Thoughts on Myth and Hero Worship pt.1

The myth has followed civilization from its earliest beginnings to modern times. It’s alterations through the ages are not at first apparent, because the modern mythology is so drastically different as not to be recognized as myth. 

Firsst things first. What is a myth? Famed mythologist, author and historian Joseph Campbell states it thus; “The high function of occidental [Western] myth and ritual is to establish a means of relationship of God to Man and Man to God.” (The Masks of God book 2 – Occidental Mythology). 

To Campbell, the vast interplay of cosmic forces we deem religion or creation was mythological in scope, and thus books on right and proper living emerged, as did institutions to bequeathe these teachings. Similarly, in the Humanistic traditions of Rome, Greece, Germanic or Celtic peoples, the deities took on human guises, and with them all the foible and folly humanity itself was capable of. 

Myths endure as lessons in how societies and individuals interact and respond to each other. They became necessary, both as teaching tools and as focal points of belief. But where are they now? Do we still have our myths, or have they become outdated and irrelevant in this golden age of science and learning?

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The World as it Was

I’ve often posited that I was born into the wrong time. Surely I would have been more at home among pirates, or the early days of Hollywood, or even cruising around the county in the Further, official bus of the beatnik generation. I imagined myself a swashbuckling, charming anti-hero, which I have lived up to in some ways, including a couple of arrests. But what about that makes me any different than the men and women that comprise our sizable prison population. For the record, I do believe that the criminal justice system is in need of reform.
So these past eras of excess and adventure, now long gone. As I sat idly by, lamenting living in such times, I did little to improve the landscape. What had I done, or contributed that was truly great? Nothing. What are you doing to define the golden age of our years on this Earth? Are you creating, destroying; are you even participating? 
The legacies that those in the past have left us should inspire us to create legacies ourselves. Build it, paint, sculpt, or do it. Life is rich when we can enrich, and a full life is, by definition, one of abundance. If we were to look at the world in eyes that do not see what is broken, but what could be improved upon; what piece of ourself we wanted to give. Imagine never meeting a stranger, or being at home anywhere you were. Imagine what could be.

Be Not Discouraged

While on a cruise ship (I just went cruising in the Caribbean this past week), I sat on deck and wrote a quick poem. 
Sitting on a pool deck, Several stories above the sea. Sailing is different now. 

This isn’t the Union of Merchant Sailors, Nor pirates who plunder or rape, Or months’ endless without respite. 

A sea cruise, a pleasure cruise; Not the journey of discovery. Not what Poseidon had in mind. 

The world has gotten smaller, The seas friendlier than before. Sailing for enjoyment, not to explore. 

We long for the bygone days Yet refuse to relinquish comforts. Instead we gnash and grind our teeth.

When we see the birds overhead (I pay much more attention now) We don’t know their thoughts or mind. 

Still we long for their freedom. We cry for wings to carry us Away from the here, the common place. 

We sail, eat, drink, to escape. We use wings not for freedom But to tie us to places.

To work, to family, to bonds. In this we are all alike. We shrunk the world

Through exploration, discovery. Through innovation and technology. Yet we feel smaller,

More insignificant than ever. Given the choice over and over We choose, we prefer, safety. 

We refuse to spread our wings For Icarus, in flight, went too close. Not us, we communally think. 

Inhale. exhale. In rhythm with all. Safety, rather than try. Or fail. For failure is certain death. 

At least that’s what we’re told. Taught from an early age Failure is not allowed. 

I’m sitting on a floating resort In the middle of the Caribbean Because someone imagined it. 

Even though countless ships, Other vessels, both mechanical, or human Lie on the bottom of this sea. 

Still, we sail, knowing its safety Because someone was willing to fail, To attempt over and over again. 

What they should teach: Be not discouraged. Life will break you, beat you down. But be not discouraged. 

Your steps will falter, And you will lose your way. Be not discouraged. 

You may be abandoned, From time to time feel unloved. Be not discouraged. 

You may lose hope, In yourself, or in humanity. But be not discouraged.