Category Archives: myth

The Creative Brain: Myths and Truths

By Anna Abraham (2024)

Drawing on theoretical and empirical work in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, Anna Abraham offers an examination of human creativity that reveals the true complexity underlying our conventional beliefs about the brain. The chapters in the book explore the myth of the right brain as the hemisphere responsible for creativity; the relationship between madness and creativity, psychedelics and creativity, atypical brains and creativity, and intelligence and creativity; the various functions of dopamine; and lastly, the default mode revolution, which theorized that the brain regions most likely to be involved in the creative process are those areas of the brain that are most active during rest or mind-wandering.

Posted in consciousness, history, myth, science

Lo—TEK: Design by Radical Indigenism

By Julia Watson (2019)

Three hundred years ago, intellectuals of the European Enlightenment constructed a mythology of technology. Influenced by a confluence of humanism, colonialism, and racism, this mythology ignored local wisdom and indigenous innovation, deeming it primitive. Today, we have slowly come to realize that the legacy of this mythology is haunting us.

Designers understand the urgency of reducing humanity’s negative environmental impact, yet perpetuate the same mythology of technology that relies on exploiting nature. Responding to climate change by building hard infrastructures and favoring high-tech homogenous design, we are ignoring millennia-old knowledge of how to live in symbiosis with nature. Without implementing soft systems that use biodiversity as a building block, designs remain inherently unsustainable.

Lo—TEK, derived from Traditional Ecological Knowledge, is a cumulative body of multigenerational knowledge, practices, and beliefs, countering the idea that indigenous innovation is primitive and exists isolated from technology. It is sophisticated and designed to sustainably work with complex ecosystems.

Posted in art, culture, design, environment, history, myth, science, technology

Space Is the Place: The Lives And Times Of Sun Ra

By John F. Szwed (1998)

Sun Ra, a.k.a. Herman Poole “Sonny” Blount (1914–1993), has been hailed as “one of the great big-band leaders, pianists, and surrealists of jazz” (New York Times) and as “the missing link between Duke Ellington and Public Enemy” (Rolling Stone). Composer, keyboardist, bandleader, philosopher, poet, and self-proclaimed extraterrestrial from Saturn, Sun Ra led his “Intergalactic Arkestra” of thirty-plus musicians in a career that ranged from boogie-woogie and swing to be-bop, free jazz, fusion, and New Age music. This definitive biography reveals the life, philosophy, and musical growth of one of the twentieth century’s greatest avant-garde musicians.

Posted in art, biography, music, myth, science

Hallucinations

By Oliver Sacks (2013)

To many people, hallucinations imply madness, but in fact they are a common part of the human experience. These sensory distortions range from the shimmering zigzags of a visual migraine to powerful visions brought on by fever, injuries, drugs, sensory deprivation, exhaustion, or even grief. Hallucinations doubtless lie behind many mythological traditions, literary inventions, and religious epiphanies. Drawing on his own experiences, a wealth of clinical cases from among his patients, and famous historical examples ranging from Dostoevsky to Lewis Carroll, the legendary neurologist Oliver Sacks investigates the mystery of these sensory deceptions: what they say about the working of our brains, how they have influenced our folklore and culture, and why the potential for hallucination is present in us all.

Posted in consciousness, culture, myth, science

Joseph Beuys in America: Energy Plan for the Western Man

By Joseph Beuys (1993)
Joseph Beuys, artist and scholar, was the most influential thinker among artists of the postwar generation. He inspired the avant-garde with his impassioned appeals for democratic anarchy, and actually founded a string of ‘free universities’ across Europe. His credo was “Every man is an artist.” In 1974, he accepted an invitation to visit the U.S. His travels too him to New York, Chicago, and Minneapolis, and he called the trip – fact an extended performance piece – “Energy Plan for the Western Man.” Beuys’ writings have never before been collected in any language, and most of the interviews and speeches in Joseph Beuys in America have never before appeared in book form.

Posted in art, education, history, interview, myth, philosophy, politics, science

The Portable Jung

Edited by joseph Campbell (1971)
In making this masterful selection from the vast corpus of Carl Jung’s writings, Joseph Campbell has aimed to introduce the elementary terms and themes of analytical psychology and to provide an overall understanding of the scope and direction of Jung’s entire works.

Posted in consciousness, myth, psychology

The Power of Myth

By Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers (1988)
Among his many gifts, Joseph Campbell’s most impressive was the unique ability to take a contemporary situation, such as the murder and funeral of President John F. Kennedy, and help us understand its impact in the context of ancient mythology. Herein lies the power of The Power of Myth, showing how humans are apt to create and live out the themes of mythology. Based on a six-part PBS television series hosted by Bill Moyers, this classic is especially compelling because of its engaging question-and-answer format, creating an easy, conversational approach to complicated and esoteric topics. For example, when discussing the mythology of heroes, Campbell and Moyers smoothly segue from the Sumerian sky goddess Inanna to Star Wars’ mercenary-turned-hero, Han Solo. Most impressive is Campbell’s encyclopedic knowledge of myths, demonstrated in his ability to recall the details and archetypes of almost any story, from any point and history, and translate it into a lesson for spiritual living in the here and now.

Posted in culture, history, interview, myth

Apocalypse Culture

Edited by Adam Parfrey (1987)
“Apocalypse Culture is compulsory reading for all those concerned with the crisis of our times. An extraordinary collection unlike anything I have ever encountered. These are the terminal documents of the twentieth century.” -J.G. Ballard

Posted in culture, myth, philosophy