Introduction to Mythologies

During the session ‘introduction to the mythologies’ we discussed what mythologies are and how things are perceived. The session on a whole was insightful to myself as I was able to think about how various things are perceived by everybody and how some things might not be viewed in the same manner that they were intended. 

We watched a clip from Nineteen Eighty – Four by George Orwell where we saw how a newspaper controlled what people saw and essentially their viewpoints on the world around them. This linked to an earlier discussion around Plato’s Cave theory where it’s highlighted that individuals are only able to apprehend the world through what they are shown and understand. 

`This weeks reading was written by Roland Barthes who argument was discussed by Drunken Philosophy Podcast where they highlighted that Barthes argued things are perceived differently depending on culture, the time period and significant events happening at the time. 

In the essay ‘Plastics’ Barthes was very contradictory in his thoughts about plastic saying that it was a disgraceful material but compares it to alchemy. I suppose it could be argued that he could be suggesting fear of the unknown due to the historical fears surround alchemy and witchcraft. As he wrote this around 61 years ago we have to consider the implication of that (relating back to the social and political argument highlighted in the podcast). This was an interesting piece of text to read as even though it was written when plastic first came to light it felt very modern to read due to the current impact that plastic is having in our lives. We are able to relate to the text as he states ‘plastics is wholly swallowed up in the fact of being used’ which is reality today as we are all aware of products made from plastic for that sole use. 

The session has made me think about my own practices as it’s shown me that anything I create will be perceived differently depending on either the demographic or an individuals political/ social viewpoints. It has made think how I can develop my practise and what myths currently are being shown through my discipline area. 

Barthes was a post – structuralist, meaning he saw beyond what was being constructed. This made me question where I stand currently, I feel at the present moment, I am more post – structuralist as I notice that I see things in a very different way to others, I currently acknowledge that there are various ways of seeing things which is essentially what a post-structuralist does. 

Barthes, R., Plastics in ‘Mythologies’, Vintage, 2009, pp. 97 – 99

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