Intro: The New Myths.
Let us create, explore, discuss, debate -- and define -- the new myths.
Our world is changing at an accelerating rate. New ideas, concepts, stories -- myths -- are appearing to help us move into the young 21st century.
Myth not in the sense of falsehood, but meaning Models and Metaphors.
I’m mainly focusing on the fictional ideas, memes, and images that create the new narrative of 21st century world mythology. Much of this is inherently a part of popular culture, but can go much deeper as well.
For simplicities sake, I'm using samples from film, television, comic books, and video games.
Literary and other sources are to be explored, too.
I’m very open to suggestions, additions, and criticisms- that's my whole purpose here!
THREE TYPES OF NEW MYTHS:
1. Old Myths in New Clothing:
“Star Wars” is essentially a Western in space. But the Force introduced a Taoist concept. The classic Hero’s Journey as elucidated by Joseph Campbell.
“Avatar” deals with the Noble Savage and White Messiah myth. But the experience of inhabiting an alien body, and identifying with and becoming The Other, is unique. Important themes are the ecological relationship of the indigenous people to their world.
“Harry Potter,” presents traditional magic in a modern world; also the Hero’s Journey.
“True Blood,” “Twilight,” “The Vampire Diaries,” and “The Walking Dead,” bring back Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies for a new generation. New twists and turns.
2. Esoteric Myths:
“The Matrix” strongly presents a Gnostic myth.
As does “The Thirteenth Floor,” “The Truman Show,” and “Pleasantville,” in various imaginative and humorous ways.
Narratives that present an accurate portrayal of Hermeticism, magic/magick, occultism, and esoteric religion, Satanism, etc., would be included here. Robert Anton Wilson has some novels that fit into this category, "Masks of the Illuminati," "The Widows Son." There are some documentaries, the "Disinfo" DVD.
3. Completely New Myths:
“Star Trek” uniquely shows our future with a united humanity – where nationalism, war, and racism have been overcome. Star Trek TOS had roots in the Western genre; Gene Roddenberry labeled it “A Wagon Train to the Stars.”
“Star Trek: The Next Generation” continued this concept further, presenting the crew as psychologically actualized, beyond hate and inner conflicts. Even the Klingons (Russians) are friends.
“The Sandman” comic book/graphic novel series by Neil Gaiman. Dream is personified as a sulking Byronic type, and his older sister Death as a cute, spunky young Goth gal -- a masterly re-envisioning of the traditional Grim Reaper archetype.
“The X-Men.” Mutant outcasts, with special powers, hated by much of society.
Obviously many other comic book superheroes fit in this category.
"Promethea.” The comic/graphic novel character recently created by Alan Moore.
Our imagination personified as a modern day Goddess, with a postmodern, self-referential esthetic.
“Watchmen” and “V for Vendetta,” Moore’s better known works, have created new myths. Note the recent popularity of Guy Fawkes masks.
Video Games: “The Sims” and “Second Life” are sociological.
They can be simply materialistic, or have a psychological element.
“World of Warcraft” has a traditional mythic world of elves, wizards, and magic – but that it exists as a MMORPG creates a new mythic experience.
In fact, the whole popular game format of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing games is a kind of new myth, allowing old tropes to be experienced in an interactive context.
Video games allow people to play a character of a different gender or race or culture or religion – or species. Importantly, many of one’s typical assumptions may be called into question.
“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare” has scenarios where the player kills civilians, which is a rather uncomfortable situation few of us experience in our daily lives. Does this foster empathy? Of course, in many games the player can die, with varying degrees of verisimilitude.
Video games are a new art form -- the variety of stories embody many new myths.
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Please add your suggestions for New Myths -- and why.
I greatly look forward to feedback and discussion! ^_^