Monday, June 13, 2005

What is the role of myth in America today? Is there a quest that Americans undertake? In other societies over the course of history quests were undertaken to defeat death, to save someone, or for other semi-religious reasons. Is the American quest to become rich and/or famous? Is the American dream to have a big house in the suburbs and to send your kids to college?

I think about mythology and what it means, and I feel sad for America. In Fight Club Tyler Durden says:

"Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off."

The difference between my point of view and Tyler Durden's is that I think that America has a long way to go before society changes. The sense of desperation with the shallowness of American life has not yet congealed into a force that can change anything. Any revelations are likely to be personal and private, as opposed to societal. There are people that choose to step off of the corporate treadmill, but it's not a movement. For some of these people, the quest is for self-sufficiency, for others it's a more creative way of life.


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