1. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Is there room in the world for new mythos?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Wreybies, Jun 18, 2013.

    I've been intrigued by the idea of mythologizing as of late. As a literary tool and in real life. Yesterday, as I pretended to write, I was watching Little Ashes, a film very loosely based on the younger years and relationship of Salvador Dalí and Federico García Lorca. This was followed by a re-watching of Cloud Atlas, where the concept of mythologizing is central.

    At least amongst latinos, Dalí and Lorca are the stuff of myth. Their lives are knowingly portrayed over and again in ever larger terms, brighter colors, more beautiful actors, exquisitely perfect dialogue. Their portrayal has been expanded and also reduced to an essence of what they were and also of what they never were. They are myths. The Beat writers of the U.S. are the same, for me. Those who love them read their work, or witness their portrayal, and travel back through decades most never lived and wallow in what the Portuguese call saudade. We pick our most beautiful actors to play them (James Franko playing Ginsberg in Howl) when they themselves were not necessarily physically beautiful. I look at pictures of Peter Orlovsky and his doomed brother, Lafcadio, shirtless, in the apartment that Peter and Allen shared in San Francisco, and I feel l am looking at beings who are not quite human. They are something more.

    Is there room still in this pragmatic, ever more contrived and plastic world for new myths to arise, or are these the last of their kind?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't see it happening any more in the area of the arts, among non-latins in first world countries, because latins' inherent 'passion' for the arts isn't endemic there... however, it does tend to happen will continue to do so in regard to superstars in the sports realm, don't you think?
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Very probably. :) Are they not modern day gladiators, and are not gladiators also the very stuff of myth?

    It would be crass of me to say they don't count because sports has zero impact on my life. It does have an impact to countless millions, so, yes.
     
  4. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    Mythologizing happens all the time. The question is to what extent it calls attention to itself AS mythologizing. Simply pretending that it doesn't happen or, worse, rejecting it (we can reject various myths, but I'm talking about rejecting -mythologizing- here), is very toxic to society.
     
  5. Mithrandir
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    Mithrandir Contributing Member

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    I think myths in the ancient sense, as in stuff from the Hesiod and Metamorphoses, are very difficult to create in the modern world. It'll almost certainly never be done artificially.

    It's hard to recognize myths in a society that believes in them. In ancient Greece, Hercles and Achilles were figures of history -- at least initially. So, in the future, it may be that many of the narratives and beliefs we accept now could be considered myths in the traditional sense.
     
  6. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    I think sports is the best candidate. Pierre de Coubertin who was responsible for bringing back the Olympics in the 1800s actually considered it almost like a pseudo-religion. Worshiping athletes is a safe version of a personality cult, which I truly hope is a dying form of mythology. The world is in a sense getting more boring, plastic like you said. But maybe we need some sort of irrational worship of something. Often personality cults arise in societies that attempted to get rid of the old mythologies. In Soviet Union some Party members even proposed creating a secular form of religion out of communism.
     
  7. Faust
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    Faust Contributing Member Supporter

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    Hasn't this already happened with some characters of modern entertainment? Fans perceive many of them as being larger than life. If the ancient heroes were used as allegory and some of them didn't even exist in the physical sense is it not entirely possible that today's Percy Jackson or <insert generic vampire/werewolf themed teenage hearthrob> character could be developed as a mythos?

    Interestingly enough, the Cthulu Mythos was quite recently developed and continues to develop as fans and writers create more and more material written in the same Lovecraftian style that it was originally presented with. Other examples of 'potential mythos' could be characters from horror such as Slenderman and The Moth Man.
     
  8. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    Roosevelt, Tesla, Rasputin, etc. have all been mythologized.
     
  9. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    Some have gone so far as believing Ctulhu Mythos is not fictional. Although Lovecraft was an atheist, some think his work is based on real beings or at least real occult beliefs. There has been a lot of fake Necronomicons for sale because there is a market for; some people really think it's a real book. I wonder if in the future people will think our generations really believed those things about Chuck Norris?
     
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  10. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    That is hilarious and yet intriguing at the same time. With as much meme action as he has received concerning his unassailable awesomeness its hard to say that this would be impossible. :D

    The Cthulhu mythos is a different brand of intriguing. Different in that it has been sold so well as a real myth with actual history that yes, there are many who believe in the tale. This would seem to be closer to a cult of personality in that there was a conscious effort to sell the myth as a genuine myth.
     
