Mythos: The interrelated set of beliefs, attitudes, and values held by a society or cultural group
That word mythos can be seen a lot at the website link above which will take inquiring minds to the Joseph Campbell Foundation website. Mythos may be one of the most important words ever created because it is unique to human beings. While trees are objects created by nature, mountains—the same, oceans, ice bergs, rain forests, weather patterns, etc—mythos are unique in that it is a creation of man’s mind for purposes specific to the imagination. For those who have lost hope as knowledge of the very diabolical is known, it is an understanding of mythos that can point to cultural aspects that are forming and provide knowledge to the kind of world tomorrow will be. Largely we live in an existence created by a mythos generated by the Dark Ages and the kind of philosophy constructed under those conditions. But that is changing—rapidly—and when the good work of Fantasy Flight Games is mentioned—it is because of the alteration of a complex mythos that I cheer it on. As dim and dire as it sometimes feels, I see a major shift in social mythos that will shatter conventional thinking in the coming years and for all the restrictions feared today—the new mythos that is forming is the key to understanding our future. CLICK HERE to review my previous article on Fantasy Flight Games. Adding to those additions of mythic storytelling contained within those games are other aspects of culture that are exploding upon the scene. I’ve talked a lot about Star Wars, Glenn Beck continues to put out fantastic novels and books that are contributing boldly, movies like The Hunger Games are resonating with young people, and superheroes are dominating at the movie box office. Ayn Rand is still selling like hotcakes in Gatlinburg and the last movie of a three-part trilogy based on that book is about to be released which is challenging old Kantian held beliefs regarding economics, religion, and business. To understand the power of this new mythos I often point to the theme parks in Central Florida as the physical evidence of the changing mythos so evident in the human race. Once a company like Universal Studios or Disney build an attraction at a theme park, they have made a significant contribution to a social mythos as a business investment and have acknowledged the lasting impact. Never has this modern mythos been on display more dramatically than the new Harry Potter exhibit at Universal Studios, Florida with their opening this week of Diagon Alley. It is simply jaw dropping incredible. It can be seen in the video below at the 7:30 mark. I would advise watching the entire video though because the mythos brought to life in Central Florida says a lot about American culture and the direction, and impact it will have on the world for the next century.
I’m not a particularly huge Harry Potter fan. There are aspects to it that I enjoy—there is too much magic in it for me—too much mystic fantasy. There is a tendency to hope that the world is different from what it is—so fantastic creations bridge that gap intellectually. But there are some wonderful values explored in the Harry Potter books and movies that have provided many of the values today’s young people possess. But the new Diagon Alley exhibit is a living mythos—that is the point of the place—to put visitors into that world in a way that has never yet been possible anywhere on earth. But to what end—for simple entertainment? Human beings require myths to hold themselves together and put their values in line with priorities. Harry Potter was born out of this need, and it has been so successful that Universal Studios built a magnificent shrine to that mythos.
Mythos carries over into every aspect of human life. It goes to the voting booth, it becomes the focus of productive enterprise in business, it creates the values a family uses to bond themselves to one another—or to fly apart. It provides a mechanism for people to recognize evil, or good depending on the vantage point—a mythos can be either destructive or beneficial—but so long as human beings exist, there will be the creation of myths. Once those myths are created, a physical manifestation will be attempted, such as what Universal Studios has done with Diagon Alley. Visitors to those parks will attempt to bring the values of Harry Potter—for good or bad—into their daily life. So to me, watching the mythos of our world is the most important things a culture can do.
My excitement over this current mythos period is in the realization that only a few years ago none of this easy access to so much mythos was available. When I was a child, Disney World was brand new and nothing like it is now, Universal Studios was simply a dream, Dungeon and Dragons was very primitive and movies were limited in what they could create due to budget constraints and film executives functioning from the philosophies of Kant and Plato. Tolkien was the premier fantasy writer inspiring a new generation that would magnify his work hundreds of times over, the culmination being stories like Harry Potter. And video games were clunky. The opportunity to step into a mythos the way young people can now simply did not exist. But now things are changing rapidly—much more rapidly than any conniving bankers in Europe, or politicians in America can even fathom—any thoughts of potential tyranny are being crushed under the weight of a dynamically changing mythos.
That doesn’t mean all is well, there are major problems that will play out in the years to come—the bankruptcy of America, the continued attempts to spread collectivism to every corner of the earth at the expense of the individual—but those are the results of the previous mythos built by the pre and post Renaissance periods, religious ignorance, and minds so stifled with daily obligations that they did not have the liberty to think. My greatest joy of late has come from Fantasy Flight Games in that they create a product that generates not only a positive mythos—culturally, but a lot of thinking. When those types of entertainment options are coupled with the physical reality of something like Diagon Alley there are real opportunities for massive human enjoyment.
As I write this I know of several individuals planning their visit to Diagon Alley. They are reading the Harry Potter novels again at Steak and Shake at 3 AM in the morning and going to work when the sun comes up. They are playing Fantasy Flight’s Game of Thrones card game at Starbucks with their friends and are living in the mythos of those fantasy realms for a large portion of their life—and that is wonderful for the psychological well-being of their many otherwise treacherous disappointments in life. The joy of the mythos created artificially by the human minds behind Harry Potter and The Game of Thrones replaces the many areas where deficiency has otherwise occurred.
It is not good to substitute reality for fantasy—but it is not good to be crushed by too much reality—and often a positive mythos can alleviate the impact of such a disappointing force. With minds full of value, the diabolical schemes concocted by maniacal tyrants losses their ability because of the hope given by a mythos which feeds an individual mind as opposed to a soul looking to be filled by some come-lately leader drunk with power and filled with ill intent. But Universal Studios has performed a modern miracle, they have recreated Diagon Alley the way that only imaginations had previously contemplated, and made it real. The impact of this dramatic shift in mythos will resonate for quite some time in a positive way as the future unfolds itself out away from the small minds who previously wished to contain it. Diagon Alley is proof that such attempts have failed and that the human mind is now relishing in triumph over feats that are only now available for the first time on planet earth. When such things become real—they become a new reality in the realm of mythos.
Minds free to think, and contemplate new ideals create the mythos that will become the foundations of future values—but more importantly, such minds cannot be controlled. So long as a mind can contemplate mythos, a physical body will reject the chains placed upon it—literal or metaphorical. What I see in Diagon Alley is a culture in America who has professed that it values imagination and thinking to such an extent that it wanted to make it into a physical reality—which is a beacon to the world that imagination is alive and well and that tyrants have no place in Central Florida. You can feel it at the Orlando airport—as you travel down the people movers from the grand departure gate where hotel guest look down into the giant room of people traveling from everywhere in the world to see the theme parks of Florida first hand. Of those great theme parks, Universal Studios has recaptured the lead of the most spectacular attractions among them with Diagon Alley. There is nothing like it anywhere—except deep in the mind those who generate mythos upon a blank page to share with the world and incite in them the freedom of thought which is the greatest gift to civilization that there is.
Rich Hoffman www.OVERMANWARRIOR.com