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27 January 2011

Random Thought on Myth-making

The recent events in Tuscon have given rise to a few questions for me. Does having challenges make one a good person? Does dying make one a hero? Too often, the eulogizing around tragedies (atrocities?) is actually retrospective mythologizing, that is, we tend to give meaning to anxiety-inducing incidents after the fact. Sociologically, it figures: we are reassured if we can give meaning to that which seems senseless; however, I fear that often such mythologizing can have problematic consequences. Not everyone who struggles deserves respect, and not everyone who dies unexpectedly is worthy of reverence. Moreover, there are plenty of those among us, the living, who go unrecognized.

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