Live your mythology but don’t always let others in or they may find out the truth

taj mahal

I heard of a man
who says words so beautifully
that if he only speaks their name
women give themselves to him.

-Leonard Cohen

Those lines are taken from Leonard Cohen’s first published book,
Let Us Compare Mythologies, published in 1956. That Lennie. He hit on the idea early on (an idea that became cherished by randy and artistic undergraduates everywhere) that he could adroitly woo a woman into bed just by the power of his words.

The only fly in that ointment was, he was Lennie, the rest were just undergrads. We were just ‘us’. Still are, and he remains Lennie. ‘Hallelujah!’

lennieAnd, Leonard Cohen’s own ‘mythology’ evinces his consummate success with the opposite sex. Of course it helped that he was dashing, charming, intelligent and immensely talented. I once saw a ballet performance of his poem ‘You Have the Lovers’, performed by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and I must say that it was one of the most erotic things I’ve ever seen. Yes, Len was a master of his craft.

But, I am not here to discuss Leonard Cohen and his cocksman prowess, what I want to consider is the whole idea of mythology – personal mythology.

We all have ourselves – and we all have our mythology. Rarely do the twain meet in real life. They only meet when we try to impact others. Or, sometimes the others know us only by our mythology, and have no inkling about the real us – the sort of bread-and-butter, or blood-and-guts us. Our spouses or lovers probably think they know the real us just because they’ve heard us fart, but that means little. It still is a matter of they only know what we let them know.

If we are emotionally healthy, we ‘know’ the truth about ourselves, as opposed to the myth, despite how much we might use the myth to perpetuate an image within the outer world, especially if we are trying to impress some individual in that outer world.

There are pitfalls in this. We fall in love with and sometimes marry somebody because we’ve fallen for an image: an image of beauty, grace and charm. Our opposite number has done the same thing. But, when we get in close quarters we find that this vision of grace also snores, shaves her legs, leaves her dirty underwear lying around, and is even susceptible to the odd bout of diarrhea. If the love was one with the ‘real’ person, such human elements are never problematic. If the love was with the myth, the relationship can be rent asunder.

There is a worse scenario, and that is one that becomes apparent with much regularity in our ‘star-fucking’ society, and that is when the myth and reality become confused within the individual. Then it can turn ugly. If a person receives accolades enough for some accomplishment or other he or she can come to believe their own legends. Then hubris becomes the dominant factor in their lives.

Some fine people walk the planet, blessedly, but there are no ‘gods’ striding amongst us, as much as we’re deluded into thinking there are. And we are so deluded, or else politicians, actors, athletes and so forth would have no careers.

In some cases such individuals go over the top with narcissism that is based solely on myth.

We know the tales of pols and entertainers who come to believe they are more exalted than the rest of us. Conrad Black and Martha Stewart, I suggest, were of the opinion that they wouldn’t ‘dare’ imprison them due to who they were. They doggedly held to that until the cellblock doors slammed. I believe that Al Capone held the same misapprehension.

Currently we have seen a few politicians of all persuasions who have twisted the thoughts of George Orwell and have come to believe that some comrades are more entitled than others, so pound salt you common taxpayer schmucks because we’ve got your hard-earned dough and we’re going to jet off, business class, to somewhere exotic.

The maharajah impulse dies hard and is still alive and well.


9 responses to “Live your mythology but don’t always let others in or they may find out the truth

  1. It is my own head that hides me. In my mind, I “see” myself as I was when 23 (now 61) and reflective surfaces shatter that image. Since I imagine myself as the younger me, I think others see that me. In fact, I always think of everyone else as being older than me! I fool myself, not others. But I am often told that I am younger than I seem. Hmmm…wonder if that means they see me as childish???
    I have never thought of myself as sexy and would always be so surprised when people would say that. In my head I was a skinny, child-like unassuming girl. My best friend since high school (and many others) say I was naive and still very much am. I am the female Peter Pan.

    • I actually think it’s healthy that we imagine ourselves to be younger than we are. Keeps us vital. We all have our delusions, and I know that I do, as I suggested.

  2. You nailed it. I’d like to say something deep and wise, but it’s to early in the morning for either depth or wisdom. I have, however, pulled the word depth out of my slogging morning brain so I consider that a minor victory.

  3. I read a quote once, no idea if it’s true or not, about John Wayne. He had turned down a role for not being heroic/manly enough. The response from the person involved was “dear God, he thinks he actually *is* John Wayne!”

    Those publicly perceived perceptions (with apologies for the alliteration) can be a bitch.

  4. In my head I am still thirty…..but others are under no such illusion as they send me to the head of the queue or help me off the bus…

  5. Sorry, response went in the wrong slot.

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