I read this thin book, like 100ish pages, over the weekend and it BLEW MY MIND. Yes I had to put it in all capital letters. It is about the creation of a new myth, the role of consciousness in the creation of that myth, and Jung.
Ever since childhood I have been obsessed with mythology, and more broadly, with stories that ground our lives. (I also listened to a lot of Joseph Campbell and the power of myth as a young girl.) When I applied to grad school, before iphones, my application essay was about the lack of mythology in our age and the need for a new myth. I used the example of multiple listserves as sort of multiple consciousnesses that pulled my attention, as multiple myths if you will. Today it is even worse. The mythology of instagram is different from the mythology of github, or the mythology of daybreakers.
Even the new myths, like detective stories or westerns are unsatisfactory. They no longer satisfy a wide range of people who are excluded by this mythology (Like in the case of westerns, non white males, first nations people, non-americans). In the past there would be no choice but to submit to this mythology, but today there is an ability to exercise freedom of thought, if not freedom of action (although many places do have freedom of action as well).
There is a popular conception that our new age will not have one overriding myth, but instead we will have multiple myths that will accommodate the myriad possible freedoms that many people in liberal democracies can enjoy with how they choose to live their lives. Although I wonder if that is the case. Is there still not an overarching myth?
In this book the myth positied is the myth of consciousness. That the goal of every individual life is the creation of a fully conscious Self. That would mean, that I no longer act out of habit, or instinct, that every single moment, every move I make is the product of intention. The book also posits that Jung has lead the most conscious life ever – for what its worth.
If this is our new myth, to become conscious, it coincides well with the current focus on the self, and self improvement (perhaps narcissism). There is also an eternal return aspect to this myth. We are able to deposit moments of consciousness into the collective unconscious. This is what great art/literature/etc is supposed to represent. We can live forever, perhaps not in heaven, but in the collective unconscious. It is a bit out there. I would ask my shrink what he thinks, but he is on vacation.
To me this is fascinating. That our goal in life is to be as conscious as possible, and through this we can get that elusive metaphysical dream: everlasting life. This is not a myth of our past, of where we come from, but a myth of our future.