“It’s the myth that we live in. . . Every culture is trying to understand itself. Why do we exist? And every culture comes up with its own understanding of life, its own customized version of mythology. Culture is a reaction to nature.”
I know Devdutt Pattanaik discusses a lot of things that may seem unrelated to what I usually write about, but I promise his talk is extremely relevant. Among other fascinating things, he talks about the difference between “the world” and “my world,”—the difference between objective truth and subjective truth.
“The world” is the natural phenomena of the world. How the sun rises, how we are born, etc. “My world” is the mythologies that give us meaning and purpose and become the makeup of a culture. Why the sun rises, why we are born, etc. Here’s the connection:
The fault of American culture (and I focus on American culture because that is what I know) lies in confusing the two—in insisting that “my world” is the same as “the world.” We do not see a separation between the natural and the cultural; we are obsessed with unifying them to create a more absolute, universal, linear “truth.” We think what we have created existed before us.
This bleeds into gender and sexuality conflicts and misunderstandings. Because most people assume that gender is a natural phenomenon, they believe that being transgender (i.e. male who is a woman, female who is a man) is a problem, a dysfunction, a misfiring of neurons. Thankfully, the new term “gender dysphoria” is a much more accurate term than the old “gender identity disorder.” The fact that the field of Psychology now understands it this way is an improvement. Next step: the masses.
Hopefully an understanding of gender’s fluidity will eventually be common knowledge, and with that will come a much needed change in attitudes toward the transgender community.
“Understand that you live in the subjective truth, and so does he. Understand it, and if you understand it, you will discover something spectacular. You will discover that within infinite myths lies the eternal truth.”