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REBLOG: We created our gods, and we can control them

This article first appeared in Standard Examiner. Reblogged here because it’s so brilliant.

By E. KENT WINWARD, special to the Standard-Examiner

“Once upon a time”… we told stories, stories that explained our world, how it works, and taught us how to behave and not behave. The ancient Greeks told stories about their gods. The almighty Zeus hurled thunderbolts, while Hera chased Zeus around, trying to catch him in the act of wooing a nymph or two. Athena protected warriors in battle, while Ares incited them.

Aphrodite, goddess of love, wreaked havoc with human lives, just as love continues to do today. Mercury was the gods’ “runner,” while Apollo drove his chariot across the sky until dusk. Schools wisely teach Greek mythology to adolescents, because the Greek gods usually end up acting like a Mount Olympus high school.

Zeus, Athena and other ancient Greek gods and deities on a building at the National University of Athens, Greece. Image by: Dimitrios.

Teaching Greek mythology is also a fantastic way to get smartphone-wielding teenagers to question how human beings could be so gullible: “Did those old Greeks really believe some cranky guy in the clouds was hurling thunderbolts, or a chariot drove the sun through its rotation?” But even as we ridicule the old beliefs, we love listening to the stories because they entertain us and carry an essence of truth within the obvious fictions. Lightning strikes are capricious. The sun’s rotation seems like a benevolent force: life-giving, light-giving, and reliable. We think about how silly those toga-wearing ancients’ beliefs were, and yet we continue to build our human societies around fictional narratives, even today.

My job as an attorney is not that far removed from being the Oracle of Delphi. I interpret the fictional story of “the law” and enlighten those who come with a query. The law is a story we have collectively created as a society. We believe in the story enough that we enforce the story with our collective force, but the fact remains that it’s a story we’ve made up and written down. The law is a story that serves a purpose — it makes sure we’re all on the same page.

The story of the law is fictional, but as with all fiction, many things are true. We have endowed our fictional legal story with godlike powers, and the law has responded in kind by giving us our very own pantheon of new and powerful gods. Instead of requesting answers from Apollo at Delphi, we consult the Oracle via our search bar, and the great god Google answers us. In the real world of concrete, tangible things, how is Google different from Apollo? “Is this mole cancerous? The Oracle told me it could be.”

We believe in our new gods so much, we allow them to sue and be sued in courts of law. The smartphone gods, Apple and Samsung, duke it out for supremacy, intellectual property, and credit from the masses, and humanity is divided into groups of believers. Are you an ardent follower of the one true Apple, or are you an Android heretic?

Have you heard the new commandment from the great god, Amazon? “True believers of Amazon shall buy Prime. Appeal at your desktop altar, or petition your prayer phone. Pay your indulgence, and with free two-day shipping, ye shall receive.” (Just a quick side note: in naming the company, Bezos even opted for a reference to a collection of powerful female Greek demigods, including the modernized comic book goddess, Wonder Woman.)

And like the Greeks, we have countless demigods running around, incorporated into our modern language and commerce, and we often don’t bother to rename them. The god Nike brings promises of victory; Ajax wasn’t a god, but a mighty warrior. The Trojans had a mighty wall that kept out the swarms, at least until the wall was covertly circumvented. And open Pandora’s box and along with musical wonders, you will almost certainly find unwanted ads.

Trademarks, intellectual property and corporations are all legal fictions. For that matter, the Constitution itself is the ultimate fiction: an agreed-upon set of rules that finds its strength in our collective commitment to believe in its underlying truths. Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and many more, are our new pantheon, and they remain just as fictional as any Greek god. Humanity created these powerful forces from nothing more than words in a law book, stories, and a collective belief in the stories. If we look at the almost miraculous gifts from our corporate gods, we believe they were created with intelligent design — our intelligent design.

But we need to remember that, just like the ancient Greeks, we created these gods to serve specific functions, and we have the ability to tell them how to behave through our collective story (our laws), including what powers we endow them with, as well as their limitations and weaknesses.

If we don’t like how our stories are ending, especially because of the behavior of our gods, we must rewrite the story so that our “once upon a time” ends with us living “happily ever after.”

E. Kent Winward is an Ogden attorney. Twitter: @KentWinward.

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Vote On The New Myth-Gods-Tech Cover!

We are partnering up with the incredibly talented digital artist Antoine Collignon for some art and book covers. Here is a draft of the main omnibus in the God Complex Universe:

Myth Gods Tech is a constantly updated omnibus of all the books in the God Complex Universe.
Myth Gods Tech is a constantly updated omnibus of all the books in the God Complex Universe.

Tell us how you like it! Vote on the poll:

[poll id=”11″]

There’s something different about this omnibus. We are constantly updating it with all the other books in the God Complex Universe. That’s correct, the omnibus is getting bigger all the time, updated with our new stories. There is a delay in the update (a few months). The price keeps going up, but everyone who purchased it early will keep getting the new files. If you haven’t already, turn on your DLC settings on Amazon so that the file is always up to date. On other retailers, just delete the file and redownload. If you happen to encounter any difficulty at all, just send us an email at mythographystudios@gmail.com and we’ll sort it out.

That’s why this book is important, because it represents the whole body of work. But it also rewards dedicated fans like you, while being an experiment at the same time (We haven’t heard of any other publisher doing it).

Does this evoke the right feel for you? Please comment on this post, we want to hear from you.

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Watch the book trailer of “How to 3D print a god”

The gods are back in town. Skyscrapers pop out of nowhere all around Athens. Corporations rename themselves as Greek gods. It all started with the Greek crisis of 2009 and it will forever change the world as we know it. Some say that CEO’s have gone mad. Others, that they know damn well what they are doing. That there is something solid amongst the myth. In the day of inter-connectivity and social media admiration, can the ancient myths come back to life?

The gods are back in town and they carry a god complex.
The gods are back in town and they carry a god complex.

When the score of a lifetime falls in their lap, Deimos and his team accepts to sneak in a factory and 3D print the client’s secret design. But will they succeed when a pack of well trained Amazons tries to stop them, when things don’t quite go as planned and when the secret design turns out to be something very different?

See the product page on our shop:

Click Here to Buy the Book How to 3D Print a God

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How to 3D print a god is available on Amazon Kindle now.

If you want more of these tidbits, get on our mailing list to be the first to know.

I Want to Be a Mythographer
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A shout-out to theoi.com because they are worth it

For some things you have wikipedia, but for other a well-maintained directory is the only thing on the top.

It is a lot to bear.
It is a lot to bear.

Theoi.com is a site that not only catalogs the ancient Greek myths, but also refers to the passages where everything is mentioned, gives you a latin pronunciation, a Greek transliteration of the name and a ton more info. It is an amazing starting point to do your own research.

Their description:

The Theoi Project, a site exploring Greek mythology and the gods in classical literature and art. The aim of the project is to provide a comprehensive, free reference guide to the gods (theoi), spirits (daimones), fabulous creatures (theres) and heroes of ancient Greek mythology and religion.

Amazing work, support them on their site.