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A-Z of the Future > Myths

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Myths are not simply stories that aren’t true. Myths are the basis for culture – we as humans simply don’t know enough about the complexity of our existence to create elaborate, coherent social systems based on facts alone. We require myths to fill in the rest.


Some forms of knowledge are empirical – they can be tested scientifically. Other aspects are more qualitative and do not have any final answer – such as what does it mean to be good? There is no privileged position from which to fuse these two types of knowledge – science and experience, facts and values – we require myths to help us integrate these forms of knowledge.


Myths can be very powerful, because whilst they may not necessarily be true, they certainly help to shape what becomes true in the future. Human myths are one of the most influential factors in shaping our world.


One of the most important myths relating to the future will be about ourselves. What does it mean to be human? We simply don’t have the knowledge to answer that question and so will have to tell ourselves stories which may shape what we become.


Do we want to define ourselves by moral aspects of our nature or by our capabilities? In other words do we want to become creatures that are benevolent, kind, caring, empathetic and altruistic? Or do we simply want to become more powerful – to control nature ever more towards our own ends. The latter aims require a very different set of tendencies and traits than the former and are likely to lead to a very different kind of future human, or posthuman entity.


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