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Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Power of Myth and Magic.

Hello Troops,

There are many similarities between Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker. In fact, I sometimes wonder if JK Rowling’s world of fantasy wasn’t somehow based on Star Wars.

In both Harry Potter and Star Wars we find children of light facing dark enemies of frightening power. Both are orphans. Both had parents killed by ‘the Dark Side’. In Harry, The Dark Side is made up of an army of witches and wizards commanded by a Dark Lord. They are intent on extinguishing good and replacing it with evil. In Star Wars we see the same plot. The Dark Side in Star Wars is made up of an evil empire commanded by a different, yet remarkably similar Dark Lord. Instead of magic, Star Wars uses the ‘magic’ of technology and the Force.

Harry and Luke have extraordinary powers for their age. One uses Magic and the other the Force and technology. I believe they are essentially the same thing for story telling purposes. One power requires a wand. The other uses a pronounced mental discipline, the right DNA and a collection of cool Blasters!

The popularity and profitability of these two franchises proves the power of myth in today's society. Today we search for escapism in our entertainment. We look for a release from the common day to day grind of life. We seek parole from the Science and Discovery Channels. Millions of us spend our entertainment dollars on expeditions to the simpler days of multiple gods, demons, sorcerers, vampires and others - all spiced with magic and mystery.

The mysteries of the world and universe are plucked, dressed, and neatly served to us by science on a silver platter. Many mysteries of the past, once explained with magic and faith, are no longer mysteries. We have a good understanding of our place in the universe. We have a good understand of outer and inner space. We understand there is no Zeus on high Olympus hurling lighting bolts at the disobedient or a Poseidon deep in the depths of the sea. Science has stripped the world of these things. And strangely, we miss them.

Many come to the Space Center seeking a disconnect from the ever present world. They want the magic, mystery and fantasy of myth and story. And that is something we can deliver. We can take a youngling, put him in a uniform, and give him an imaginary starship as fantastic as any magic carpet. We give them a ship that travels to the stars at speeds once only available to the gods. Our younglings have the power of Zeus’s lightening bolts. They have the ability to transport themselves from the heavens and down to any planet. They face the overwhelming powers of darkness and, with the imaginary technology we give them, protect the good and defend the weak.

Story is the magic and myth and we are story tellers. We are the Troubadours of modern society. We nourish imagination. We take our younglings out of a world where their lives are governed by adults to a world where they have the power to make decisions and experience the consequences.

Staff and volunteers, we have five small theaters. You are on stage every time you come to work. Tell good stories. Make them magical. Think about the power of myth as you create future stories. Consider why myth is so powerful in today’s world. Recreate that magic in our ships. Our stories can be as powerful as any movie or book. It only takes you and your vivid imaginations.

Consider the following. I don't know the author but find it interesting in this discussion:

"Carl Jung also studied the timeless myths and extracted from them the essential archetypal patterns that recur over and over again in man’s individual and collective journeys. He taught that there is a collective unconscious that is empowering all humankind with essential ideals. Reading myths quickens the imagination and allows it to soar beyond the mundane into these essential ideals. A daily exposure to ideals above and beyond the secular allows creative genius to be readily accessible.

Good myths exert a powerful mental and emotional magnetism on the psyche. They pull you into the story. Be conscious of which myths attract you and which characters attract you. This will tell you something about yourself. The more you understand your own personal myth, the more creative you can be in actualizing your desired potential. Who are you, what are your greatest desires, and what do you want out of life? Know these feelings and live them creatively.

Troops, Consider the power of myth and story telling and how it applies to our work at the Space Center.

Let's get to work.

Mr. Williamson

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