How do you recognize a foundation myth? It fulfills three functions.
1)It explains the origin and structure of the world (and society).
2)It defines ultimate good and evil (and from those definitions are derived the values that are used to justify the holding of power).
3)It determines what is held sacred in that society.
For modern Westerners the story of WWII has become their foundation myth. It fulfills all three functions.
1)We live in the ‘Post-War World’. The lines on the map, the institutions, the sense of what era we live in, all arise from the starting point of WWII.
2)Ultimate evil is Nazis. Ultimate good is opposing Nazis. The values derived from these definitions are anti-racism, equality, diversity, anti-nationalism and so on.
3)The only thing that is held sacred, that cannot be denied or mocked in the contemporary West, is the Holocaust.
The problem is that all three functions are backwards or negative.
Instead of the origin event being one of fertility and new life, it was a conflagration of death and destruction.
Instead of ultimate good taking the central position in the story that slot is occupied by ultimate evil. Everyone knows that Adolf Hitler, the personification of evil, holds the center point of the WWII story.
Instead of that which is held sacred being something mysterious and sublime it (the Holocaust) is an obscenity.
Having a negative foundation myth means the tree of life for Westerners is poisoned.
#foundation #myth #wwii #western #society