“Just before his death Joseph Campbell was interviewed by Bill Moyers and that interview was later turned into the documentary, “The Power of Myth.” In this interview he postulated the idea that humanity was in need of new mythologies. Ones that were not rooted in the ancient world as all our current ones are. But myth’s that would help us navigate this new and strange world we are creating.”
Willi, I know you have lots of ongoing projects going. Please tell us about them.
Planetshifter.com Magazine (1st Gen site)
openmythsource.com (2nd Gen site)
NewMythologist.com (3rd Gen Site)
Myth Lab (9 completed) is an ongoing process to produce New Myths
New Myths (50 published to-date)
Interviews with Thought Leaders (~ 450 published)
eBooks (13 released)
Videos (135 posted)
Children’s Institute for New Mythology
I want to know more about Myth Lab; in particular, we all tell ourselves stories to make sense of our world. How is myth different from these common stories?
Myth Lab and the New Myths incorporate permaculture and Transition training and values and take a proactive approach to classic mythology that is sleeping with the big boy brands and their trademarks that are not working in our age.
The Myth Lab process model includes discovering an Artifact and mythic imprinting. The goal is to integrate permaculture, transition, Nature and sustainability with the emerging values and struggles in the Chaos Age. Myth Lab is designed as an interactive, open source and iterative experience. One goal is clear: we need to build new values and myths to build new Post-Chaos Era food and governance systems.
Myth Lab Key Terms:
Artifact – The New Myth Artifact is a Nature-Human symbol; examples include graffiti, a bill board, film clip, and a permaculture garden, with special powers and messages to both present and future.
Mythos – The pattern of basic values and attitudes of a people characteristically transmitted through myths and the arts. What is the mythos of the Post-Chaos Era?
New Mythology – Is a call for new Nature-based, globally integrated stories independent of any classic mythologies. New Mythology incorporates new symbols, alchemy and rituals with an eye on the future.
The Transition Movement includes new business exchange schemes where waste is used by another business; garden sharing that allows neighbors to re-use barren land. The movement encourages people to choose local food, including support for smart transit and sharing / barter.
Mythic Imprinting – Imprinting is defined as a two-way interaction with a selected Artifact that generates synergistic meaning for both creators and the reader. This iterative and transmutative process is grounded in the initiation, journey and hero work from Joseph Campbell and is one way that neighborhood artifacts can help participants generate new songs, poems and myths.
8 Key Elements in the New Mythology include:
1. Localization – back to sustainability and community; self-sufficiency
2. Nature- Centric
5. Universal themes(s) and message
6. Para-Normal in conflict or characters
7. Initiation, Journey and Hero
8. Permaculture & Transition: values and principles
Do myths evolve? If so, how; and especially, can they be made to evolve by our conscious intention?
Humans create myths in response to their Age; once these stories are popularized, they are passed on to new generations largely unchanged. It is my contention that new myths are needed for our new challenges and dangers. Whether the classic myths are applicable wholly or in part to our Climate Crisis Age is a good TED question.
By creating new myths via conscious intention we evolve. When we stop creating new myths, we perish.
One recent myth I was reading on your website points to our near-future using the terms Pre-Chaos, Chaos, and Post-Chaos. Can you explain? Can we avoid Chaos, in your view? And are you hopeful we will transition to a sustainable future?
The piece that you are referring to is The Cascadia Funnel and the Last 3 Eras on Earth. New Myth 25.
This an early New Myth supported by permaculture ethics. I see that humankind is struggling against each other in the present Chaos Era but that we can prepare ourselves for cooperation in the Post-Chaos Era. Many of the New Myths are set in the Post-Chaos Era and are my teaching tools for our children’s survival.
How can we better spread myth and storytelling that bypasses the existing paradigm?
I’d love see Myth Lab in schools and in Scouting. We need to move on from the mind bending control of organized religion and enjoy the broad cultural changes and community building possible with new mythologies.
We are creating a new world together now and we are messing it up! New Myths are a road map to this new place. They will define the communities and Heros and initiations for the succession.
What is something I can do today to prepare for our Post-Chaos future?
Re-organize and control the allocators and resources at your City Hall. This would allow us better control over land use decisions and help to bring people together without the apathy and insider greed that we have now.
I also know you are a champion of permaculture. What would you like us to understand about that way of life?
Well, your sources are off here! Many months ago I came to the conclusion that permaculture (or technology) alone will not “save” us. Without land to design, permaculture is a 30 year old philosophy. I need to be an integrator, combining the best of many fads, movements and the like in a hybrid resource, like my LinkedIn Group (New Mythology, Permaculture & Transition) that makes new myths and brings down the corporate power structure that put us in this Era in the first place. Note that most permaculturists practice capitalism while getting unpaid interns to the dirt work.
Can you briefly describe how the arc of your life has brought you to the awareness you have today?
There are learning dots and consciousness jumps in my bio for sure. My love for Nature started early and continues to inform my Myth making today. I do not see this process as an arc however; how about a spark rising up from a camp fire?
What is an accomplishment you would like people to understand about you?
That I am striving to stay a spiritual being; to enjoy life long assistance from unseen and un-definable friendly forces.
What would you like to tell us that I haven’t asked about yet?
I was diagnosed at age 19 with bi-polar disorder. Approximately 22 years and 12 manic episodes later my psyche stabilized and the chaotic energies of manic –depression became an asset.
How can people best follow your work?
Everything gets loaded on PlanetShifter.com Magazine first regardless of other destinations.
Willi Paul’s Bio -
Active in the sustainability, permaculture, transition, sacred Nature, new alchemy and mythology space since the launch of PlanetShifter.com Magazine on EarthDay 2009, Willi’s network now includes four web sites, a LinkedIn group, 3 tweeter accounts, a G+ site, multiple blog sites, and multiple list serves. In 1996 Mr. Paul was instrumental in the design of the emerging online community space in his Master’s Thesis: “The Electronic Charrette”. He was active in many small town design visits with the Minnesota Design Team. Mr. Paul has released 12 eBooks, 2140 + posts on PlanetShifter.com Magazine, and over 500 interviews with global leaders (site 1 & site 2). He has created 48 New Myths to date and has been interviewed over 25 times in blogs and journals.
Willi earned his permaculture design certification in August 2011 at the Urban Permaculture Institute, SF. Please see his cutting-edge article at the Joseph Campbell Foundation and his pioneering videos on YouTube. His current focus is Myth Lab - a project that Willi presented at his third Northwest Permaculture Convergence in Portland, OR. As a Senior Manager, Mr. Paul has worked for several Northern California sustainability, civil and software engineering firms. He now works part-time as a design / relocation consultant in the Bay Area.
Willi’s consulting work is at NewMythologist.com
New Mythologist & Transition Entrepreneur
newmythologist.com | PlanetShifter.com Magazine | openmythsource.com
@planetshifter @openmythsource @newmythologist
415-407-4688 | pscompub at gmail.com