I believe the modern world has inadequate myth and that at least some people are wildly dependent on myth to function at a basic level, that includes me, Jordan Peterson, Lovecraft, and maybe Mythologos.
I wish society provided me with more and more intense rituals and that I had access to atheistic ones. But as it stands most atheists are esoterically bankrupt, the churches that exist to my knowledge irritate me for having weak rituals to such a degree I share Lovecraft’s essay/rant in the silver key; and even then are targeting the wrong message.
This is mostly a reaction to 3 videos by Mythologos who has articulated a piece of my frustrations with the modern world. To summarize, he believes myth requires a context, that a story told to a primitive person while they are given a hallucinogen isn’t the same as a movie that retells it with all the modern bells and whistles of edutainment. Rambo isn’t remotely the important bit to the American civil religion and the Disneys’ version of Hercules is empty and vapid as a Chinese person watching Rambo to understand America.
And so, here are the rituals I have experienced and my thoughts on them, for clarity I was raised Mormon, and I have adopted modern western humanism and/or atheism with the grumpy alchemist myth(which would be a whole thing to articulate in itself):
When I was 8 I was baptized, for the unaware this is where a child is taken underwater with a story about cleanliness being possible. I do think it should be after the child speaks at least. What the hell are the Catholics doing with a baby and a splash of water? It could maybe involve a longer time underwater, “breath play”, in my case and the modern context it was a moment of instability. I’m not overly concerned about the christen myth here but maybe a different story about cleanliness if an atheist wishes to repeat this. I have little memory of how I felt.
Then there’s the “gift of the holy ghost”, while still a bit disoriented after baptism, I/children are surrounded by adult men who touch their head and promise protection and the possibility of positive personality traits of wisdom and patience. The supernatural element is a touch absurd here, a year after my brother died and, I think my faith was cracked where it would eventually break, supernatural protection isn’t necessary to make a child feel safe, the group of men promising to protect probably would have done it. Furthermore, there was a delay to dress and dry off after baptism; this seems frankly stupid to me, it separates the ritual into two pieces, and disorientation without follow-up seems wasted.
In my teens, I did a church-supported camping trip, involved group therapy under a different name, exhausting days outside, and sleeping uncomfortably, while learning church theory. It may have been a week with extremely limited access to technology and my time completely dictated by the church. The final day was the ritual, I and everyone my same age was blindfold and retold the story of “holding the iron rod”(I don’t remember the real name and don’t care or think it important) which the important story notes involved the hero holding the iron rod surrounded by supernatural darkness to get to safety. I was then lead to a rope and told to follow it which was a minor hike but still blindfolded, at the end I was given a letter written by my parents which I think they were encouraged to tell me I was loved and they were proud.
This is an extremely important moment for me, someone intelligent designed the experience and I thank them for it. The story reflected the experience and it was a while to prepare it and I simply didn’t know the letter from my parents was coming and it was a climax of emotion with several tricks to escalate it. Yes is manipulative, but… I have mixed feelings about the intent, but it seems postive.
The story is “blindly trust your morality”, this is a lesson I hold dear, it may be why I put my life savings into bitcoin and it made me feel whole, even when half of it was stolen by BitFinex. I can act in accordance with what I think is best and I feel complete, whole, and stable, it’s one of the few bits of my psyche I think is truly worthwhile, especially when I speak to anxiety-ridden people.
teenagers should be put in altered states and be reassured their parents love them, period. They could have given me a microdose of LSD here, I wish they did. Atheism needs the esoteric please, for the children. I’m quite upset that they tied up my parent’s approval with the church, while I did eventually untangle it, it is probably why leaving the church was hard.
I wish I had this once a decade or so.
Science: there’s this pattern where you learn some aspects of physics/engineering and some people are lead to wildly speculate, science fiction and cosmos try to inspire aw, see an Isaac Arthur podcast. It’s not a designed ritual, and it’s on average weak, but it is one and someone should design something to tell its story louder. Human engineering making nature its bitch is an important story for the modern world. With the current strength, only some spend years of their life working to make technology, rituals usually have altered states for a reason, it’s not getting deep enough.
Ancap: ancap recruitment is a debate of whataboutism, you say states must build roads I say private roads exist now, you say cops are necessary I say there are more security guards than cops and fewer accusations of abuse, somilias better off stateless, Kowloon, selling guns to runaway slaves; as with the science myth, this is a pattern of thought, and hopeful the person I’m debating with is capable of empathizing and after 2 iterations take a hint. “The lily”-cloud compared the market to biology and well “life finds a way”-guy from Jurassic park, I’m quite convinced by capitalism. Like the science one, it’s weak and an undesigned ritual, and needs more articulation, reshaping, and power.
Americain anarchism: I’ve read lots of essays from the pamphleteering era. “give me liberty or give me death”, “If this be treason, make the most of it”, “vices are not crimes”. Michael malice compiled a lovely sample in the anarchist handbook for the interested. This is the America I love, my civil religion. These essays had a hand building the good parts of America and I think America will be lost if not enough people maintain the ideas.
I, of course as an American, have given the pledge and heard the songs; these are vapid and contain next to no power. At best they will remind some of the American myth, they don’t for me as I believe in ancap which is a variant of the American civil religion, believing in further gun rights and would have been part of shays rebellion and giving/selling guns to slaves and have a complete disgust of the drug war; my America is very very different from the America of a moderate, the moderates weak rituals are powerless and empty (no wonder why blm riots are so common this year) stating for completeness.
Hopefully, my wish to have access to a modern constructed ritual that supports one of my fundamental beliefs is clear. I may try to get in contact with a satanist group to join a ritual; but…. that may feel hollow.
As a plea, if you’re an atheist of the “building an intergalactic civilization thru raw engineering” kind, please please, support and add a piece to an yet unbuilt esoteric atheism and invite me to some ritual with some power behind it.
Or anarchist, or right-wing American, or hell ex-Mormons who believe in physicalism. Someone? anyone?
For the jreg crowd, esoteric is now a word you can append to any idealogy to make a new one which means you’ll invite me to a ritual where you tell me a story and give me lsd believes in the strength of ritual.