Myth: Ideology vs Fabulation

Myth is a difficult subject to discuss without forcing our conclusions by the definitions we use. For me myth is a system of beliefs and practices that give meaning and value to our lives. It has two faces:

1) a face directed towards the assemlages of power in a given society, serving to reinforce, legitimate, and naturalise the institutions and significations of that society (or of a more or less definite sub-group). This is the ideological face, in an Althusserian or Zizekian sense that includes the structuring practices of that society.

2) a face directed towards the production of meaning and value and subjectivity, serving to render and maintain our lives intelligible and open to at least certain types of intensities and becomings of the wild world of which we are a part. This is the spiritual face, in a Deleuzian or Jungian sense of non-creedal fabulation.

Levi Bryant recently (here and here) has criticised myth from a point of view that assigns it uniquely to face (1). Myth posits a transcendent term and naturalises a community under an essence, it negates difference and legitimates and incites hatred and oppression.

For thinkers like Jung and Hillman, myth is a non-codified non-creedal producion of the unconscious, something very akin to Deleuze and Guattari’s, and Robert Scholes’, notion of fabulation. A more recent example is ALL THINGS SHINING which argues for a fabulatory reading of MOBY-DICK (Deleuze and Guattari are in total agreement with such a reading, and in A THOUSAND PLATEAUS, go so far as to call MOBY-DICK « one of the greatest masterpieces of becoming », p268), and of certain key literary works of the Western Tradition. Fabulation is turned towards the present and towards the future, without creedal legitimations and teleological justifications.

Of course, things have come a long way since MOBY-DICK, and Ted Friedman , in his articles and his interviews and his podcast and in the book he is writing, is doing a lot to update the discussion by talking about fantasy and science-fiction from a consciously post-structuralist, post-marxist, post-jungian perspective.

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