The Art of Our Own Mythology

April 25, 2015
Steve McAllister

The hero is the mythological part of us that makes the distinction between the commute and the journey. The latter being fueled by the music of our own story, that which calls us from our very nature, pulls us forward, and summons us to become what we should be.

The mythology of today, that celebration of the hero which lies within each of us, is given to us by the artists, dispensing a societal value which may not be financially tangible but not without incontrovertible economical impact.

As the technologies now afforded to us have given us greater ability to share our stories, we are coming into a greater recognition of the value that Joseph Campbell has pointed out in mythology. In his book Sacred Economics, Charles Eisenstein regards our stories as the next great currency, for by sharing our stories, whether they be based on tradition or personal experience, we revel in the underlying monomyth of the hero’s journey, and for at least a moment, we align ourselves with our highest potential.

18623_836800089728556_6050318712627822734_nOne of the greatest values of creativity in culture is in helping us find our shared resonance. Whether we tell our stories through song, word, color, movement, or whatever other assortment of matter we are inspired to use as a medium, our creativity serves as a signpost of our own consciousness, calling to the other hearts and minds that share in this unbroken path of the hero’s journey. Our art can be used as an empathetic expression of the suffering we endure or a celebration of the monumental moments that we achieve, and depending upon where we stand in our journey toward self actualization, these outlets of expression can serve as either vessels of cultural cohesion and connection or catalysts for further disconnection and separation.

With each story that we tell through our art, we establish a new chapter of our mythology, and in the culture of competition that we have forged, that mythology brings with it the eternal battle of good versus evil, us versus them, man versus nature, and I versus Everything Else. While the essence of our myths guide us toward a greater understanding of the spiritual forces at work in the development of who we are, and points toward the virtues of light over darkness, our attachments to these same mythologies often result in the unhealthy habit of individualization, separating ourselves from All That Is. As all things do have a dark side, it is the unhealthy understanding of our mythologies, be it embracing them too firmly or not regarding them enough to understand their transformative power, that assists in generating the anxiety, disconnection, and malaise that bring such adversity to our culture.

In our particular culture, instead of truly playing out our role in our shared mythology, we have become prone to desensitizing ourselves to what we are truly capable through the Church of Pharmacology. Yet, as more of us are establishing a more healthful relationship with our mythologies and understanding our creative capacities, we are beginning to realize the true power at our disposal by recognizing ourselves as artists, and artists as the mythologists of the world. As our technological interconnection empowers us to communicate, organize, distribute, and socialize like no other time in recorded human history, our every expression serves to add another color to the tapestry of our collective story, and those who seek excellence in their expression will be the most pivotal in guiding humanity toward a more experiential mythology.

Before the Renaissance, the entanglement of mythology and respective local culture created a framework of support through its Mystical, Cosmological, Social, and Pedagogical Functions. Especially on the Pedagogical level, as a general pattern of all religion, it is about carrying the individual through all the stages of his/her life, hence their journey.

But today, as again Campbell has pointed out, mythology is the gateway to that world, the world of creativity, that essential requirement of a healthy, strong and balanced life. Today, it is found in art, that which is produced and consumed. And that artistry, like a good and multi-layered wine, deserves great evaluation, at the end of which the individual will tap into a bottom well of mythological energy.

Art has always served a pivotal role in the development of culture, and has become even more embraced as an investment. Whether for financial gain upon appreciation, the recognition of cultural understanding, or the vision for a path of advancement not yet measured by science, our creativity expands the wealth of our lives. Given the choices at our disposal through which we can now consume the creativity of others or share our own expressions, the Renaissance that is upon us calls us toward a higher realization of the artists that we are, and the writers of our own mythology.

 

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