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Mythology & Parables in Modern Communication Part 1

By Maurice Turmel PhD

Today there is a growing need to examine all our systems of thought and communication. We are witness to an information explosion. Never before has there been such a plethora of relevant and not so relevant information available on every subject imaginable. Most of us cannot even begin to fathom the depths of this apparent inexhaustible supply.

So how do we process what is coming at us now, let alone, what will be there in the future? There has to be a way to sort through this landslide of facts and fiction, to go over each piece and determine for ourselves its inherent validity and relevance to our lives.

In each epoch in our history there were major transition points that affected all of humanity. These were marked by chaos and fear, upset and upheaval, all related to a convulsive present and an indeterminate future. Examples would be the "Agricultural Revolution, when, as a species, we stopped wandering and gathering, and started cultivating fields and growing our own food. Then came the "Industrial Revolution, where there began the vast process of mechanizing our work. In all such cases, an old way was leaving, while the new way was being born. During these transition phases, chaos and upheaval were the signs of the times. Many current writers are suggesting that this is also the case today, with the present Information Revolution; and I would agree.

In previous times, as cited in the above examples, some sense of order had to be derived from the chaos that was all about. Some way of making sense of the whole unfolding process was required and basically had to be invented on the spot. It was never a question of "not living through it because change was already upon the population. It was always a matter of "how to live through it and minimize the impact on day to day life.

History repeats itself, we are often told, until a particular lesson is learned. What is history trying to teach us right now? "That we appear not ready for the great leap forward we are about to take? In part this may be true, but what else? I draw sustenance from an old Myth that says: "when a person is ready, what is there waiting for them becomes visible."

Well, what does that mean? To me that points out that the process of awakening and evolution is, from this perspective, a personal one and what is next on the horizon is only visible after a pressing (moment, feeling, or problem) has been properly disposed of. This Myth also tells us that, in so much as we are capable of mastering something, we shall be prompted to undertake it. This suggests that evolution takes us, not necessarily where we want to go, but most certainly where we need to go. And once again, that fact doesn't become visible until its "time arrives, in the undulating process of change or transformation.

Evolution, here, is not a matter of biology, but more a matter of personal fact. What are the facts of my life, as opposed to what are the facts of your life? At some level we share a commonality of facts. Those that underlie Christianity, for example, are shared facts. Those that underlie our essential humanness are also shared facts. Do these so called facts hold any truth or not? And on what can we base our collective experience and subsequent testimony? After sorting through an enormity of facts, what do we rely on for an interpretation? How do we know when any interpretation is correct?

You see, years ago, we had Mythology, and its teaching companion Parables, to guide us through transitional, volatile times. Myths and Parables were guideposts; signs along the path that helped explain aspects of our human plight and imminent challenges. Myths and Parables were teaching tools, designed to advance us as a race, as a nation or as an individual, into and through the next stage of our evolution. Suffice it to say that Myths and Parables were the Sine Qua Non of Ancient Times, in terms of information processing and personal growth, because basically, no one knew how to read. Since very few people enjoyed that privilege there had to be a way to pass on important information. Myths and parables were accessible to everybody. Handed down through the ages, they were passed on to generation after generation, cutting across cultural and ethnic boundaries, and historical periods. Myths, as guideposts and parables as models, have always been there for us and are still in evidence today. We just don't pay attention to them like we used to.

(In part 2 of this series we will continue this discussion and see how it leads to and affects our current situation as the Information Revolution unfolds.)

Maurice Turmel PhD is the author of "Parables for a Modern Age." He was a practicing therapist for nearly 25 years, and is now an Author, Speaker and Performing Songwriter, in the areas of Personal Growth and Creative Self-Expression.


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