Mythology of State

The power of the individual is stripped away in a mythology that shows how individual desire invites opportunism and/or hedonism, behavior unmindful of the realm. In Virgil's Aeneid, an epic of twelve books of hexameter verse (19 B. C. ), Aeneas' love for Dido is careless emotion which interferes with his divine progress and destiny, the founding of Rome. True heroic action is not demonstrated by a lone, charismatic figure or any other demigod of individuality. Heroism is an acceptance of duty and deep-rooted seriousness from which social order originates, not in the splendid and passionate tales of love and human freedom, but in the subjugation of human desire to the irrefutable power and authority of the State.

John F. Kennedy's Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961--this speech contains the famous: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country" line. Kennedy says that each generation of Americans will have to redefine its loyalty to this country.

Speeches by Theodore Roosevelt--Roosevelt's "The Duties of the American Citizenship" declares that every man and woman must devote a reasonable share of their time to political duties and the Political life of the community. In 1908, Roosevelt declared that individualism had transmogrified into profiteering and the wasteful development of our natural resources. Abraham Lincoln in the "Gettysburg Address" declares that heroes, the honored dead, properly gave their lives so that the Nation might live. Lincoln will declare that the people are the source of the political power of the State and in this he connects with Thoreau. Thomas Jefferson details in one-liners the meaning of good government. Jefferson believes that government is a necessity.

Roman Civilization


Virgil's Aeneid: Thelma and Louise brought low.

Melville's Billy Budd

Billy Budd: a chapter by chapter summary
Billy Budd, A Study Guide

Land Use and Evironmental Ethics: Tragedy of Commons


World War II and propaganda: Power of Persuasion--words, posters, and films waged a constant battle for the hearts and minds of American citizenry in WW II.

Military Duty
: Colin Powell

Hollywood Goes to War:

Casablanca--city of hope and despair located in French Morocco in North Africa--the meeting place of adventurers, fugitives, criminals, and refugees lured into this dangerous oasis by the hope of escape to the Americas.

War Films--most difficult of genres to define, records and shapes oscillating attitudes towards war.

Biology: In the mythology of the state, salvation is achieved through acceptance and understanding of human limitation. The tendency is to turn outward in search of order and stability in the world. In biological science, the system of classification known as binomial nomenclature, introduced by Carolus Linnaeus, is part of mythology--the phrase "Kingdom of Living Things" (as metonymy) implies human social systems can be utilized to codify the natural world in general. We must acknowledge that the categorizing of all living things into genus and species is--regardless of how accurate--an artifice born out of our peremptoriness to systematize the known world. Such desire is not new. In the second account of creation in Genesis, "Lord God" asks Adam to name the creatures of the land and in doing so humans construct a taxonomy for ordering life.

Psychology: Freud's Civilization and its Discontents directly addresses the dialectic between the Myth of Self and the Myth of State. Freud suggests that the creation of civilization would perhaps be most successful if the happiness of the individual was not considered at all. This part of his discussion seems to be more Roman than Greek, if indeed we can come to see ancient mythology underpinning Freud's commentary.