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myth and narrative are almost synonymous.

Perhaps, but if I were to nitpick I would say that in "Once Again The EU Heroically Opposes the US", we're talking about a hero myth, but that "Once Again The EU Heroically Opposes the US" is a narrative. The myth foreshadows, almost predetermines the narrative -- but different narratives may use the same myth, as in "Once Again the US presses Heroically on in spite of Cowardly, Appeasing Europe".

And myth is just narrative with a supernatural, metaphysical, or abstract element that pretends to be inevitable and impossible to argue with.

Given what I've just said, you won't be surprised that I disagree. Narrative based on a myth or myths may have a pretension to inevitability, as in the Last Days or the Dictatorship of the Proletariat (which are perhaps based on End-of-History myths (?)), but they don't have to be.

Worse, realism isn't what gives narratives their power. What does that is presentation - the correct delivery, supported by signifiers of dominance, aggression and high social status, and personal emotional appeal, is more likely to be convincing than a narrative based on factual accurate predictive argument.

  1. Realism : I agree on this as narrative style. Later you give more detail with "factual predictive argument". By no means should a myth or fundamental narrative be factual and predictive. Predictive, at this level, is like "We Will all go to Heaven" or "a Cargo Ship Will Come", in other words, quasi-religious. At another level of discourse, however, factual, predictive -- rational, scientific -- methods will be necessary, see our discussion above with brunoken

  2. Can you say more about "delivery", "signifiers of dominance, aggression and high social status" and "emotional appeal" since you seem to have some fairly clear ideas there?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Apr 15th, 2006 at 09:14:54 AM EST
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We are reading form the same playbook.

Your position is my position. But I do not think the outcome proposal would be very differnt taking our aproach to the subject and Dodo's approach.

At the end is all about a set of myths and genral narratives. Narratives would use a good network of other myhts. Among them, factual predictions will play a very basic and important role. But there will not only be factual predictions. Narratives should be compelling, well-though, self-explanatory and with any kind of "myth".

Dodo: I have also notice that you relate myth with something abstract or weird external forces. These were the Greeks myths which used these kind of narrative to construct their myths. But this is a too narrow definition for myth. Myts is any general structure of symbolic elements (narratives, concepts, ideas, tales, other myths) which are linked among them to explain all or a very broad aspect of our world. The construction of the reality is also mythical. What our mind focus on, what we look for,... in the West we focus in factual predictions, in most other cultures this is irrelevant, this does not explain the world...it only explains a small set and mostly irrelevant part of the world.

In your example: Ok, yes this asteroid is gonna hit us because there are certain laws of physics, gravitation and the orbit.... Most cultures and most people do not give Shi* about that. The question is why this particuar asteroid with these laws happened to have the exact trajectory needed to hit the Earth.

Our answer is chance...any of the cultures would laugh at this stupid and first-grade interpretation. You may say that they need to beleive in foreign entitities. Not necessay, the explanations using God are only a small fraction of the explanations.
There are a lot of explanation for what really matters for a ot of people: Why?
Luckily we agree that we can not leave all these people that are worried more about the mythical Why? just because they do not focus as much as we do on the mythical How?

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sat Apr 15th, 2006 at 10:13:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
we can not leave all these people that are worried more about the mythical Why? just because they do not focus as much as we do on the mythical How?

That's so important that I double-framed it!!!

From brunoken above :

we need to make it theoretically compelling: it has got to make sense for Joe and Jane Main Street, and it has to help them make sense out of their own real-world experiences.

A mythical narrative must reveal, and to do so it must first address the question Why?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Apr 15th, 2006 at 12:59:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Dodo: I have also notice that you relate myth with something abstract or weird external forces.

Not at all, I used it in your (the broadest) sense. But your mythology of closet-positivist (ex)scientists made you understand my lines as a reference to the myth of rationality :-)

Without recapitulating my long reply below, regarding the asteroid strike, this would mean: whether we blame Sky Pixies or Gravity or The Wrath Of God, if say we could predict where it will strike and when in advance, our mythology will be strong, On the other hand, if we erect a mythology saying that Asteroids Will Burn Completely in The Atmosphere/Chief Sky Pixie Kicks Asteroids Back Into Space/ God Wouldn't Do That, He Loves Us, then not only will the asteroid fry our asses but the mythology will be brought down. (At least in its orignal form - then again, I woulnd't think that a modified version likely to emerge after such a 'test' would make it worth to even strive to build a mythology in the first place...)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Apr 16th, 2006 at 12:51:31 PM EST
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