General Page for Rick Doble's Essays

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The old gods are dead or dying and people everywhere are searching, asking: What is the new mythology to be, the mythology of this unified earth as of one harmonious being?

The Inner Reaches of Outer Space
Metaphor as Myth and as Religion

Joseph Campbell, 1986

Now that we have begun the 21st Century and have achieved an unprecedented understanding of the inner workings of the Universe both at the macro and micro levels as well as the inner workings of life itself with DNA, it is time to propose ideas for a new mythology.

Why do I call it a mythology? After all doesn't myth mean "not true" in the modern world. As you will read, in every era that are things that are not known and in all times there are things than can never be known at least in a scientific sense. Myth then becomes the best way to have a comprehensive view.

And, once we all understand the true nature of the universe, we can all take part in the discussion about why it exists.

Stephen Hawking's Universe, 1997

At the same time it is traditional notions of human beings such as heroism that I believe will take us to the next step in human civilization.

I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.
[Please note the word "immortal"]

William Faulkner
Nobel Prize Speech
Stockholm, Sweden
December 10, 1950

I believe the new mythology must embrace the findings of science.

Our scientists and historians have already laid out the plot.

The Inner Reaches of Outer Space
Metaphor as Myth and as Religion

Joseph Campbell, 1986

Yet science itself needs to understand its own limitations.

Science, natural philosophy, proceeds on the information given by the senses. This line of its attack is thus limited and we cannot hope that anything but limited objectives can be reached. Science does not profess to solve ultimate problems. On the other had it does seek to solve its limited problems with a known degree of accuracy and a known margin of error.
Page 257

Men of science affirm..that 'the study of purpose in Nature is inconsistent with the scientific aim, which is an adequate description of phenomena.'
Page 386

What was not realized was that the success of science was due to the faithfulness of its practice, while its destructiveness arose from the error of its philosophy which saw that practice as though it were the outcome of a world-view with which it was in fact fundamentally incompatible.
Page 420

A History of Scientific Ideas
Charles Singer, 1959

Knowledge for knowledge sake has created an imbalance in our worldview. Human knowledge should progress evenly on all fronts. When our understanding of the physical universe far surpasses our understanding of ourselves a great disequilibrium occurs. It isn't as though we don't need to know all this stuff. It is simply that there are other things we need to know in order to make sense out of all this physical knowledge we have gathered.

Dr. Artz

Science and the institutions of science should not become a kind of unquestionable priesthood that is as inflexible as the Catholic church of the 1600s that tried and imprisoned Galileo.

Since Galileo, men of science have formed a sort of priesthood, which has been, not infrequently, opposed to another priesthood.

A History of Scientific Ideas
Charles Singer, 1959

In a sense we need to bring religion and science back in sync with each other.

"According to Descartes the way you solve a problem is by breaking it into little pieces. So we developed a culture in the west, particularly, that is exceedingly good at breaking problems into little bits and pieces. So we are good at that.
"What we are not good at is putting it back together again."

Alvin Toffler
Interview in the documentary on electronic music Modulations
author of Future Shock

Commenting on the Western fascination with technology and science, Dr. Eugen Weber in his conclusion of the entire history of the West pointed out the importance of Greek mythological ideas which lead to technology.

Really when you think about it, our patron saint is Prometheus who stole fire from the gods.

Eugen Weber
Professor of History, UCLA
Public Television Series
The Western Tradition

When I was watching a documentary on the Sundance Channel about the new electronic music, one musician said he was trying to create a music that is "future-primitive." That seems like the perfect way to phrase it. I have played around with the idea of "modern-ancient" but a mythology that is future-primitive seems right.


Without realizing it I have been working toward this end and to my surprise had put together a number of pieces of the puzzle.

One cannot predict the next mythology any more than one can predict tonight's dream; for mythology is not an ideology. It is not something projected from the brain, but something experienced from the heart, from recognitions of identities behind or within the appearances of nature, perceiving with love a "thou" where there would have been otherwise only an "it."

The Inner Reaches of Outer Space
Metaphor as Myth and as Religion

Joseph Campbell, 1986

#1. We Must Tell the Modern Story of Creation
It needs to be told in a simple and coherent form to our children - a modern creation myth, if you will. Every culture has a creation myth and this is ours. So read my story for children.

A Modern Creation Fable for Children

For it is the artist who brings the images of a mythology to manifestation, and without images (whether mental or visual) there is no mythology.

The Inner Reaches of Outer Space
Metaphor as Myth and as Religion

Joseph Campbell, 1986

#2. New Mythological Icons and Ideas

#2a Online Exhibits

Digital totem poles which like Brancusi's Endless Column "if enlarged, would support the vault of heaven."

Many people [cultures] have a notion of a world axis that connects heaven and is a symbol of the interrelationship of all levels or areas of the cosmos known to man and the center around which they are arranged.

The Continuum Encyclopedia of Symbols
Edited by Udo Becker, 1997

Real snowflake photographs that are digitally "stained" to bring out their structure, natural forms that speak to the infinite because they repeat without repeating.

This principle of change or movement prevents nature from ever really repeating herself...

A History of Scientific Ideas
Charles Singer, 1959

Personal artistic images created directly from the radio waves, "cosmic microwave background radiation" or CMB, of the Big Bang.

For nature is not merely present, but is implanted within things, distant from none; naught is distant from her...
The power of each soul is itself somehow present afar in the universe...

Giordano Bruno, Italian Philosopher, d. 1600
First modern thinker to conceive of an infinite and relative Universe filled with many worlds

#2b. Essays

Thinking that points in the direction of a new mythology

== Thoughts about Art in the 21st Century

== The Beautiful in Art
Thoughts about beauty, art and contemporary art

== Heroes, Heroines and the Modern Age

"The way of the mystic and the way of the artist are related, except that the mystic doesn't have a craft."
Campbell quoting his wife.

The Inner Reaches of Outer Space
Metaphor as Myth and as Religion

Joseph Campbell, 1986

#3. The Nature of the Human Condition
In order to create a new mythology we must come to terms with the idea of separation and alienation that is so common in modern societies today.

== The Nature of Consciousness
Consciousness is what separates us from the rest of life on the planet and what makes us most human

Modern science has no doubt uncovered the fundamental laws underlying most of the disciplines of science... Despite some notable exceptions (e.g. determining the nature of consciousness...) the "great ideas" of science, for the most part, have probably been found.

Michio Kaku, Ph. D.
Visions, 1997

#4. What Is the Point of It All? Where Are We Going?

Did anybody read on the front page of the Times that matter is decaying? Am I the only one that saw that the universe is gradually breaking down? There's not going to be anything left. I'm not talking about my stupid little films here. Eventually there's not going to be any Beethoven or Shakespeare.

Speech by Woody Allen
Speaking in his movie Stardust Memories, 1980

== Toward A World Culture
Ideas about a new mythology for a unified Earth

== The Nature Of Life In The Universe
Could There Be an Ultimate Purpose?

Even though we have very small brains and we lead very brief lives...the fact is we're able to understand where we are because we can use instruments like the big telescopes, the physics that we learn on the surface of the Earth and the ideas the people have had over the last few centuries to build up a coherent picture. And I think we should be proud of that; I think we have done pretty well.

Bob Kirshner
Harvard University
Universe 2001: Beyond the Millennium, Creation
Science Channel (formerly the Discovery Channel)

#5. Accepting What We Cannot Know in a Given Time
And What We Can Never Know at Any Time

== List of What Science Does Not Know Today
There is so much we do not know, we need to be careful when making absolute predictions

Its incredibly interesting that there's a lot more we don't know about the universe than we do, in spite of all we've learned up to today. And therefore some of the wild ideas from science fiction including things like worm holes might or might not be possible; we just don't know at this point.

Lawrence Krauss
CWR University
Universe 2001: Beyond the Millennium, Creation
Science Channel (formerly the Discovery Channel)

#6. What Can You Do?

The new mythology is for all of us to participate in and take a hand in its creation. Here are a couple of my ideas; you will probably have better ones.

A. Always capitalize the world "Earth" when you mean Planet Earth
To my astonishment the capitalization was listed as optional in a Webster's Dictionary. It should be required. No one says I with a small i; how much more important is the Earth on which we all depend.

B. Women need to redefine heroism in terms of feminine achievement
The hero myth up to now has mainly meant men heroes. This needs to change along with a new found understanding of modern heroism. See my essay on heroism.

C. Celebration of Our Planet
As I have suggested in my essay on world culture, we need to create new rituals, new holidays, new art forms that speak to the entire world and all its peoples in all of their diversity. Here is a suggestion.
WHAT: There should be a day for sheer celebration of the diversity of people on the planet that takes place across the globe on one day. In a world of global communication and the Internet these celebrations could be broadcast on television and on the web for peoples in other parts of the world. They could start at the International Date line and then move west. Each culture should celebrate as it sees fit. I envision a 24 hour celebration which would start at midnight and run to the following midnight in which the music would not stop.
NAME: I would suggest OUR PLANET DAY or The Day of Our Planet
WHEN:February 29, "leap day" during the leap year, is an ideal date. This means that the celebration would happen every four years. "Leap day" used to be celebrated for various reasons, but is today no longer used for any special purpose. It is also an appropriate date because it is the day that humans put their calendar back in sync with the true cycle of the Earth around the sun. I believe it is the perfect day for a celebration of the wholeness of the planet and human life on that planet. It is also in keeping with another international and very ancient ceremony that brings countries from around the globe together and that occurs every four years, i.e. the Olympic Games.
HOW: For this idea to become established, people will need to talk it up. Send emails to friends, newsgroups, people around the world. Get feedback, re-shape the idea, see what will fly.

D. Art forms that celebrate the Earth
Art forms should be developed across the Earth that use primitive notions to bring about a modern understanding and that incorporates the change of seasons. See my essays on World Culture and Thoughts About Art in the 21st Century.

And my online seasonal photographic exhibits

General Page for Rick Doble's Essays