant creation. There are few spaces in the industrial growth society for rest, decay and purification.These things run counter to the capitalist agenda and a growth economy.There's rarely time for reflection, a harvesting of what’s been learned, the stillness that a fallow field requires as new growth seeds and buds and as the myth articulates, thenecessary abduction from engagement with life lived on the surface.We need to know what calls us to our depths.So as Persephone we’re positioned in Hades (both a god and a place) to have fidelity in ourselves and to trust the cycles of nature and that whatcomes to life is seeded by what is unseen.
What is the purpose of myth in society? Do they serve an irreplaceable function?
For psychoanalyst Carl Jung, the primary function of myth is psychological: to shed light on the workings of the unconscious.Mythologist Joseph Campbell said myths represents the human search for what is true, significant and meaningful. Hedescribed mythology as having four functions: metaphysical, cosmological, sociological and pedagogical.Their function is irreplaceable as myths are descriptive of our unconscious processes and link inner and outer worlds via personification.Myths talk to our psyche (theGreek term for soul)in its own language.Myth is psyche in its own disguise–a way psyche can be seen.
In the modern world, do we need myths to guide our actions? Do we need new myths?
We’re obsessed in the west by the science of the mind but that mind: logical, rational, linear (although it has a necessary role), can’t readily enter this mythic, archetypal dimension.With myths we begin to connect to something larger than ourselves.We’re nursed by these archetypal images – they provide a psychological cradle for the lived experience.Quite simply, with no underlying story, we’re more anxious: it’s you as an isolated individual struggling on a long, arduous journey, not you as Odysseus in Homer’s Odyssey.The underlying myth provides the cradle to see life as divine drama.And our lives are on the back of a bigger story when the personal meets the mythical.We don’t go to myths for THE answer singular, but for wisdom–deeper universal, impersonal and symbolic insights–that we can’t easily access when we’re trapped in our own limited, personal narrative.Myths become an incredibly valuable touchstone.Stories have always been a part of what makes us human and new narratives are crucial in times of great transformations.We are in-between stories and we’re evolving beyond the singular, masculine, hero’s journey (an individual narrative) tonon-linear, collaborative journeys (the greater narrative for a global humanity).Butfirst we need to learn how towear glasses of the mythos and not the logos so we can grasp the metaphorical and not get forced into literalism.We can only appreciate mythic stories if we understand metaphor, which is unfortunatelybeing eroded from the educational system.There’s a saying that a metaphor is a myth in brief. When the mythicimprints us so deeply we can see that the world truly is full of metaphors.
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