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Confronting the Cultural Gods

Updated: May 29, 2022

There’s an old Irish joke about how you’re popular at the pub if you’re talking about writing a book, but when you write it, you are soon ignored. This is a great example of how most cultures, one way or another, place more value on the struggle than on the achievement. Why? There are several reasons for this most unique cultural trait. If you are struggling people can identify with your effort, perseverance, and challenges; it’s a way of confirming that you’re imperfect and a mere mortal like the rest of the tribe. But when you achieve the improbable, the identification ends. Now, you’re in a class of your own, leaving others with two choices: admire or envy you.


Most Western and Eastern mythologies attribute supernatural powers to their immortal gods and superhuman powers to their mortal heroes. But only the gods can excel without reproach. Mortals must remain imperfect and willing to have their feet of clay exposed when they remind us of our unattainable dreams. The jump from science to mythology is useful because we can visit the origins of our cultural realities and perhaps understand why we hold on so steadfast to our peculiar beliefs. Then mindbody science can help untangle the mindbody self from what no longer saves the day.

Excerpts from The MindBody Self


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