Just as organizational myths are formed by groups of individuals with personal myths coming together and ‘agreeing’ on the characters, plot lines and terrain for the organizational story, so cultural myths are created by communities and society making ‘agreements’ about the larger cultural narratives by which they all live by. The American Declaration of Independence can be seen as one of the core stories of the current American cultural narrative. Its statement that ‘All men possess certain unalienable rights. These rights are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’, has determined the American peoples decisions in political, education and health care systems (to name just a few of the impacts of this particular cultural story !).
Cultural myths are often presented and disguised as ‘history’, ‘fact’ and ‘impartial journalism’ which as we know are always biased on the beliefs and stories of whomever is presenting these accounts to the public. It is only when we become aware where the stories come from and how they influence the information we are given, that we can free ourselves to make choices as to whether we will live by them or not.
Changing our cultural narratives
Cultural stories can shift and change over time as they are reinterpreted by each generation that encounters them. We each have the choice whether we accept or reject the cultural narrative that is taught to us by our parents, teachers and media. The first stage in this as is to develop an awareness of the story that is operating at the core of societies ‘givens’. Across the world for centuries, women have accepted the cultural story role of being ‘second to the men’. As we are now seeing in countries across the world, new generations of women are now rejecting this particular cultural myth and are making conscious choices to change the characters and story line. The result is something stronger and more empowering for both women and men.
It takes a collection of brave, pioneering souls to rewrite our cultural myths. In our growing global society, using the benefits of rapid, cheap, uncontrolled communication, this appears to be happening faster than ever before. As citizens of our human culture, we all have a choice as to how we participate in our cultural stories. Will we continue to create narratives that are beneficial to our specific social group alone or will we rewrite the story to create a sustainable, life-supporting journey for all of humanity and the creatures that share this beautiful planet with us?
The choice is ours.
It is truly an exciting time to be a conscious human ‘storyteller’ on earth.