So, if Objectivism is to serve as a mythological system, what else is missing from it? Which other important transitions does it not supply metaphors for?
The myth function of religion might be one of the reasons Objectivism is easily seen by many as a religion with Atlas Shrugged as the Objectivist Bible.
Great suite of questions and interesting sidelights on Campbell's attempts at demystifying mythic cultures and trends. Personally, I find Campbell's work to be interesting but, as the Scottish say, 'not proven.'
I would agree with a thesis that suggests Objectivism provides a framework or skeleton of myth (or, pace Ellen Stuttle, a mythos) in the sense of a powerful and emotionally satisfying story of life and its meaning, of humankind's purpose and of humankind's qualities and drive. But of course, the framework is newish and mostly unelaborated in comparison to other frames that have grown institutions and mass followings or 'cults' . . . it is akin to a/the Myth of America (and even has some of the same cast) as a founding/genesis story, yet as with the Myth Of America, it is contested and reclad in myriad interpretions. The power is rather diffuse and held in common with other mythic traditions. It is non-sectarian -- a strength, and non-sectarian -- a weakness. Someone like me, who contests much of the Randian personal myth, can go along with the skeleton (Reason, Freedom, Justice) but be appalled at its crusts and cladding. For me personally, there is a hole in Objectivism as Myth -- it does not satisfy me emotionally in my understanding of human nature. It does not speak to me or resonate with me in its various applications to date. It has not built a unity or capitalized its universalism effectively.
I love the Myth of America (Reason, Freedom, Justice) in its universalism and its ecumenicalism, but do not similarly live by any Myth Of America (Rand) . . . if you can see the difference.
As you allude to, Ninth, Objectivism has little ritual
besides self-aware identification and value-reinforcement (or even a type of psychological visibility) to accompany life passages, though Rand's fiction can offer balm and identification to a youngster navigating adolescence.
To someone navigating other life crises or communal/familial passages, it offers not so much, and compared to other existing systems of myth, it seems to offer nothing of the same order -- no communal precincts, supplications, celebrations and rites of passage. So, on the face of it, Objectivism can never provide a mythic system that approaches the power and institutional depth of its 'competitors.' It simply was not built as any kind of Total System Of Thought And Behaviour And Guide To Living -- though some Objectivish folk try to use it as such. There is no uniting ritual that could ever collect its adherents and believers to assemble under one tent. Fisticuffs would erupt at the first ecumenical blessing, as High Priestess Diana Hsieh can attest . . .
But, and more interestingly, further Objectivish/Objectivist myths have grown, like a million mini-myth polyps on a coral reef.
Mini-mythic guides to good living: Objectivish parenting, Objectivish eating, Objectivish sharia and fatwa, Objectivish exercise, Objectivish gardening, Objectivish marriage, Objectivish death rites, Objectivish communal rites.
Edited by william.scherk, 19 May 2011 - 08:51 AM.