Chapter Five - Twenty First Century Mythology

Chapter Five-Twenty First Century Mythology 04-03-16

The purpose of this Chapter is to identify universal truths that have been valid in the past, are valid today, and will be valid so long as life exists. The forefathers of all nations have identified universal truths that can guide us in building an ascending civilization.

Humankind has an innate understanding that this universe and life on planet earth is cloaked in mystery. Early tribes chose features of nature as Icons in their attempt to define this mystery. Today, religious institutions create icons, such as doctrine, rituals, and temples, to represent the mystery. Beyond the icons we recognize that the universe is composed of energy, in motion, transitioning from one form of matter to another. We humans on planet earth are fleeting forms of that energy.

Today, there are three major factors that drive civilization. First, is the quest to understand the macro and micro laws that advance science and technology, second, is the quest for power, wealth, and self-gratification, and third a form of government that moderates the dark side of human nature while providing a secure environment in which to live.

As civilizations evolve so must societies. Today, technology accelerates at a rate beyond societies, cultures, and religions ability to adapt and remain healthy.

The dark side of human nature dominates human behavior and defeats meeting human and divine expectations. The quest for freedom, prosperity, and peace continues in vain. All our worldly deities, rituals, prayers, cathedrals and pretensions of faith are buffeted aside. Any hope of establishing and following a constitutional republic form of government with checks and balances is being defeated. The first rule of nature is to shelter and protect the young until they are prepared to face the chellenges they will face. Today, children take second place to the demands of technology, governments, and self-gratification. Egotism, power, and wealth is a powerful magnet that distracts many powerful world leaders, politians, and reputed spiritual leaders from the care and protection needed by those that live simply and powerfully in harmony with the environment and day to day life. Many, but to few, great world leaders strive in vain for the common welfare. The dark side of human nature prevails over all human efforts to lead lives that meet human and devine expectations. Given the planet and all human innate senses and natural resources the will  to live in freedom, prosperity, and peace has yet to surface.

In Politics Aristotle describes humans as follows: “For man, when perfected, is the best of animals, but, when separated from law and justice, he is the worst of all; since armed injustice is the more dangerous, and he is equipped at birth with arms, meant to be used by intelligence and virtue, which he may use for the worst ends. Wherefore, if he have no virtue, he is the most unholy and the most savage of animals, and the most full of lust and gluttony.”

Humans are animals whose behavior was once reasonably predictable. Evolution changed all that and created a new animal specie we now know as Homo sapient. Humans are still struggling to understand their origin and their reason for being.

A mystical universe gave birth to a living planet that in turn evolved humans gifted with reasoning and imagination that knows no boundaries. Being blessed with these gifts, humans struggle to escape the dark side of human nature. We continue to endure governments. societies, cultures, and religious beliefs that divide, punish, and slam the door on all hope for a rising civilization. This condition accelerates the dark side of human nature and the growth of terrorism, pornography, pedophilia, drug, child neglect and declining social values. No other species on earth is so depraved. Humanities capacity for depravity exceeds that of all other animal species. Humans acting like aspiring gods, trapped in animal bodies, follow a path of violence leading to the disintegration of civilization. As civilization sinks into this morass the shrill screech of societies claim to secular and christian principles increases in proportion to their depth of despair.

World citizens hold differing views of how humans came to be. Many believe humans, like all life, evolved thru a process called evolution. Each tribe believed that their chosen deity created humans. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, traces humans back to the great ape family. Creationists believe god created the universe, earth, and all living things. There are others that believe the creation of the universe is beyond all categories of human thought. All views raise questions that have yet to be answered. The National Center for Science Education classifies humans as a species of animal known as Homo sapient. How we relate and behave defines what we are and what we stand for. World citizens, independent by nature, can look at local and global societies and make that determination. By observing human behavior we come to know that we are far more bestial and intelligent then all other animals. The debate between evolutionist and creationist will never cease. Given that understanding, reason tells us that only unified world citizens can hope to meet the human and environmental challenges facing us in this twenty first century. A discussion of these subjects may clarify and present an opportunity for citizens to examine differing views while working together for the common good. The rest of this chapter is dedicated to defining principles, policies, and concepts that society can use to rally around and confront critical challenges.

