Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response. Expelled from individual consciousness by the rush of change, history finds its revenge by stamping the collective unconscious with habits, values, expectations, dreams. The dialectic between past and future will continue to form our lives.
Each religion, by the help of more or less myth which it takes more or less seriously, proposes some method of fortifying the human soul and enabling it to make its peace with its destiny.
A myth is, of course, not a fairy story. It is the presentation of facts belonging to one category in the idioms appropriate to another. To explode a myth is accordingly not to deny the facts but to re-allocate them.
The Problem - Myth might be defined simply as "other people's religion," to which an equivalent definition of religion would be "misunderstood mythology"... Like dreams, myths are productions of the human imagination. Their images, consequently, though derived from the material world and its supposed history, are, like dreams, revelations of the deepest hopes, desires and fears, potentialities and conflicts of the human will... Its narratives and images are to be read, therefore, not literally, but as metaphors.
The images of myth are reflections of the spiritual potentialities of every one of us. Through contemplating these, we evoke their powers in our lives.
The goal of the myth is to… [affect] a reconciliation of the individual consciousness with the universal will.
Happiness is a myth we seek, if manifested surely irks; like river speeding to the plain, on its arrival slows and murks. For man is happy only in his aspiration to the heights; when he attains his goal, he cools and longs for other distant flights.
There is a reality behind the world as it appears to us, possibly a man-layered reality, of which the appearances are the outermost layers. What the great scientist does is boldly to guess, daringly to conjecture, what these inner realities are like. This is akin to myth making... The boldness can be gauged by the distance between the world of appearance and the conjectured reality, the explanatory hypotheses.
Knowledge is not a series of self-consistent theories that converges toward an ideal view; it is rather an ever increasing ocean of mutually incompatible (and perhaps even incommensurable) alternatives, each single theory, each fairy tale, each myth that is part of the collection forcing the others into greater articulation and all of them contributing, via this process of competition to the development of our consciousness.
I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge; that myth is more potent than history. I believe that dreams are more powerful than facts; that hope always triumphs over experience; that laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe love is stronger than death.
It reflects a prevailing myth that production technology is no more amenable to human judgment or social interests than the laws of thermodynamics, atomic structure or biological inheritance.
Truth myth concerns itself centrally with the onward adventure of the integral soul.
The environmental crisis can only be forestalled when there is a broad new cultural understanding of what it means to be human. Sources of this new understanding would be myth – New Story - a spiritually based on an understanding of nature as the primary revelation of the divine.
Religion often partakes of the myth of progress that shields us from the terrors of an uncertain future.
Propaganda tries to surround man by all possible routes in the realm of feelings as well as ideas, by playing on his will or on his needs, through his conscious and his unconscious, assailing him in both his private and his public life. It furnishes him with a complete system for explaining the world, and provides immediate incentives to action. We are here in the presence of an organized myth that tries to take hold of the entire person. Through the myth it creates, propaganda imposes a complete range of intuitive knowledge, susceptible of only one interpretation, unique and one-sided, and precluding any divergence. This myth becomes so powerful that it invades every arena of consciousness, leaving no faculty or motivation intact. It stimulates in the individual a feeling of exclusiveness, and produces a biased attitude.
The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.
Wherever the poetry of myth is interpreted as biography, history, or science, it is killed.
A myth doesn't have to be real to be true.
Life knows us not and we do not know life—-we don’t know even our own thoughts. Half the words we use have no meaning whatever and of the other half each man understands each word after the fashion of his own folly and conceit. Faith is a myth and beliefs shift like mists on the shore; thoughts vanish; words, once pronounced, die; and the memory of yesterday is as shadowy as the hope of tomorrow.
We imagine that if we had time we would quiet our more shallow selves and listen to a deeper flow of inspiration. Again, this is a myth that lets us off the hook - if I wait for enough time to listen, I don't have to listen now, I don't have to take responsibility for being available to what is trying to bubble up today.