  11. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I think there is still room for it and it still goes on to some extent. It's a lot like playing that game where you have a row of people sit together side by side and you whisper a phrase then pass it on and it gets garbled up and becomes something different by the time it reaches the end person. I do like the Chuck Norris comment and the idea that he may become a legend where people actually believe he is capable of all these things makes me laugh. I think a lot of the time we're just not around to see our iconic people and stories turn into myths because it takes so long for them to reach that point. I also think that stories become myths because the people who knew the truth are long gone.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There's room. Currently, the population at large tends to be rabidly self-absorbed, too much so to notice the quiet heroes every day. But that will change. It opens up a little every time there is a disaster.

    Legends thrive in adversity.
     
  13. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    Myths will be with us for a long, long time. They just will take quite different forms in future.
     
  14. nhope
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    nhope Contributing Member Reviewer

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    So true! And not fed well intellectually, I may add. Myths must live on but will likely be more subtle, barely recognizable as myth, until someone has the nuts to tell it like it is in a way you can't help but pay attention.

    I feel it's the best way to get people to pay attention to the truth of things.




    slam:
    At least for those who are interested in thinking. There are those that will be more concerned with the KK's of the world and speak of their lives as if they regularly shopped together. (btw, I didn't realize she was the first female to bear a child.)
     
  15. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    KK - famous only for being famous. I still don't understand how that happened. Then again, I never understood why anyone would sit and watch, night after night, so-called "reality" television. BTW, if you want something that's a hoot and rather cringe-inducing at the same time, go back and read Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 - particularly his depiction of both massive, wall-mounted televisions and "reality" shows. Written over 60 years ago.
     
  16. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    This gets to one of my big fears (big fears? yes, I've got more than one of them - I cultivate them in my closet with Miracle Grow and sunlamps) - circular referencing and, worse, the fact that people (if they can even be bothered to use references) don't care to take the time to see if they are using circular references. We change our reality every time someone posts on Wikipedia (and that's not always a good thing, because it's not always accurate).
     
  17. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I can see this. If mythologizing can create angels and gods of men, then it most certainly can create demons and devils of them as well. Political propaganda is without a doubt a form of mythologizing. As a child in the 1970's, I was very much under the spell of anti-communistic propaganda, especially as I was a military brat. There is a place in my historical mind where a soviet was a little demon thing with a red and black carapace, living in some far away tundra under the ice and snow. Seriously, that's what I thought as a kid. No metaphors. It wasn't until I myself was in the service, working as a Russian/English interpreter, intercepting soviet communications in the East Block, which was in those very moments in the middle of secession from the USSR, that the remaining emotional image of my childhood myth was corrected. These 18 and 19 year old soviet boys could often be heard during the mid shift, chatting with one another, as any 18 and 19 year old boys might. They were talking about what was going to happen to them. They were prey to rumors that they were to be left behind, that there was no money to bring them back home, that they would be left to the their own devices in the middle of countries where they were now the unwanted one-time usurpers. Twice I heard young soviet soldiers sobbing on the air. It was heartbreaking to hear them voice these fears, and also a revaluation to my very young self that people and cultures have an autonomous reality that is other than any interpretation, other than any mythos.
     
  18. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    This gets interesting because the opposite is ALSO true. Many people even in Germany could not believe just how bad the Nazis had been even after the evidence came out. There's a very real place where "they're just misunderstood" becomes inexcusable and the Nazis are just an extreme example of it being inexcusable, not the point where it becomes inexcusable. In other words, the "our culture is in no way better than any other" line is, itself, a form of mythologizing. No culture is flawless, but to the extent we value whatever it is that we value, certain cultures are better in some ways than others.
     
  19. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    This...

    ...is non sequitur to the rest. Argument A does not logically give rise to argument B.

    Regardless, at this point you are arguing the other, more common, meaning of myth as simple fallacy. This, in itself, is no longer sequitur to the original intent and meaning or wording of the question which I asked in the original post.
     
  20. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    No, it's not simply a fallacy. It is a metanarrative which exists among a group of people. 'They are just misunderstood' (or, mutatis mutandis, 'no culture is better than any other') is a narrative which explains why a group of people interpret a report about a group of people the way that they interpret it. That makes it a myth. And the creation, maintainance, and evangelizing of this myth is mythologizing.
     
  21. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, you are arguing fallacy/not fallacy. This train of conversation is utterly unrelated to the larger-than-lifeness of Lincoln or Dalí, or the way that propaganda made me belive that soviets were literally giant bugs under the ice. Where you are going has nothing to do with what I am talking about. Nothing. I would ask that you please not plant the seeds of devolution in this conversation such that it turns into a political argument destined to be closed because of inflammatory, and again, non-sequitur, examples.
     
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  22. Justin Rocket 2
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    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

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    Again, what I'm talking about has -everything- to do with mythologizing as it is an example of mythologizing. Yes, it is fallacy, but the fallacy of it is independent of it also being mythologizing (that's why I said that it's not -simply- a fallacy).
     

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