Sunday, April 24, 2011

Is Myth Dead? Part 3: the good old time religion: Ideology of conflict

"In the case of the myths that resonate with the multitude on a level deeper than entertainment, the anxiety that underlies the wholesale exchange of the profane for the sacred can produce a throwback to the “old time religion.” The mythic aura of a yesterday that never existed drives such cultural movements as we see demonstrated in the movie Jesus Camp, and this trend is evident in many revivalist and reactionary groups across the world, not just Christianity. It is also the basis of many American myths that sprang out of the 1950s, of idyllic family values, which reach from that time, and before, right up to the present.
This defensive reaction, to look backwards in times of chaos, cannot be restricted to one ideology. It is one of the forms of modern mythology that we most frequently encounter. As Samuel P. Huntington explores in his book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, the coming world conflicts will be driven along ideological and cultural fault lines, even if underlying motivational factors in some cases include more material concerns, such as territory or overburdened resources. In other words, even resource-driven conflicts are likely to be painted in ideological terms, especially in regard to the motivating force presented to the people who make up the backbone of any military force. The idea of the US as a “global peacekeeper” is such a myth as well, as much as the idea that jewels could be cut from the bellies of Muslims, a story ostensibly propagated during the third crusade." An excerpt from Chapter 1 of The Immanence of Myth.

Read the rest of this selection here on Weaponized.

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