January 3rd, 2022
“Just because something’s been around longer doesn’t make it better.”
This immortal line is spoken by the legendary Johnny Lawrence in the season four opener of the karate-chopping, always-inspiring, instant-classic Cobra Kai.
In either a cosmic coincidence or a divine slap in my face, this quote is a perfect distillation of what’s been on my mind lately.
Last week, I found an old interview with George Lucas on YouTube from right before Star Wars: Episode I was released. George has often been praised for bringing classic myths and structures up-to-date with his franchise; mythographer Joseph Campbell was both his idol and mentor.
Over his lifetime, Lucas has repeatedly spoken on the importance of myth, and how it is our responsibility to keep bringing them with us into the future.
As I look around at the world, and see its chaos and disarray and how, collectively, we don’t even remotely have our shit together, I wonder: what have those myths done for us?
And as a creative person, I can’t help but wonder: maybe it’s time for new myths.
Sure, learn your history and the rules. But learn them to break them; to make a new world with better stories.
Another conversation I’ve had a lot lately is how dumb it is that we don’t use the metric system, which is clearly an easier system of measurement to use. The reason we don’t is because people are stubborn and do not like change, and those people were taught a very stupid way to measure things by people who were also taught that way. And so on.
This goes for many of our systems.
But like Johnny says, this does not make any of them better. And what doesn’t make us better needs to go.
We need new systems. We need new myths.