As creation evolved humans formed tribes to optimize their survival. We know that these tribes had innate awareness and respect for their environment and all life. At birth the startling cry of a newborn over time changes to an astonishing cry of Aha. This Aha moment carried down thru the ages. Tribal rituals give evidence of their reverence and respect for the environment and surrounding life. If civilization is to survive we must regain that reverence and responsibility for the environment and life. True tribal spirituality has been lost and replaced with a superficial spirituality that allows mass desecration of the environment and life. If we are to regain our humanity we must regain true spirituality and respect for life and the environment.

Since the earliest primitive tribes, unknown to each other, humans have been on a quest to devise a form of government that shields them from the dark side of human nature. The greatest advance known to date is the United States establishment of the Constitution, a constitutional republic form of government.

Thomas Paine wrote The Age of Reason” in 1794 at the age of fifty-seven. He believed the universe was proof of God and stated: “The Almighty Lecturer, by displaying the principles of science in the structure of the universe, has invited man to study and to imitation. It is as if He had said to the inhabitants of this globe we call ours: I have made an earth for man to dwell upon, and I have rendered the starry heavens visible, to teach all to be kind to each other.”

United States Citizens gladly yielded their Constitutional rights and responsibilities, independence of thought, imagination, and reason decades ago. Government leaders and special interests have no intention of giving it back. Why should they? The electorate , political parties, and government leaders are addicted to partisan politics that has and will continue to decrease United States relevance in global affairs and lessen the opportunity to promote freedom, prosperity, and world peace.

The Constitution and related principles cast aside by citizens can be made whole. Citizens of the United States have the resources and ability to enlighten themselves and take command of their lives. Citizens cowering behind their government, education, religious leaders, and special interests must stand upright and leave the blame game behind. The chance to develop an individual sense of morality, principles, and pride is worth fighting for.

Throughout civilization the concept of justice is a recurring theme. The concept of justice appears to be universal thru all cultures. Humanity struggles with the choice of balancing selfish desires with social responsibility to seek justice. This is a concept that exists only for humans and is not apparent in the animal kingdom. The rise of humanity is made possible by the evolution of the brain. As science maps the regions of the brain, we have come to realize that our action and abilities are due to how our brain is formed by genetics and experiences from birth. Those civilizations that limit the potential of their young are destined to become static and isolated in a global world.The youth of backward nations have no voice or hope for the future and turn their anger and frustration toward their nation and any nation that supports their oppressors. The United States support of oppressors, for selfish national interest, is legendary. All citizens are increasingly anxious about the future. Trust in government and religious leaders has evaporated as partisan politics and increasing corruption tears the fabric of government, the economy, and religious institutions. Critical environment, fiscal, and economic issues intensify as politicians squander the nations time, natural, and human resources with little or no chance of solving critical issues.

The dark side of human nature advances rapidly as society at all levels falls prey to self-gratification and addictions. Advertising media strives to consume every waking hour of the day. Citizens primary role is to be consumers of endless products that demand their time and interferes with the true rapture of living.  Religious institutions struggle to remain relevant in a technological world that consumes the minds of all societies. Citizens are awakening and realizing they are, at best, pawns to be manipulated to benefit powerful special interests. Citizens wake up to the realization they are basically illiterate in regard to their Constitution, citizen responsibilities, and checks and balances that, if followed, guarantee peace, prosperity, and freedom. These were gifts and responsibilities that could not match the lure of living lives free from responsibility for themselves, their families, and their government. Accountability departed along with responsibility for healthy and spiritual lives that sustain a strong unified nation dedicated to the common welfare of the nation and all nations.

A correction is required. A new path requires world citizens to unify and rely on their innate gifts of reason, imagination, and ability to develop and implement constitutional republic forms of government with checks and balances that provide for freedom, prosperity, and peace. This path calls for citizens of differing nationalities, races, religions, doctrines, and rituals to set aside past prejudices, grievances, and rivalries and unify for the common welfare.

