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Myths have always been an essential part of the institution of society. There has never been a society without myths, there have never existed humans without unreal stories and fairy tales. Myths are to a large extent the driving forces of individual actions and certainly are the means through which collective bonds and identities are created and consolidated. Apart from the conventional use of the word “myth” which is the one we all know about a story that is not real, I would like to broaden the term adding to it the perception human has about reality, which is always subjective and which from the outset lacks all available information to be classified as “objective”. The discussion on the concept of “myths” and their role in the institution of society is one that has troubled philosophers and academics for centuries and this article is not aiming to give definite answers nor is it not capable to do so. The purpose here is to have a look at some of the latest myths that are fueling events in our European societies. I am referring in particular to the movements of the “Indignant” who have self-proclaimed their actions as “revolutions”. I have identified four main myths in these movements.
The first myth that drives these movements is the belief that a similar uprising took place in another part of the world, Egypt/Arab World and was successful. Therefore it can be used as a model to have same results in the European societies. The “indignant” actually believe that in Egypt, in the Arab world in general, there have been real changes, just because some ruling figures were displaced. The truth however is exactly the opposite as nothing has really changed nor will it do so under the current conditions. The west is still placing puppet regimes here and there, multinational firms still control many of the resources of these countries, people are still deprived of fundamental rights. The “indignant” are made to believe in the success of a similar movement that in fact has never occurred, just like communists in the western block during the Cold War period, were made to believe that in the East block there has been a revolution that has changed everything, that has alleviated exploitation, that has emancipated the proletariat, that has eliminated discriminations, that has enforced “direct” decision-making processes, when in truth it was yet another tyranny.
The second myth that drives the “indignant” is that by expressing their frustration about the current situation, they will in fact bring change. Again they are made to believe that changes can take place without ideas and this is indirectly reinforced by all those who know that to change society you need practical ideas. It is indirectly reinforced by them since they do not say this truth to the protesters so as not to “discourage” them. So they prefer to sustain a complete lie, a groundless assertion, just to keep this movement going. In that sense, the belief that change can take place with only the expression of sentiments is an essential lie, without which the “indignant” would not exist, at least not in their current form. This is just like the creation of the mythical war hero “Johny Rambo” who was defeating his opponents in Vietnam when everyone knew that the US were defeated. It was just an essential lie, one that kept up the morale of the soldiers and that fooled society.
The third myth that permeates the movement of the “indignant” is that they are fighting for a cause, to change society by bringing “direct democracy”. The concept of “direct democracy” is in its own capacity a myth since in history no such thing has ever existed and even in ancient Athens, the cradle of democracy, those who participated in the decision-making processes (in the Ecclesia of the Demos) were only a few with relation to the whole population, since women, slaves, adolescents and non-indigenous adults were excluded. But assuming that direct democracy can be applied and can be viable in today’s complex world, we are left with the idea of the “common cause” that the “indignant” supposedly all have. This is completely immaterial as the individuals who all together comprise this movement have different backgrounds, different motives and different desires, which are now hidden under the prevalence of frustration, but will at some point be brought to the surface, when the sentiments subside, only to show that the “common cause” was a delusion and the “common identity” was a coincidence.
The fourth myth is that social media are in fact helping the movement to grow in strength, influence and numbers. In the beginning I was also made to believe the same, but as time passed and by examining the way twitter and facebook work under these circumstances, I see that all that is achieved through social media is confusion and chaos. I challenge you to sit five minutes on twitter and add the #greekrevolution or the #spanishrevolution tags in the search field to see just how chaotic the results are . You will get all sorts of tweets about whatever one has in mind. There is absolutely no way to collect a list of substantial ideas that circulate in the “indignant” movement and which can provide a framework upon which a true revolution could be established. So even if you sit all day in front of twitter you will not be able to come up with anything. As for facebook, I am more than sure that “likes” to vague comments do not offer any serious proposals to address the malignancies of the society…
There can be many other issues that could be included in the list of myths that drive the “indignant” movement. However I think that the above-mentioned offer you a picture of the issue and make my point clear. I am not writing this to oppose the indignant. I am not writing this to go against the need for changes, the need for revolutions. I am writing this to say that those will not come from the indignant movement in the form it currently has.