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Myth & Politics: What, Why, and How? | Bird's Eye

Harry and Philip begin a month-long exploration of myth & politics. What is myth? What does it have to do with politics? How does it work? What would life be like without it?

On this episode, Harry and Philip begin a month-long exploration of myth & politics. First up for discussion - What is myth? What does it have to do with politics? Why is myth important? How does it work? What would life be like without it?

Next week we will be taking a look at the history of American political myths and where we may be headed, so don't miss out on the start of this series!


Further Reading

(email contact@spectacles.news for any of these)

  • “Anarchy is What States Make of It: The Social Construction of Power Politics,” by Alexander Wendt in International Organization.
  • “The cultural evolution of prosocial religions,” by Ara Norenzayan et. al. in Behavioral and brain Sciences.
  • “Erichthonius,” from Who’s Who in Classical Mythology, Routledge.
  • “Evolutionary Social Constructivism,” by David Sloan Wilson, in The Literary Animal, edited by Jonathan Gottschall and David Sloan Wilson.
  • “Mythistory, or Truth, Myth, History, and Historians,” by William H. McNeill in Mythistory and Other Essays.
  • Natural Right and History, by Leo Strauss.
  • Political Myth, by Christopher Flood.
  • “Prosociality and religion,” by Jo-Ann Tsang et. al. in Current Opinion in Psychology.
  • Republic, by Plato, translated by Allan Bloom.

Table of Contents

00:00 - Intro/Housekeeping
00:44 - Noble Lies
01:32 - Episode Topic Introduction
02:21 - What is myth?
06:01 - How is this relevant to politics?
07:19 - Three Examples of Political Myths
13:24 - Do myths have to be true or false?
16:43 - How important are things besides myth?
18:30 - Why do humans resort to myths?
22:06 - How do myths work, and what can they do?
25:40 - How do myths change over time?
29:05 - How does myth align the individual and common goods?
33:37 - What are some disadvantages of myth?
36:36 - How does war shape myths?
37:30 - What would life be like without myths?
40:40 - Next week's topic
41:09 - Signing off

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