Mythos is vast — And necessary
If storytelling is a car, mythos is the Ferrari of storytelling.
Mythos- The Ferrari of storytelling
A Ferrari is sexy, powerful and dreamy, suggestive and ultimately potent, a metaphor for all that is epic in human engineering and design.
I have chosen the Ferrari car brand as the metaphor for mythos (there is also an actual Ferrari mythos car) for I deem the concept of mythos to be for storytelling what Ferrari is for cars, a criterion.
In our case here, Mythos is the criterion of narration.
Like every other field of human endeavor, there exists a hierarchy of excellence also in storytelling, the overarching process of narration.
Mythos then I deem as the highest in human narrative productions.
Mythos is the excellence of storytelling, for when the narrative becomes so compelling as to change its audience, the quantified idea of a tale becomes a self-description of a mind in the world.
The event of mind, metamorphoses into a character of quality. The importance of the quality of character lies with its overwhelming capacity to know right from wrong and essentially to be the representation of all that a mind stands for. Hence, a mind or an event, represented as mythos is a most potent symbol of becoming.
Mythos in this regard becomes a key, or perhaps a door, to a wide array of aspirations and visions of a particular mind. In the process designating that mind as unique and ultimately worth of inherent value and so of allowance and appreciation.
I am of the mind, that knowing a mind of another, understanding its keys, and being able to truly interact, is knowing its mythos, for beside the mythos we are all the same. The mythos of a mind portrays not its personas but its organizing principle. Its core characteristics. Its nature of excellence.
What each must seek in his life never was on land or sea. It is something out of his own unique potentiality for experience, something that never has been and never could have been experienced by anyone else.
We all carry a multilayered account of what mythos is and what it stands for.
A note before I continue my exposition. I consider the modern usage of the term myth as designating a false story or fake account or indeed a confabulation of sorts as an addendum (and a very minor one at that) to the concept of mythos. For my purpose here if so, I shall use the term mythos to designate the intelligence of the narrative and will use the term mythography and mythology for the stories that are cultural in nature. Furthermore, it is my view that mythos can be understood as a pattern of self-creation over and above the immediacy of our physical embodiment. And so, mythos can serve as an organizing principle for the narratives we produce and maintain continuously.
We have many selves and many sensations and many memories.
Stories within stories, tales upon tales and all organized as our journey of becoming.
Mythos however, understood as the narrative of our/the journey, has a sequence, not linear but clear nevertheless.
This clarity appearing as simplicity is what gives the mythos its empowering capabilities and organizing capacity.
There are two fundamental ways I understand mythos.
The cultural (or universal) and the personal (or private).
All storytelling is a vehicle, a vehicle of thought, a vehicle of sensation and most critically a vehicle of meaning. The choice of vehicle then, fitting the particular mind is the foundation upon which clarity and character emerges.
The human mind, a hypercomplex system, supervenient upon a bio-neuro-chemical system (aka the brain and nervous system + the endocrine system) extends in time and space via storytelling. Storytelling is the actual mechanism by which language produces the feedback pattern of self-recognition. Self-recognition in turn allows our multiple personas to be as it were, ordered. Not a simple order though, these recognized personas operate under a strange attractor like system, known as self. The story of the self has an inherent tendency to try and be consistent across time, that is the story, or the vehicle of thought. Amalgamating the totality of experiences, memories, sensations, desires and motives.
The fact that we create our ‘selves’ by narratives and the act of narrating is a no-brainer (pun intended). The fact that our hypothesizing cognition and interpretative reflections are the backbone of self-creation is again obvious. We know that our minds are cyclical narrative machines, self-sustaining recursive and dynamic storytelling mechanisms by which we ‘understand’ the world and our ‘selves’ in it.
When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.
What is fundamental however is that we never ‘know’ the world as ‘it really is’, I would go as far as saying there may not even exist a ‘one true’ reality. A base line from which all share the same composite experience of being.
What we have is a sketch, a draft, an approximation based on sensation and perception, memory and desire. The sketch is being written and rewritten again and again, edited and redacted continuously: critically at no point is it ‘the real’.
What it is, is a continuous and ambiguous work in progress, a story to which we have no beginning and no end. We do have for this story two main points of reference, the first is our body, our material embodiment in space time, counting moments, its duration of existence. The second is reflections, the story of ‘I’ as reflected by others (even if those ‘others’ are in my mind only).
Hence a storytelling mechanism as mind, reflects and elaborates upon these two points of quasi-permanence.
What glues them is mythos.
Time to get serious — Mythos then.
The quest of vision is an innate wiring. We are wired to story tell our inner reflections. The state of storytelling our independence and liberty, resides with our capability to self-create an identity that is similar enough to others as to be recognized as such (the universal) and different enough so as to be unique and singular (the private).
Yet over and above the ‘common’ storytelling resides the excellence of mythos which bridges the universal and the particular. Creating a mythic language of its own, that aims to coagulate and attract, bridge and glue together some of the most irreconcilable experiences of the composite of being.
Mythos (as opposed to myth, mythology and or mythography) is an unlimited field of exploration of the mind.
We are inherently conflicted animals seeking an organizing principle, mythos is it. It is not merely that mythos allows transcendence to come forth and play, mythos allows greatness to enter one’s historical perspective. We need our mythos not only for dreaming a better world, a better self or a more profound humanism. We need mythos to be sane.
Mythos is both a personal composition and a cultural super bridge proposition.
Finally, I believe it is extremely challenging (if at all possible) to explain what Mythos is all about, a tad like Louis Armstrong response when being asked what is Jazz: “If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.” But maybe more accurate is to quote Douglas Adams: “If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a nonworking cat.”
We live in mythos and as mythos, whether we appreciate it or not, so better get deeply acquainted with it.
Without the vastness that mythos affords us, we are poorer for we cannot love beyond time, and cannot dream beyond matter. We cannot grow past our spaces and will not nurture above our needs without mythos.
We may fail at the task of being greater than ourselves, and yet doing anything less, will be a betrayal to the mythos of a human, independent and proud, intelligent and passionate in its becoming.
We have a bright future ahead of us, even if at present it may be obscured by the clouds of immediacy. Let us not be small and petty in our desire for survival, let us be great in our endeavors, and vast in our dreams.
Thank you for reading.