"The need for true myths" The word "myth" as used in that diary--and the article by Ira Chernus from TomDispatch that it spun off of--doesn't mean something untrue, necessarily. Broadly speaking, it means a shared framework for understanding that guides action.
A month or so ago, Sadie Baker linked to a website I've been meaning to share a few thoughts about, Managing Wholes. The site describes it's purpose thus:
This site is for sharing knowledge and information about managing holistically. Holistic management works to create simultaneous personal, social, economic, and ecological benefit, rather pursuing benefit for one element at cost to another.
This site features real-world information direct from people with practical experience. Not knowledge from "experts" whose theories don't fit the facts. Not techniques whose short-term success causes long-term problems. Just practical know-how from real people who do the "impossible"-such as increasing biodiversity and profit.
Our goal is to promote change toward a future that works-toward a verdant and flourishing ecosystem and responsible human communities.
This purpose can be thought of as a myth--or at least the beginnings of one--as a framework of thinking in terms of wholes and benefit for all, as opposed to thinking in terms of individuals or specific interests. One thing that Chernus touched on in his article was how liberals were influenced by the Enlightenment, and the idea that new knowledge and critical thinking could allow us to free ourselvs from being blindly guided by the myths of the past.
Unfortunately, there's been far too little critical reflection on how this Enlightenment myth itself my be blinding us. For most of the two centuries following the Enlightenment, science was still in its infancy--though we usually didn't seem to know that. But in the mid-20th Century, more mature, systemic scientific approaches began to emerge. One of those was the biological discipline of ecology. And here is where we discover one of several important tools for finding our way beyond ourselves--to a perspective larger than ourselves, from which we may have the possibility to craft a new, more conscious and more viable mythology.
Here are a pair of videos (from this page) that, as an example, begin to explore the carbon cycle as a framework for more comprehensive, pro-active approaches to how to deal with global warming as part of larger problem: