A myth, in common usage, has come to mean simply a falsehood. A fairy story that can’t be true, a lie perpetrated on a gullible crowd, snake oil for the masses. But the reason we came to think of a myth like this is because it originally meant a powerful symbolic story, which was associated with people who hadn’t learnt reason and didn’t yet realise that technology could get us whatever we wanted. We didn’t need the gods anymore, because we’d proven they didn’t exist and aren’t effective in stopping the onslaught of the victorious society. And the victorious society turns out to be the one that has moved on from such primitive superstitions to take control of the world on their own terms.

But the real myth is that we could have control over the earth and its ‘resources’. This is the myth of the colonising forces. Technological power has seduced us – the members of said winning teams – into believing that its accomplice, reason, dissolves the falsehoods of the ancient, the exotic, the primitive societies we have replaced with our superior powers. And thanks to the extreme desire to exterminate all alternatives to its one God, medieval Christianity did manage to burn out most alternative ways of thinking. A symbolic understanding of the way that other creatures of the earth are our plant and animal kin, along with our intimate and meaningful relationships with even the landscape itself and all its elements, went underground. But it never completely died out. Like the native animism of the Americas, it simply learnt to live within the dominant paradigm, hiding like Halloween spirits ready to burst out at night when the priests weren’t looking.

A real myth, a successful myth, convinces you that the way you live is natural, as well as linked to a bigger picture, a more-than-human reality, another world beyond this one. Neat trick huh? Watch the full 40 minute version of City Living, Nature Calling, the first ever eco mythic documentary series, for more fun debunking and recreating of the world!

 

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