James Madison had this to say, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” The transition from animal to Homo sapient has led to an assault on the world environment and unleashed a wave of human violence never experienced in the animal kingdom. A crescendo of Homo sapient emotion burst upon the world and brought exorbitant conflict, desecration of the environment and all other life. The animal kingdom had innate senses that allowed them to survive reasonable changes in their environment. Humankind shared these senses. As evolution continued Homo sapient developed traits foreign to the animal world. These traits instilled in humans the capacity to defile themselves in every way imaginable and to also achieve heights never dreamed of.  Flawed Homo sapient must be approached with caution and fear. The effect of technology intensifies human desire to live on the dark side of human nature. The human brain chemistry adjusts to living in a consuming high technology environment and the sunshine side of human nature is diminished.

Humans continue to lose those innate animal senses that instill survival. Those animal senses that nurture newborn life are diminishing in humans. Society fails to provide basic protections and oversight of children. There are growing indicators that society has lost an innate nurturing nature. There is something innately wrong when known pedophiles are released to the streets to prey on children There are in excess of 100,000 Level III, the most dangerous, pedophiles released to the streets today. This path is not acceptable and we must define and follow a more productive path. In order to accomplish this we must first recognize that humankind requires basic needs to sustain a productive life in harmony with the universe. If we do not want to live meaningless lives we must make time for introspection and contemplation. We must reflect on the lives we live and seek a path that gives purpose, direction, and the exhilaration of living.

It's time we studied the behavior patterns of animals, for example the elk species. Besides the absolute physical beauty of an elk we see a stable species that bears its young and nurtures and protects them thru their growing years. Elks follow their innate nature and are naturally transparent to transcendence. The presence of creation and  radiance shows thru their majesty, beauty, and their life in harmony with one another and the environment. Being transparent to transcendence is natural for animals. Not so for humans. Animals have retained their innate nature and are fulfilling the role evolution asks of them.

Historically, the families of each generation raise their children to walk in their footsteps. Families seek to raise and educate children dedicated to their specific culture, language, and religious beliefs. This is natural. There is one fact that must be considered. Children raised in one culture, language, and religious belief have to move on and face the reality of engaging with differing cultures, languages, and religious beliefs in a global world. A trip back thru time may give insight and thought concerning how we prepare our children to engage and survive in a global world.

Every civilization follows a pattern of early development, maturing, and aging. The aging stage is evident by symptoms of uncertainty, anxiety, decadence and dysfunction. Cultural confrontations drive conflict and chaos. There is no common vision for the future of civilization. Today, we witness a critical confrontation between East and the West civilizations. We have entered a virtual wasteland that pits religious doctrine against technological growth based on major advances in science. Continuing to live in confrontation is not advantageous to either.

It's fair to ask what the future would be like if you removed the concept of God from human kind. Given this possibility, how would humankind respond? One possibility is that human self-dependence would significantly increase. Another possibility is that world cultures, societies, and nations would bond around common interests and principles. A huge benefit may be that conflict and chaos would decrease as old world religious differences faded away.

Is it possible world religious institutions could agree and unite around what they may have in common and set aside disputes over past doctrine and rituals (?). Thomas Paine, an American patriot, reached the conclusion that the clergy in many countries were on the side of oppression and served the vested interest of world government leaders. Paine was a deist, not an atheist. Paine defines deism as follows: “I believe in one God, and no more; and I hope for happiness beyond this life.”

Living in harmony with nature and fellow humans is dependent on how we see our environment and ourselves. How we see ourselves is dependent on our life experiences, society, and our degree of enlightenment. These factors determine where we are on a scale of lightness to darkness. We know that human nature lives within these extremes. The challenge is to avoid the dark extreme.

Mystical Universe

The collision of science, based on facts, with religion, based on faith, drives controversy.

