Segments in this Video

Definition of Mythology (03:03)


Over the century people have woven a host of myths that permit man to explain the world and understand his own existence through tales and allegories. Each society identifies itself with a creation myth. We continue to create myths today.

A New Mythology: Greek Philosophy and Monotheism (04:37)

Unanswerable questions force man to created myths to soothe fears. Greek philosophers and monotheism strove to find an order in nature. Religions adapted to myths, including the idea of progress and a paradise.

A New Mythology: Science, Technology, and Progress (04:08)

The birth of scientific thought in the sixteenth century explained the world through science and technology, not God; thus empowering man. Man's need to tame nature, move forward, and survive continued through the Industrial Revolution.

Science as Myth (03:49)

In the nineteenth century man depended on science to solve all problems, creating a new myth and religion called scientism. Scientists and engineers became mythical heroes who perfected inventions that lead to utopian expectations.

Progress: The Myth of Unfulfilled Promises (03:27)

Myths are promises that cannot be kept. Electricity and nuclear fission were supposed to make life better and easier, but after the mass destruction of Hiroshima, man lost control and hope in scientific progress.

Myths of Extraterrestrials (03:29)

Out of the anxiety of progress gone astray, the new myth of extraterrestrials and the hope of their advanced technology to save us arose in the 1940s. These new myths were based on the old myths of the devil and fairies of the Middle Ages.

Threats and Skepticism of Science (01:33)

The trend of mistrust about science spread during the 1960s. Instead of solving humanity's problems, science created new ones that threatened to destroy the environment. New technologies, such as cloning, also raise ethical problems.

Myths: The American Dream (02:44)

America represents the epitome of the myth of progress that took root in the conquest of the West. The myth of the cowboy and Indian symbolizes good over evil. The American dream gave birth to a new mythical hero: the self-made man.

American Mythical Icons (03:05)

The Kennedy family epitomizes the American myth of success. J. F. Kennedy, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe embodied the youth of their generation and freed a sexually repressed America. Their dying young qualified them as mythical icons.

American Myths of Conquest and Excess (04:18)

America's myth of conquest continued into space. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the threat of communism was replaced by Islam. Hollywood still promotes a mythical dream and utopia. American myths are characterized by excess.

Mythology Today: The Individual and Eternal Youth (02:48)

The twentieth century offers no ideologies that unite people, creating a society of individuals connected by new groups based on myths. The myth of eternal youth haunts man with its beautiful, slim, and healthy heroes.

Mythology Today: Consumerism and Communication (05:30)

Today's myths, which are supposed to create a global village, actually do not bond people on a human level and thus create more isolation. These myths include consumerism, the media, and communication, including the Internet.

The Myth Explodes (03:39)

In the twenty-first century, people still question the myth of progress. Progress actually widens the gap between the industrialized world and third world countries. Myths are no longer great narratives that bond a culture and solve life's problems.

Need for Myths in Modern Times (03:25)

Although myths may be debunked, they still exist, as evidenced by the rise of new beliefs, sects, and the quasi-religious fervor of new lifestyles. Today's myths change constantly and cause fragmentation. Myths help man bear reality.

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All communities embrace organizing principles that are indispensable to their cohesion, imposing order on chaos and allowing individuals to function in groups. Many of these principles are related through myths. In this program, the transformation of the earlier "savior" myth into the modern myth of the "hero" is examined. How social myths such as "progress" facilitate modern industrial societies, and the myth of the "star" as a social construct that provides the audience with an object on which to project its ideals, are also discussed. (53 minutes)

Length: 54 minutes

Item#: BVL10179

ISBN: 978-1-4213-0612-4

Copyright date: ©1999

Closed Captioned

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Recommended by MC Journal: The Journal of Academic Media Librarianship.

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Only available in USA and Canada.