11. What is Your Mythology?
What is your mythology? What are the stories, traditions, rituals, beliefs, and values passed down to you by your family and your culture?
Mine mostly amounts to "Basketball Jones" from the soundtrack to the movie Space Jam. Have you ever heard this song?
...No, I didn't think so. But I bet your head is probably filled with its own random, cluttered mess of meaningless cultural detritus, too.
Reflecting on the culture that I inherited from my parents and grandparents forces me to confront some uncomfortable truths about the way I was conditioned to view the world.
I don't believe that the worldview that was passed down to me is very useful, and in fact I think it's really quite harmful and destructive. Our modern culture teaches us to worship ego and pursue status at the cost of all other components of a meaningful life. The pursuit of happiness is contorted into the pursuit of wealth and fame.
If I learned anything from my years of philosophical inquiry as a young adult, it's that "existence precedes essence", which is to say, we are born without purpose and must seek to define it for ourselves. That can be as alienating as it is liberating, but it's the only battle worth fighting in this game called life -- Sisyphus and Krishna both back me on this one.
I think that the most valuable and worthwhile action we can take in this generation, for our own sake, as well as the sake of future generations yet to be born, is to pivot away from the mainstream culture of hyper-consumerism and start to build and rebuild local cultures and mythologies.
We don’t have to reject the past in order to carry on into the future, like the last few generations that came before us have done, and I also don’t think it’s useful to replicate the past superficially. At the same time, we don’t have to dwell in the status quo of the present if it doesn’t serve us either.
I have the power to design a relevant worldview for myself, intentionally, and in good faith with what I see as necessary for the future. I can only hope that the next generation finds the culture that they inherit to be useful in an era of absolute uncertainty.
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About the Author
Sam Sycamore is a writer and homesteader located in Simpsonville, Kentucky. He helps tend to a small-scale market garden alongside his wife Brooke, while propagating edible perennials and raising chickens in their backyard. Contact Sam here, and keep up with his daily adventures on Instagram @doityoursammy.