The modern myth of human progress through worshipping the gods of science, technology, democracy, and capitalism has fallen on hard times. Despite the extraordinary expansion of knowledge and a cornucopia of inventions, it is becoming disturbingly apparent that things have not turned out the we had anticipated. Industry and technology have given us dazzling products with one hand and robbed us of clean air, pure water, healthy soil and natural landscapes with the other hand. The gleaming edifice of democracy has become tarnished by special interests and public apathy. Human values of decency and civility, a feeling of community, common-sense morality — all are being undermined by the vast juggernaut of technological change, multinational mega-corporations and a bureaucratic government that has lost the support of the people.
On a psychological level, our global anxiety partially stems from the fact that human beings today no longer grow up with one universally accepted cultural myth. A culture’s myth provides a common lens of fundamental beliefs, values, icons and images through which its members view reality. In today’s global village, the ordinary person now has hundreds of such myths and paradigms competing for his or her loyalty.
Whether a peasant farmer in a remote African village or an office worker in an American metropolis, each inhabitant of this planet is exposed to an unprecedented variety of belief systems. Our minds are oversaturated with contradictory world views. Anxiety thrives on this uncertainty and confusion. Joseph Campbell speculated that:
the failure of mythology and ritual to function effectively in our civilization may account for the high incidence among us of the malaise that has led to the characterization of our time as “The Age of Anxiety.”[i]
What if there was a compelling universal global myth that could unite us all as one family with a common origin and a shared destiny? We have recently written a new, inspiring myth that can help you respond effectively with the anxiety of living in the world today. Stay tuned and we will let you know when it is published.
[i] Joseph Campbell, Primitive mythology (New York: Penguin, 1969/1976).