The Myth of No Myths

In our Western cultural climate, we are mythologically lost at sea. We pride ourselves on being a society without myth, as we consider ourselves grounded in reason, fact, and rationality. But ironically, recognizing ourselves as a people without myth has become our myth. It has become the story we tell ourselves about who we think we are. The no-myth myth satisfies what every myth satisfies: the condition of communicating what a particular culture at a particular time values and holds dear.

What we seem to value is the notion that there is a self-evident distinction between things of fact and things of fantasy, that we can draw an unproblematic line down the middle of phenomena, placing things like myths, stories and fiction on one side and the serious stuff of "adulthood" (science, politics) on the other. But no such line can be drawn. Fact and fantasy actually end up defining each other in their opposition, which also means that they can't exist apart from one another.

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