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Mythogenesis

Myth is an idealized world view that encourages the social cluster’s development.
“Myth is the spice that makes even the most tasteless reality delicious.”
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Myth is an idealized vision of the world, it behaviors and heroes who serve as an example for person and encourage him or her to change (evolve).

Myth forms the ideal model of behavior, which is welcome and encouraged in this society, and demonstrates a way to achieve personal ideal future in a collective idea of this society’s ideal future.

Myth can be based on real and fictional facts. But specific to the society world view is always at its core.

An event or the fact mythologizing can occur spontaneously and or can be designed. Spontaneous mythologizing usually takes place in a situation of low ideology fullness (ideal) society’s horizon. Spontaneous mythologizing is the collective dreams of the ideal behavior embodiment.

Designed mythologizing is a purposeful creation of stories that demonstrate the correctness and social approval of certain behaviors.

Design myths are made to encourage society to the actions necessary for the developed future’s realization.

Thus spontaneous mythologizing helps to expand the existing vision of the future, and the designed one is a tool for building a different future.

Hence, mythogenesis is an attractive behavior models statement results in motivation (impulse) to the broadest possible group of people to follow this model to achieve the developed future.

 

The peak of mythogenesis is a fairy tale – metaphorical and understandable statement of basic social principles. Comparing the various societies (cultures) tales in different periods of time, we can define this society basic principles, and identify its development key drivers.

In modern society mythogenesis continues to be one of the key instruments of development of the social system’s management for almost any level from small business companies to social organizations, including a number of countries.

In fact, the myths are carried out simultaneously the social attractors’ function (Guiding Star) and the function of universal algorithms conduct adequate by given society.

One good example of this myth is the Stakhanovism in 30ies of XX century in the Soviet Union. Mythologizing Alexei Stakhanov – miner with ultra-high productivity – allowed to form a long-term attractor in Soviet society and strengthened the “personal use” formula, “the high social status achievement without the need for a deep personal education.” Also this fixed algorithm for the success for the broad masses of people: production quotas over-fulfillment equal to personal well-being and honor.

Construction of the Stakhanovism myth was largely successful due to strong media support: the perfect image of Stakhanov’s reality was actually imposed by a dominant communications through the media.

In modern society through increasing people’s communication connectivity “Stakhanovism” approach to mythogenesis is significantly lost its effectiveness as the broad masses of people significantly increased opportunity for analysis (matching) mythical situation and its actual implementation. And it is important to understand that the myth is not self-existent, it lives only in people’s minds.  The more people believe in myth the stronger it becomes.

But, as already mentioned, mythology as an instrument of society’s moderation not only lost but also increased its importance in modern multipolar world.

Today the one-dimensional “Stakhanovism” myths are ones again replaced with multivariate model tales. Fairy tales with good and evil, domestic and abstract. There is a good or not so good hero and trials that makes it stronger… Even in the most simple tale / myth story itself, dynamics and drama present. And this is different from the linear plots of myths engineered of the middle and late twentieth century.

Today we need to understand not only which myth is needed for the project, but how it will be perceived (supported) in horizontal social communication.

It is not enough to understand what implementing the myth purpose, but it is important to be aware of how it will be authentic and supported by society. Otherwise, you can get the opposite effect – the rejection by society reaction and the countermyth’s birth. Even in a situation of media dominance (and in particular cases – all the media accountability to one ideological center) artificially born myth is almost always faced with the countermith’s emergence. Just as the official (dominant) culture always has a counterculture just built on the mood of protest.

Dramatic myths with full story minimize this risk because they are more attractive to an outside observer primarily due to the different interpretations possibility of the above and more personalization (involvement) of the audience in relation to the myth.

In practice

Myth creation is based on a fairly simple algorithm:

  • Voids identification (lack of necessary images) in the subject’s ideological horizon (more detailed description can be found in the chapter “Reputational matrix”).
  • Search for the real facts and events, the most relevant in identified voids (“heroes vacancies”).
  • Findings idealization – strengthening required for the project component within. Or inventing stories required in a suitable situation in reality absence.
  •  Myth check – testing its perception with respondent groups.
  • Created myth legalization – its realization in society through building relationships to the myth from both social groups and individuals.