Living Myth

Mosaic presents Living Myth, a podcast with Michael Meade, renowned mythologist and storyteller. Meade presents mythic stories that offer uniquely insightful and wise ways of understanding the current dilemmas of the world we live in. Living Myth proposes that genuine solutions to the complex and intractable problems of our world require both transcendent imagination and cohering, transformative narratives.
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Now displaying: 2018
Mar 22, 2018

Michael Meade tells an old wisdom tale from India, the kind that would be used to offer guidance to young people heading out into the world trying to find themselves, but also used as a reminder to people of all ages what it is we’re truly looking for in this world.  At a key point in the story, the door to the inner treasury of knowledge opens when an ancient sage asks the question, “What do you love most in this world?” Amidst all the troubles in the world, in the midst of the manipulation of mass data and falsification of facts, it is important to remember that what the heart loves is the cure.

Mar 15, 2018

Michael Meade focuses upon the actions of young people speaking up and leaving school to protest mass shootings and the cycle of violence that has not found a meaningful response from national leaders and institutions.  He puts the current issues in the context of an old story where a youth suffering a great loss encounters an elder waiting to help. Introducing the presence of a knowing, compassionate elder moves things to a different level.  Seen psychologically and in mythic terms, the passionate ideals of youth need to be supported by the generosity, wisdom and life-affirming courage of awakened elders.

Mar 8, 2018

Michael Meade answers questions about the soul, such as  “what is the soul and why does it matter so much in the modern world”?  Starting with the dangers of the loss of soul, Meade launches into a rhapsody of soul, a survey of the roots and the branches of the living soul in people, but also the animated soul of the world.  This treatise on the necessity of the soul and tribute to its meaning leads to soul being imagined as the womb of life and source of the ongoing creation in the midst of all the troubles of the world.

Mar 2, 2018

This episode of Living Myth addresses the hollowing of institutions and the loss of values and principles that people expect to serve as guide posts in life.  Taking up the theme of “creeping nihilism,” Michael Meade shows how a society can make enough false moves and sound enough false notes that life begins to feel empty of purpose and hollow of meaning.  He offers that the antidote to nihilism must involve a return of idealism that involves both elders and youth. He reviews cultural movements like “never again”, “me too” and “black lives matter” as attempts to reclaim the force of idealism in a culture in turmoil.

Feb 20, 2018

This episode of Living Myth begins with the report on the increase of perfectionism in the world. Whether caused by comparisons found on social media or notions of meritocracy, young people especially suffer from perfectionism.  Beginning with the idea that something perfect is finished, and therefore closer to death than to life, Michael Meade turns our attention instead to the value of trouble. Not just any trouble, but the importance of getting into the right trouble, the kind of trouble intended to grow our souls. The right kind of trouble serves to awaken inner capacities we didn’t know we had and draws upon resources we didn’t know were there.  Recent studies in education indicate that the right kind of struggle makes all of us more resilient, creative and less anxious in general. 

Feb 16, 2018

This episode of Living Myth takes up the issues of tragedy in America, specifically the latest mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida.  In considering the long history of men and guns, Michael Meade states an old Irish proverb: “You don’t give a man a weapon unless you’ve taught him how to dance.” After lamenting the lack of leadership when it comes to guns and violence, he introduces and an old idea from Africa. The term “litima” describes the volatile spirit found in youth that can either be the source of creativity and ideals or else become a trigger for violence and destruction. The difference is often decided by the amount of acceptance, care and guidance a culture brings or fails to bring to its youth.

Feb 8, 2018

This episode of Living Myth begins with the fantasies of huge military parades and the swirling of conspiracy theories in the nation’s capital. Michael Meade shifts the issues of collusion, delusion and transparency from politics to the deeper grounds of depth psychology and mythology. As the world seems to tip upside down, we experience a “lifting  of the veil” that can reveal things usually hidden or covered up. Although old structures may collapse and once vital systems may fall apart; yet other patterns and barely imagined designs are on the verge of being revealed.

Feb 1, 2018

This episode of Living Myth begins in the aftermath of the recent State of the Union address and tries to turn our attention to the state of the soul, both the soul of the country and the individual souls within it.  Michael Meade describes the importance of the second adventure of life, the soul’s great adventure, which is unique to each person and must be risked despite, and because, of the state of the country and the world.  As he states, “often the choice comes down to adventure or complacency, since life is rarely neutral, complacency does not simply lead to stasis, but to decay and increasing loss of life purpose.” In the face of life’s challenges, either we grow bigger lives or become smaller people.

Jan 25, 2018

This episode of Living Myth focuses upon the idea that a genuine tension of opposites can produce something imaginative, vital and unifying. “Meaningful transformation is the secret aim of the tension inside life,” Michael Meade states while considering the current political impasse that pits “the dreamers” against “the wall.” Surprisingly, he argues that the solution cannot be found in simple negotiation or compromise, and certainly not in the art of the deal.  Rather, imagination, as the “hidden third,” is the key to meaningful change and creative progress.

Jan 18, 2018

This episode of Living Myth focuses upon the growing distance between the speeding up of time in the modern world and the lost connection to time eternal.  Michael Meade tracks the fall of time from its ancient connection to the timeless expanse of night to its breaking down into minuscule bytes and bits. After considering the workings of the sundial, he follows the fall of time into the sands of the hourglass and the surprising origin of alarm clocks in practices of prayer in the dark ages intended to prevent the end of the world.  All along, the story of time has been secretly trying to find again the connection to “once upon a time” and the blessing of time’s secret relation to all that is eternal and able to restore and renew the world.

Jan 11, 2018

This episode of Living Myth is about meaningful words and how words really matter.  Beginning with Donald Trump’s claim that he is a “stable genius”, Michael Meade begins to open up the meaning of words like stable and genius, fate and fame.  He follows the old roots of words and winds up at the intersection where an obsession with fame turns into the danger of living in infamy.  Whereas genuine fame would involve a revelation of one’s natural genius, infamy involves an inevitable fall into disrepute, discredit and ultimately disgrace. Infamy proclaims the underside of fame, the shadow side of power and the hollow shell of seeming success.

Jan 5, 2018

This episode of Living Myth begins with a question asked by two young people feeling overwhelmed by the troubles of the world. Meade responds sympathetically, offering a discourse on the importance of the human soul and showing how the modern world suffers from a loss of soul on many levels. The growing loss of soul leads to increasing disconnections between people and widespread intensification of oppositions and conflicts. 
Not knowing or not trusting the presence and power of the soul leads to the common idea that we can’t change ourselves, much less change the conditions of the world.  Using a story of a lonely woman and a golden fish, Meade offers the critical idea that the individual soul can grow, and in growing help add soul back to the world.