Sunday, March 06, 2005

mythology of our age

John Michael Greer posted a thoughtful essay on oilcrisis a few months back, which I just saw today on Energy Bulletin.

It discusses the patterns that people use when describing the future, in other words, our myths.

The first is called the progressivist myth. According to this story, all of human history is a drama of progress. From primitive ignorance and savagery, according to the progressivist myth, people climbed step by step up the ladder of civilization...

The second is called the separativist myth. According to this story, all of human history is a tragic blind alley. Once people lived in harmony with their world, each other, and themselves, but that time ended and things have gone downhill ever since. (...) Sometime soon the whole rickety structure will come crashing down, overwhelmed by sudden crisis, and countless people will die...

This is a valuable way of approaching our current era. It helps explain The Good News Industry, a rogues gallery of optimists who have never lived a day without seeing something branded as new and improved. It is only natural that we would construct a mythology to reinforce our observations, and then live as if our myths were true.


At 7:31 PM, March 06, 2005, Blogger Phila said...

Sounds great...I'll have to check into it. I actually go back and forth about which myth is more irritating and dangerous...most days, the myth of "progress" wins out. But of course, smug apathy's a problem, too.

You can't win! Or maybe you can. But possibly not.

At 3:32 PM, March 07, 2005, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

interesting - I would even say smug apathy can apply to people who believe in either myth.

obviously, more so for those who believe J. is going to swoop down from on high and collect up the saved.


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