“I envision a universe of unimaginable magnitude and inconceivable violence. Billions, upon billions, literally, of roaring thermonuclear furnaces scattering from each other. Each thermonuclear furnace being a star and our sun among them. Many of them actually blowing themselves to pieces, littering the outermost reaches of space with dust and gas out of which new stars of circling planets are being born right now. And then from still more remote distances beyond all these there come murmurs of microwaves of the greatest cataclysmic explosion of all, namely the Big Bang of creation which according to recent reckonings occurred 14.5 billion years ago.”

Joseph Campbell-Mythologist

Humans Require Boundaries

Humans must recognize boundaries that enable them to survive and fulfill their potential:

The origin of multiple universes is unknown at this time.

Panet Earth has a fragile environment that allows or disallows life. A slight change in our planet or universe can disallow life.

The Earth’s Sun has limited energy and sometime in the far distant future the sunlight will go out and all life on planet earth will cease.

Evolution gave humans innate abilities that elevate them beyond all other animals.

Humans have three basic systems to guide them: the instinctive or conditioned, the emotional, and the capacity to use the faculty of reason to think logically.

Humans have the ability and innate desire, to create complex social, cultural, and religious structures.

At no time in history has there been more educational resources. The phenomenon of globalization provides access to humanities accumulated knowledge thru the ages. This knowledge is updated as it happens around the world. The greatest difficulty is discerning which information is reliable and who can be believed. This can be a very iffy process. It relies on experience and the test of time. In this manner you identify which journalists, writers, networks, etc. you find credible. Verification is a process that never ends. Working families seldom have time to be fully knowledgeable of complex issues. Even those studying these issues find it difficult, if not impossible. Ethical political parties realize this. Unethical parties take advantage of it.

Metaphysical Realization

There is a magnificent essay by Schopenhauer in which he asks, how is it that a human being can so participate in the peril or pain of another that without thought, spontaneously, he sacrifices his own life to the other? How can it happen that what we normally think of as the first law of nature and self-preservation is suddenly dissolved?

Schopenhauer's answer is that such a psychological crisis represents the breakthrough of a metaphysical realization, which is that you and that other are one, that you are two aspects of the one life, and that your apparent separateness is but an effect of the way we experience forms under the conditions pf space and time. Our true reality is in our identity and unity with all life. This is a metaphysical truth which may become spontaneously realized under circumstances of crisis. For it is, according to Schopenhauer, the truth of your life.

Each of us see this happening among our young fighting men as they engage in battle. In times of crisis we see our firefighters, police, and many others facing these same realizations.

Transparent to Transcendence:

Transparent to Transcendence describes a person that has confronted and reconciled the contradictory impulses of their physical, spiritual, and social demands and established their own personal boundaries of conduct, integrity and morality. From this accomplishment one is prepared to engage life and reap a peace of mind that allows living life with purpose and rapture. This is a rare person that lives independent of all that would seek to make him dependent. 

Primitive Mythology

As creation evolved, humans formed tribes to optimize their survival. We know that these tribes had innate awareness and respect for their environment and life. At birth the startling cry of a newborn over time changes to an astonishing cry of Aha. This Aha moment carries down thru the ages. Tribal rituals gave evidence of their reverence and responsibility for the environment and surrounding life. If civilization is to survive we must once again gain reverence and responsibility for the environment and life. True tribal spirituality has been lost and replaced with superficial spirituality that allows mass desecration of the environment and life. If we are to regain our humanity we must once again regain our true spirituality.

The evolutionary growth of humanity, from small villages to tribes, empires, nations and civilizations, each with their own language and culture, show how each defined their relationship to the environment. Tribal understanding of the mysteries of life followed similar patterns and rituals. Today, we recognize that we evolved from the same ancestors and that we are all brothers and sisters. We were all formed, over time, by the same evolutionary process. Our primary differences are our languages, cultures, beliefs and features. We are one family rapidly thrown together by a technological world that is rapidly shrinking the distance between us. Cultures are disrupted, economies torn apart, unstable governments, spiritual differences magnified, and all comfort zones violated. 

An understanding of humanities development thru the ages help us recognize the need for a new world order. Challenging policies and goals leading to world peace, respect, dignity, and harmony between all cultures and nations are required. A new mythology is required. A new mythology must satisfy the needs of merging nations as they confront the rapid pace of a global world.

