There have always been myths about our nation. Not necessarily lies, but rather collective beliefs which can help explain and energize us. Take some of our favorite myths,usually from the Old West. The myth of the rugged, tall-in-the-saddle loner [Wayne & Eastwood play the roles to perfection]…the myth we are a good and peace-loving people [gunslingers only draw when they’re forced to]…the myth that in America everyone gets a second chance [it’s why draw poker was the game of choice in those saloons].
While experts such as Joseph Campbell have examined humanity’s many national myths, each of us also creates and lives our own myths. Yes, we do! We can’t help but mythologize our lives and that of our family. Born from humble beginnings [Lincoln’s log cabin]…or maybe immigrants who came to the New World and became a great success [Andrew Carnegie made that one famous]….or perhaps we like to tell tales around the family bonfire about the great love stories running through our veins [the high school sweethearts who we loved but never married].
Nothing wrong with mythologizing, because very often it helps capture the narrative we’re living better than any facts & stats resume. This is true both as a nation and as a family. So what if we embellish some of the data a little. Hollywood and I have been doing that for generations, yet patrons and grandchildren keep coming back for more. Why? Because although facts may be stranger than fiction, some myths can be better than both.
Our enormous computer banks may be able to capture and store vast information about us in the Cloud, but there is every reason to believe — in fact, we must believe! — we are a great deal more than our Social Security, Credit Card, and DNA numbers…………
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