Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Monday Musings 309 :The mythologies of individual narratives

Monday Musings:The mythologies of individual narratives
All of us have a mythology about ourselves. Then there is truth – the layers of which I guess no one will ever know, including us.
Our mythology suffers from all the abuses that classical myths suffer from – they are always partial telling of the events (assuming that the events even happened), the details are often a casualty because after a while no one has any interest in corroborating a story with facts, nor are facts available – only the myth survives, and last but certainly the most diabolical – such mythology is always designed to make us look better than we were.
We like to weave a mythology about ourselves based on how things should be and not really how things really are. We amplify our heroics however feeble they might be and we clinically erase the evidence of our frailties. Luckily time is a great plastic surgeon.
The myth building really begins to happen when the same story gets repeated again and again – the cementing is in the constant retelling – like the jaded party/get together jokes that get retold when school /college friends or even ex colleagues tell every time they meet. . You shall notice the classical signs of mythology at work – all evidence of acrimony, deceit, pettiness, and envy and power struggle carefully sanitised – only the myth of laughter, innocence, bonhomie and undying friendships retold.
(Disclosure- I had a class get together yesterday but this paragraph was written 24 hours before that)
Let me illustrate cases of such mythologies we weave about ourselves – only to get an idea about the phenomena; it is impossible to give a comprehensive account of them as there are as many myths that individuals build as many billions of people on earth – may be more.
The myth of uninterrupted and effortless success (even when you have slogged your way through), the myth of a great professional (even when you are keeping the boat afloat somehow through the skin of your teeth), the myth of being a good company (even when you hate every minute of socialising of any kind), the myth of a good friend (no one ever tells you that in his/her mind you have already been murdered because you are an assault to his/her senses), the myth of a great partner (even Gods will let you down eventually if you are together with Him – it is just a matter of time), the myth of a sacrificing and selfless adult who for others have always given up on his/her ambitions/comfort/desires, – and to my mind the most sinister myth of all – the myth of a victim (of how you were not at fault and how unfair it is for you to be the recipient of the all the unfairness in the world) – so on and so forth.
(Disclosure: I suffer from many of the above)
We all are constant creators, propagators and perpetuators of our own mythology. There are only two kinds of people on this - One who do not have finesse in mythology building and are noticed immediately for their uncouth and crude attempts; others who are artists as they do this subtly and sophistication. There is not much of a difference between these two as both are frauds. The difference only is in the quality of the fraud.
I can imagine why we do it. It makes our own mundane
existence and mediocrity so much more tolerable. It helps in drowning that nagging voice inside us which is trying to remind us of how hopelessly frail our egos have been, how unceremonious our successes have been, how meaningless our gloating’s have been and how utterly forgettable our so called victories have been. (If it helps – ‘’at the end of the game, the king and the pawn both go back in the same box’’).
In that rare moment of wakefulness amidst the delirium whenever I become aware of the (fraud) mythologies about myself that I have gloated or perpetuated about myself , I have one of the two emotions – either I feel very petty and small or I feel the resolve to bridge the gap between the fact and the fiction.
Which of the two happens more often? – well in trying to answer that would be the birth of yet another mythology of self.
Guru || || @musingsbyguru

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