Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The longing for myth and its revival

Our time is hungry for heroes, quests and most of all... purpose.

Start with the tropes. Disney properties, whi ch include everything from “Thor” to “Toy Story”, draw on well-worn devices of mythic structure to give their stories cultural resonance. Walt Disney himself had an intuitive grasp of the power of fables. George Lucas, the creator of Star Wars, is an avid student of the work of Joseph Campbell, an American comparative mythologist who outlined the “monomyth” structure in which a hero answers a call, is assisted by a mentor figure, voyages to another world, survives various trials and emerges triumphant. Both film-makers merrily plundered ancient mythology and folklore. The Marvel universe goes even further, directly appropriating chunks of Greco-Roman and Norse mythology. (This makes Disney’s enthusiasm for fierce enforcement of intellectual-property laws, and the seemingly perpetual extension of copyright, somewhat ironic.)

...Ultimately, however, these modern myths are so compelling because they tap primordial human urges—for refuge, redemption and harmony. In this respect they are like social-media platforms, which use technology to industrialise social interaction. Similarly, modern myth-making, reliant though it is on new tools and techniques, is really just pushing the same old buttons in stone-age brains. That is something that Walt Disney understood instinctively—and that the company he founded is now exploiting so proficiently. - The Economist

The recent explosion of "superhero" movies also gives rise to this observation. People are desperate for stories of good beating evil, which requires we know what is good, despite that being mostly concealed by the left-wing media and government apparat which seeks to hide such things.

Let us face ourselves. We are Hyperboreans; we know very well how far off we live. 'Neither by land nor by sea will you find the way to the Hyperboreans'—Pindar already knew this about us. Beyond the north, ice, and death—our life, our happiness. We have discovered happiness, we know the way, we have found the exit out of the labyrinth of thousands of years. Who else has found it? Modern man perhaps? 'I have got lost; I am everything that has got lost,' sighs modern man. This modernity was our sickness: lazy peace, cowardly compromise, the whole virtuous uncleanliness of the modern Yes and No. … Rather live in the ice than among modern virtues and other south winds! We were intrepid enough, we spared neither ourselves nor others; but for a long time we did not know where to turn with our intrepidity. We became gloomy, we were called fatalists. Our fatum—abundance, tension, the damming of strength. We thirsted for lightning and deeds and were most remote from the happiness of the weakling, 'resignation.' In our atmosphere was a thunderstorm; the nature we are became dark—for we saw no way. Formula for our happiness: a Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal. -- Fred Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ

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