An example of necessary myths. I believe that my husband is the most beautiful, intelligent, and wonderful man on the planet. It’s completely unimportant whether it’s factually true. What matters is that I believe it because that’s what guarantees my happiness and the survival of our marriage.
Similarly, it’s utterly unimportant if America is factually the greatest, the Ukrainian language is really the most melodic, the Russian soul is truly mysterious, and a dry piece of ugly desert was actually promised to Jews by God. You can’t prove any of it definitively one way or another. But it’s absolutely crucial that people believe this stuff passionately if the nation-state, with all the goodies it offers, is to survive.
Remember the hyper-rational freak from Illouz’s book? He’s not a happy person.
6 thoughts on “Useful Myths”
Reblogged this on James' Ramblings.
No, that’s MY husband. 🙂
You’ve described the cause of most wars. People on both sides passionately believe in something and they also passionately believe that they must fight to protect it. Therefore, war.
Editor, I thought most wars were and are over resources, not abstract ideas or beliefs.
Why are the US in Afghanistan, then? Why did Russia waste its entire pension fund on the annexation of the deeply unprofitable Crimea? Why did Argentina and the UK clash over the useless little Fakllands?
It’s a lot more complex than the Marxist explanation about resources.
Yes, resources, power, or territory. But for war to happen, The population must passionately believe that they need those resources. Passionately enough to be willing to fight and die for the resources. If they don’t passionately believe, they Will try to get the resources by a peaceful method such as negotiation or purchase.