Modern-Day Mythology. What is the Value of a Legend?
Legends and myths have always served as a means of organizing social and cultural life and providing a more comprehensive understanding of the world. They are typically associated with phenomena and facts that are not easily explained. In the modern world, mythology is often juxtaposed with scientific knowledge. However, despite scientific progress, myths persist in the human psyche, evolving and adapting to new forms while remaining an inherent part of our culture. The mythological view of the world always provides ready-made answers, contrasting with rational thinking, which raises challenging questions. There are no contradictions, and all narratives are easily comprehensible. The enduring presence of mythology throughout history can be attributed to its ability to shape a comprehensive understanding of the world. One of its primary functions is to create stereotypes that can easily influence the collective consciousness. The second function is compensatory, as myths explain incomprehensible phenomena and provide explanations of the world, thus compensating for gaps in knowledge. The third function is symbolic, as the significance of myth lies not in its literal content but rather in its interpretation. In today's society, the incessant flow of diverse information is eroding our understanding of what ought to be and how it should be. People are finding it increasingly difficult to navigate the ever-changing external world and are seeking some form of anchor to guide them through the information space. The information revolution has made it easier to manipulate the collective consciousness. Unlike in the past when people placed faith in super-powerful deities and animals, today myths have permeated mass culture and are extending their influence into the realms of politics and economics. Modern society now hosts an abundance of legends and myths compared to those once found in ancient tribes and nations. What are today’s prevalent myths? How can we explain the current state of affairs? Are our actions a form of myth, and how do they relate to real life?
Maxim Safonov, Professor, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA)
Igor Butman, Musician, Composer
Michael Goddard, President, Netley Group
Roman Karmanov, Chief Executive Officer, Presidential Fund for Cultural Initiatives
Mikhail Piotrovsky, General Director, The State Hermitage Museum
Vyacheslav Fetisov, Goodwill Ambassador, The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP); Chairman, All-Russian Society of Nature Conservation