We need a mythology that defines and unifies all faiths on a path that leads to world peace. Currently, religious institutions place greater emphasis on differences then on unifying around common goals that seek peace for all humanity.

Throughout the evolution of humanity, humans have recognized the mystical wonders of the beauty that surround them. Natures features act as icons, speaking past themselves, to a Creator beyond human understanding. As human life evolved, migration of tribes began. Each tribe developed it’s own unique mythology of how the universe was formed and how the Creator ruled the earth. This process continues today. The old mythology passed generation to generation by word of mouth. Fortunately, much of that mythology was captured in writing and saved for the future. Now we need a new mythology that supports an advanced civilization and the needs of the twenty first century.

Mythology encapsulates the history and wisdom of our ancient ancestors and provides us council of creations gift of energy that infuses the universe and life therein. Mythology is a summation of the folklore passed down through the ages. It tells us of lessons learned and how we may apply these lessons to our own daily lives.

Tribal villages, in the distant past, created their own spiritual and cultural centers. Each tribe had spiritual leaders. These leaders were known as shaman, priest, and medicine men and woman. Their role varied from tribe to tribe and included spiritual guidance, medicine, communicating with the gods, as well as decisions involving migration and cultural customs. Each man, women and child was guided thru life by tribal rituals. These rituals began with birth and guided the children thru each stage of life. These stages include birth, puberty, transition to manhood, marriage, occupation, growing old, and dying. Mythology uses ageless spiritual and physical truths to guide us thru the mystical, cosmological, social and pedagogical stages of life.

Universal Truths

James Madison had this to say, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” Mythology reflects the need for humans to have guiding principles that sustain their lives in a mysterious world. Mythology is defined as follows:

Mythology is the cornerstone of wisdom for present and future generations. Joseph Campbell, the renowned mythologist, expressed it best in the following statements. This summation reflects the vibrancy that mythology brings to our lives.

People say what we’re seeking is a meaning of life. I don’t think that’s what we’re seeking. I think what we’re seeking is the experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane have resonance within our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.

Mythology is the song of the universe. It is the song of the imagination, inspired by the energies of the body.

Mythology teaches what’s behind literature and the arts and teaches you about your own life.

You must understand that each religion is a kind of mythological software that has its own set of signals and rituals that give substance and direction to our lives.

Rituals are the enactment of a myth.

Myths inspire the realization of the possibility of your perfection.

The perfect person is rarely loved. It is imperfection that make humans interesting.

Myths are stories of our search through the ages for truth, for meaning, for significance.

Myth is a mask of god, a metaphor for what lies behind the visible world.

Myths are clues to our deepest spiritual potential, able to lead us to delight, illumination, and even rapture.

Mythology teaches us what’s behind literature and the arts and our lives.

The Four Functions of Mythology

Joseph Campbell tells us that the universal truths identified by past mythologies remain valid. He also stresses that a new mythology, suited for the age we now live in, may be needed. He felt that what ever the new mythology is, it must serve the following four functions:

The First Function-Mystical

The first function of a myth is to bring us into a level of conscious that is mystical. The ultimate mystery is beyond all categories of human thought. This level of consciousness may be induced by the beauty of nature, art, spiritual centers such as West Minister Abby, Cathedral at Chartres, St Patrick’s Cathedral,etc. Mythology is the song of the Universe. It is the song of the imagination, inspired by the energies of the body. We need myths that will identify the individual with his local group, with the planet and ultimately of his oneness with creation. The myth must show the realization of one’s transcendence above and independent of the physical universe, and the appearance of separateness in the phenomenal world.

The Second Function-Cosmological

The second function of a myth is to put man in accord with nature. The myth must represent the world of nature, as now known, so that the wonders of nature will be experienced and seen as a manifestation of AUM(the supreme absolute truth). Nature will become, as it were, an icon carrying the mind thru so that the whole mystery of the universe is shining thru each object. It is a very simple thing. It is the essence of poetry and art, to see the radiance shining thru the forms of time and space.

