Replacing our myths

Society today prides itself at times at having thrown out some of the outdated myths that guided our forefathers and grandparents. We have progressed and base ourselves on more rational forces now. However, we are always guided by some myths, whether we are aware of it or not. We simply replace one philosophy by another, and worship in a different type of temple.

The collective fantasies of the modern world are that the old myths can be revived by acts of will, or that by acts of will new myths will be generated. While we have suffered the loss of the old, tribal myths, by and large,  we cannot generate new ones – though for sure many have tried. We transfer the need for the experience of the transcendent onto persons, objects, and causes and wonder why they disappoint.

Another way of putting this is that when the gods are not experienced inwardly, they will be projected outwardly. The energy we project onto the things of our world – objects, causes, ideologies, relationships – possess a kind of autonomy, for they momentarily carry spirituality for us. As Jung warns “Our consciousness only imagines that it has lost the gods; in reality they are still there and it only needs general conditions to bring them back in full force”.  Whenever the level of personal attention is lowered…the tendency of the ego to project what is not addressed in the inner life increases its fascination with the outer.

James Hollis, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life

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