Tag Archives | modern myths

The Myth of the Lazy Youth

As we have seen time and time again, one of the challenges of modern myths is their relative invisibility. It is the outsiders of any age, those who are alien to their own times, that make the best artist shamans, and the same goes for mythic explorers. If you are too close to a culture, you will very frequently mistake the truisms of culture, the myths, as a fact. This is true with “human nature” (as we have seen), and it is also true with our myths of labor and work.

Let’s consider the example presented when one generation judges another,

“Twenge and Kasser analyzed data from the Monitoring the Future survey, which has tracked the views of a representative sample of 17- and 18-year-old Americans since 1976. They compared the answers to key questions given by high school seniors in 2005-2007 to those provided by previous generations.

To measure materialism, the youngsters were asked to rate on a one-to-four (“not important” to “extremely important”) scale how vital they felt it was to own certain expensive items: “a new car every two to three years,” “a house of my own (instead of an apartment or condominium),” “a vacation house,” and “a motor-powered recreational vehicle.” They were also asked straightforwardly how important they felt it was to “have a lot of money.”

To measure their attitudes toward work, the seniors rated on a one-to-five scale the extent to which they agreed with a series of statements, including “I expect my work to be a very central part of my life,” and “I want to do my best in my job, even if this sometimes means working overtime.”

The researchers found a couple of disturbing trends.

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Here Come The Men in Black

Picture: "RadioKirk" (CC)

LiveScience explores UFO buffs’ stories of the mysterious Men in Black.

Were any of these stories true? It is of course possible that at some point dark-suited men from government agencies made inquiries into UFO reports; there was, after all, an Air Force program that investigated flying saucer claims in the 1950s called Project Blue Book. Government officials (including those with the military, police, Secret Service, FBI, or IRS, for example) are sometimes known to throw their weight around and intimidate people, even unintentionally. Of course, hoaxing a Men in Black encounter would be very simple, and require nothing more than three somber, dark-suited pranksters to menace a UFO eyewitness. [The Real Men in Black: Secret Service Agents (Infographic)]

Mysterious, authoritative, and menacing figures dressed in black are hardly unique to UFO mythology. In fact, folklore from around the world often describe such figures as representing Satan or other dark forces.

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