Stories rule us. They define our motivations, our understandings of our surroundings, our cultures, our values, our relationships with each other and ourselves. I often wonder if stories create us, as opposed to the other way around.
I find a lot of truth in Joseph Campbell's position on mythology. That myth and story are expressions of a culture trying to make sense of the universe around them. These stories become integral parts of the cultures psyche, motivations, reverence, philosophies, etc. So an indigenous culture might have stories revering local animal and plant spirits, because they count on these to survive, as well as elaborate stories using metaphor and symbol to talk about the relationships between the elements. These stories allow a culture to develop connections with each other and with the natural world, as well as provide a map for survival. In modern western culture, we have not only taken our stories literally instead of metaphorically, but we are using outdated stories that pertain to a lifestyle prevalent 2000 years ago in an entirely different scientific age. We are desperately trying to make these stories relate to modern science and life, which of course is not possible, nor is it useful. Stories and mythology need to be current as they are necessary elements to our culture and the psyche of our cultures inhabitants.
I believe it is the place of modern artists to be offering new mythologies and stories for our time. This is the only way i can see instigating a vast cultural shift. Stories create us, not the other way around.
But, how do we get people to listen to these new stories? How do we get these stories to shine through the old ones, when the old ones are so heavily embraced?