The breakdown of a central myth is like the shattering of a vessel containing a precious essence; the fluid is spilled and drains away, soaked up by the surrounding undifferentiated matter. Meaning is lost. In its place, primitive and atavistic contents are reactivated. Differentiated values disappear and are replaced by the elemental motivations of power and pleasure, or else the individual is exposed to emptiness and despair. With the loss of awareness of a transpersonal reality (God), the inner and outer anarchies of competing personal desires take over. The loss of a central myth brings about a truly apocalyptic condition and this is the state of modern man (Edward Edinger, The Creation of Consciousness, pp.9-10).
What was the central myth in Western culture? Christianity, of course. Even though there are many wonderful people attempting to live according to the precepts of Jesus, generally, the West’s central myth has been lost. Christianity was once the center of nearly everyone’s world. The rise of the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions put empirical knowledge, technology, and capitalism at the forefront of our lives. Perhaps it was necessary for the shattering of sacred cows that had taken on a life of their own. Perhaps the Protestant Reformation was also necessary, even though it, too, led to irreparable damage to our world.
Nowadays, right-wing evangelicals walk hand-in-hand with wealthy plutocrats, telling us we need to embrace the so-called “free-market” system, when, at the same time, said system is the cause of the polluting of our planet, the horrors of war, and the endless punishment of our impoverished and destitute. How deep into the abyss we have been dragged by the demons of greed!
The prevailing myth today is the fable that all should become rich, be an entrepreneur, invest, invest, invest. As Edinger says, it is truly an “apocalyptic condition.” The “elemental motivations of power and pleasure” have filled the void where Soul once dwelt. When a society loses its myth, it loses its Soul.
Just as a river reroutes itself to avoid obstructions, so the Soul changes course to perpetuate the flow of life and eternity.
We are beginning to realize what has been lost. At last, a great awakening is occurring. As knowledge of Soul expands via the Internet, especially social networks and blogs, a new myth is being born in our hearts. The lies and deceit of capitalism and right-wing radicalism cannot stop it. This is a time of renaissance and the resurrection of myth, the resurrection of Soul. It is gaining strength. Do not become disillusioned with your path. The road has been treacherous and strewn with debris, but the obstacles are clearing. There is light just ahead. If you look closely, you can see it. It is a single point in the distance, but it is growing larger and larger. Eventually, it will engulf the earth.
Edinger goes on to tell us, if it is not power and pleasure that destroys our myth, then it is emptiness and despair. This was the Zeitgeist after the beginning of World War I, when all those, who felt science and reason were leading us down the path to Utopia, were disheartened by the irrationalities of war. Then, there was World War II and its atrocities, which included the development of a technology that could destroy the earth. From this period until recently, emptiness and despair were very easy to embrace; many did to their destruction. But we have a new paradigm, a new Zeitgeist. There is a flood of gnosis washing over the earth, bathing its inhabitants in wisdom and truth. There is a new day dawning that we have not witnessed for millennia. Can you see it on the horizon? Look closely and you will.
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