Panel Description: What are our modern myths? Do comics qualify? Do TV Shows, or Movies? for example: Star Trek, Game of Thrones, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, Handmaid’s Tale, All in the Family, M.A.S.H, Charmed, Leave it to Beaver, LoTR, Harry Potter. Which worlds do you think serve as modern myths? What roles to they play in forming our worldviews?
Myths are the stories we tell ourselves to explain how the world work, which is why sometimes people use the word myth to mean something that isn’t true. The subjects of the stories are often “larger than life”, if not overtly supernatural. The ancient myths provide the symbolic vocabulary for us to discuss large issues, which is why our kids are ‘subjected’ to the Greek and Roman mythology in school, so they have an understanding of those common symbols.
But nothing is static, we constantly create new symbols that may serve us better than traditional ones. Alice negotiating the chaos of Wonderland and the Looking-glass world, or Dorothy trying to get back to a place where she felt she had a better chance to understand and deal with the forces that threatened her have given us modern myths.
If you have ever taken a quiz that tells you which Hogwarts House you’d be sorted into, or which character in the Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings you are (in your secret heart), you understand the tropes of those worlds. When you disagree with the meme generators who create the quizes, you are recognizing that there is an importance in the symbols we identify.
In previous generations people would recognize the Biblical myths of The Widow’s Mite, but these days we know that Uncle Ben told Peter “With Great Power comes Great Responsibility”, and that Yoda told Luke “Do, or do not, there is no try”. These are the stories we are telling ourselves when we explain the world.
In the old days people didn’t expect that they would deal with their problems with the strength of Hercules, and these days we don’t expect to have Superman’s or even Wolverine’s powers. But we see how they keep going in the face of insurmountable odds- or use cleverness when strength is not enough, and we feel empowered.
Our panelists will be talking about how myths work for people and modern stories work better for us; bring your questions and insights.
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