The Third Function-Sociological

    In this function mythology does not serve for transformation. The transformation today, that has taken     place, is that there are no more horizons or separate societies. The society to which we all belong is of       the globe and yet you see what is happening. Every group is pulling back into its own in-group system       of values. That's the way of separateness, forgetful of the unity, and in the condition of the present           world separateness is to nobodies advantage. There is in the world today a really political and economic     value to recognizing love and in recognizing you and the other are one. Different interests are standing       for separateness, but people are more and more recognizing the importance of unity.

The Fourth Function-Pedagogical

This function carries the individual thru the stages of life.

Stage One: We are born as a child in a condition of dependency. This mode usually lasts about twelve years. This is a period of uninspired clinging to life.

Stage Two: Sooner or later the child must move from dependency to authority. The child must eventually move from childhood to adulthood. Traditional societies have rituals to make this transition. The girl makes this transition easier than the boy. Life overtakes the girl. With her first menstruation she becomes a women. The boy must be transformed and assume the authority of his action. The boy may be physically scarified and spiritually transformed thru the rituals of the society to which he belongs.

Stage Three: This is the level at which the world lives. All religions, politics, and economics are aggression. You’re standing for a group or an idea against something. Winning is the important thing whether it is war, religious beliefs, business or politics. This is the stage where winning competes with integrity, morality, justice, conscience and to often triumphs over our own best interests. It is also the stage where principles may be sacrificed when it benefits political and religious institutions. This is where the dark side of human nature trumps meeting human and divine expectations.

Stage Four: The time for disengagement is now. There comes a moment in life when you have had it. If you haven’t done it, it won’t get done. No longer is the goal somewhere out there, it's here. This is it. All life’s commitments to health, wealth, and progeny fall into second place. The whole goal is the realization of the spiritual truth thru ones life in action. It is a time to experience the fullness of later years and the richness of family and friends about you. Do not be afraid of dying. Life becomes more glowing, resonant and less threatening, like a cloud, like a passing wind.

Demise of Mythology, Civility, and Principles

The Irish poet William Butler Yeats, A Vision, wrote:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.

Transition to a Mythology for the Future

An understanding of humanities development helps us recognize the need for a new world order. Challenging policies and goals leading to world peace, respect, dignity, and harmony between all cultures and nations is required. A new mythology must satisfy the needs of merging cultures as they confront the rapid pace of a global world. We need a mythology that defines and unifies all faiths on a path that leads to world peace. Currently, religious institutions place greater emphasis on differences then on unifying around common goals that seek peace for all humanity.

The path chosen by future generations will determine their mythology. The heart of the question is whether our generation has the grit or interest necessary to pro-actively engage in developing the policies and goals necessary to follow a path that leads to a positive future for the world we live in. Nations have excelled pushing the limits in technology and space. We have fallen short in regard to building a society accountable for our government and the quality lives of our people. History is littered with fallen civilizations that have risen only to succumb by turning to a path of apathy and void of a purposeful vision that enhances the spiritual and quality lives of all people.

A path that lights the way to the future requires that we understand both the dark and light side of human nature and the strengths and weaknesses of each. We need a path that avoids extreme darkness. Now, we need a new mythology to guide us into the future. Our past mythology served primitive tribes and nations as they developed over time. A new mythology must lead a global society into the future as we unify nations and begin the pursuit of a world constitutional republic, or similar, form of government. 

World citizens shape civilization. Children are shaped by their culture, society, and spiritual experiences.  Globalization has changed this dynamic by bringing cultures, societies and spirituality face to face. Children are now partly shaped by this confrontation. The Internet and all media show children of all nations how others live. Children from nations must now weigh the rules of their culture, society, and spiritual leaders against those of differing nations. This is a heavy and dangerous path for the children of today. As young adults these children must enter the work force with those of other nations. In this environment they will be faced with difficult decisions. From this time on young adults must make their own choices in a threatening environment. 

The ultimate test of a moral society is the kind of world it leaves to its children.

Bonhoeffer

 

 

 

 

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