Monday, December 12, 2016

Man and Myth

Social psychology tells us that friendly relationships and a lot of inevitable gossip can keep a group or organization functioning successfully as long as the number of members does not exceed 150.  Intimacy is impossible when the number of people is large. In such large organizations people will remain strangers to each other to a significant extent. How can strangers be held together for the successful functioning of the group?

Myth is the answer. Two total strangers coming from entirely different cultures can be united by a myth to such an extent that they can together fly a jet plane with hundreds of unsuspecting passengers into a skyscraper housing hundreds of innocent people.

"Any large-scale human cooperation - whether a modern state, a medieval church, an ancient city or an archaic tribe - is rooted in common myths that exist only in people's collective imagination," according to historian Yuval Noah Harari.

Holy cows bind people more strongly than plain truths because the cows appeal to our emotions while truths are abstract and hence boring. The cows work on our imagination and our passions. They can extract music and arts from our hearts. (And the entertainment of violence too.). Just imagine a poem on a simple truth such as 'water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen molecules'!

Myths bind people together. Truth is too boring to play any significant social function.

Is the present war on black money a myth or truth?  The passions it arouses among a section of the country's population give us the hints.

We were promised Rs 15 lakh each in our accounts. Now we can't even take what we saved in our accounts. The glaring contradiction notwithstanding, the leader marches on heroically because he knows how to sell myths to people.


  1. Hop for blogging contest here

  2. Yes, the leader knows very well how to sell myths to people at the maximum possible price to be extracted from them. He is successful. And nothing succeeds like success, it's an eternal truth.

    1. The leader is facing turbulent waters. Let's see how he is dealing with it.


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