Rethinking American exceptionalism
Logo:Myths enclose those who believe in them. They are not subject to debate or rational consideration. One cannot hold them up to the light and parse them for their true and applicable aspects as against their false and misleading ones.
They are there, stories whose frequent telling has inscribed upon them a balanced, inalterable structure. This gives mythology its enclosing character. One lives either within it or not, one either accepts it as a guide to “what happened” or not and, finally, “what will happen.”
Perceptions of self and other are often rooted in myths. And so it is for Americans. And yet, our time is a time of de-mythologizing.
For us, we Americans, that means we are now called upon to advance beyond the mythologies that carried us from our nation’s very beginnings until 2001.
That is why this is such a big moment historically, as large as when our common narrative was first articulated, in its quite mythological form, almost four hundred years ago.