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 Modern 'mythos' and collective dreams 
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Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:24 am
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Location: Moscow, Russia
Post Modern 'mythos' and collective dreams
I wanted to start this topic for some time now - I really think that it is important for us to be aware not only of some ancient 'mythos', but of modern one(s) too.

I want to collect here names of some modern books, movies, and some other cultural 'phenomenons', which produced a great 'collective resonance' in later years. I hope that it will also illustrate one important thought - that in modern society it's paradigm, it's 'zeitgeist' is moving slowly towards accepting a source of 'super-power' in the inner world of ordinary man. In ancient times the 'savior' came in the form of some divine entity - be it god or demigod/hero. But in the 20-th century we see a rise of 'superheroes', and in the beginning of 21-st century we may witness a birth of 'man-hero' - someone with a resource of 'inner strength' to change the world and even save it.

Starting with books: "Lord of the Rings" by J. R. R. Tolkien, "Dune" by Frank Herbert, "Fight Club" by Chuck Palahniuk, "American Gods" by Neil Gaiman, and some more (and there is also a cycle of books named "Labyrinth" by Russian author Max Frei - his books I'll mention some other time). What is interesting there is not the authors were trying to say, but what has made it's way into their books by itself. So it's not so interesting to analyze the story and main symbols of these books - it's been done to some extent and will give us nothing new. What is interesting, however, is the set of small details, which were created 'intuitively' - like blue eyes of Freemen in the 'Dune' series. And there is some other similarity - the main characters of these books, ones who 'turn the wheel of history' are acting with the help of some 'higher powers' but on their own will. Even if a hero of a book discovers his 'supernatural' origin, he is still an ordinary person to begin with - and he sees the world from this, 'grounded' point of view.

Now, with the movies - here we have some very interesting examples. "Dune" by David Lynch (which was much less 'mechanistic' and much more 'visionary' than the original book), "Star Wars" trilogy with it's main characters turning tide of a history not with some technical power, but with inner power of the 'Force', "Matrix" trilogy with it's 'Savior' being an ordinary human in it's origin, "Terminator" series with it's fear of 'machines becoming self-aware' and ordinary people stopping the destruction of human race and so on. There are many more deep and meaningful, but not so much widely-known movies: "Mirror Mask", "Fountain", "Waking Life", and in each of them main character was an ordinary human - initially at least.

Just recently I've watched "9" - a good animated movie with many resonating symbols and thoughts. There are also movies worth they own threads - for example "Watchmen". Again, movies with people having their own superpowers from birth/origin (like "Teleport" or "Hancock") deal with personal, human problems of these people, not some supernatural 'battle of powers'. Oh, and "Constantine" tells us a story of an 'ordinary man with gained powers' - he didn't even asked for them really.

Of course there are many other movies which do not contain such symbols/tendencies, but this 'paradigm shift' is there, I just don't know how long will it take to manifest itself more clearly. There are also computer games, short animated movies, and all other forms of art telling us the same story - and it's voice is becoming louder and louder.

P.S. There are also superhero comic book series, each worth it's own interpretation. From Superman (typical 'savior from above', who got his power from our Sun) to Batman (ordinary man, who integrated his own Shadow and gained strength from it), to Spiderman (he is also very interesting, because he was bitten by radioactive spider), to Constantine and many more. By the way, radioactivity was often used as an explanation of superhero's powers - a more modern variation of magic, was it not?

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Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:47 pm
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