This is a very perceptive article, Christopher. When we look back (as best as we can, with partial records only) we see that new mythologies tend to arise during times of great social stress. During the Axial period we see the decline of older myths and the gradual emergence of new ones that better met the needs of more socially sophisticated and inter-connected societies.

It is during the Axial age that Plato attempts to codify his vision of a stable society. It's during the Axial age that symbolic sacrifice replaces human sacrifice (the echoes of this appear in many places including Christian mythology). It's where the Jews begin to firm up their notions and move from a tiny angry cult-god to a fractionally less neurotic and slightly less inadequate deity.

The Axial age saw the fall of myths based on human sacrifice; metaphoric mythologies took their place. Today, mythologies invoking gods, ghouls, and goblins appeal only to the very ignorant and simple-minded; yet most people need to "believe" in something. So it seems clear that new myths will emerge over the next few hundred years, will do battle with and gradually replace today's myths, and form the basis for new conceptions of self and society. The process, however, is likely to be very messy indeed, and most people will remain totally unaware of what is happening.

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