Myth - A tool of power

Mythmaking has so often in human history been used as a political tool in shaping the polity of a State. Was it not the ‘agenda of mythmaking’ that helped the progression and development of imperialism and colonization? Was it not this worldview that gave rise to the concept of superiority of the so-called ‘civilized cultures’ over so-called ‘uncivilized cultures’ and the need to civilize these cultures even if it meant genocide.     

It is this mythmaking that influences the security of most states to revolve around fear and prevents any space to view differences in a positive light. In the contemporary world of politics and globalization, identity seems to have fallen victim to mythmaking. It raises more confusion because ‘identity’ is never a static perceptual category. It is a dynamic concept that acquires itself based on the historical and situational reality. Reducing plural identity to static perception of the world enhances mythmaking into another realist perceptual category causing a state of crisis during which time collapses.

History has witnessed that the most effective weapon against the collective defiance of a people was the ‘cultural bomb.’ The effect of this ‘cultural bomb’ was to annihilate a people’s belief in their names, language, environment, unity; in their heritage of struggle, in their capacities and ultimately in themselves. It even planted serious doubts about their moral rightness in a struggle where possibilities of triumphs or victory were projected as remote and ridiculous dreams. The intended results were despair, despondency and a collective death wish. In other words they were made to think that they were no longer capable of determining their own destiny since they were no longer makers of their own culture. Such mythmaking colonized the minds of people and destroyed their struggle for political, social, economic and cultural emancipation.

The inability of fragile political and democratic institutions to respect the rights of people has contributed in creating and sustaining the ‘image of the enemy’ through the subtlest means to distort perception of human relationship. Unfortunately this very same mythmaking continues to exploit differences in the interest of the ‘powers that be.’ The ‘agenda of mythmaking’ cannot be undermined, simply because it is very effective in creating divisions through lies, resulting in the destruction of human life and human association. 

There is an urgency to examine how myths have been used as a tool of power by the powerful. Ignoring and avoiding the central question of mythmaking and its implications on society would result in strengthening the violence of silence, causing further indignity to human life. Consequently, while addressing myths, it is essential that narcissistic tendencies and apologetic models need to be transformed so that there is room to mobilize the resolve, the generosity of the human spirit and the political imagination necessary to live in hope.