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Mythic Identification

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Mythic Identification is a term introduced by Joseph Campbell.

Campbell argues that Egyptian cultural beliefs about a ruler’s relation to God or gods progressed through several historical stages, each taking its own form.

The first stage is mythic identification, where the ego is entirely absorbed by the real and/or imagined powers of the deity.

In pre-dynastic Egypt, the priesthood articulates this belief. Utterly lost in wonder at the immensity of the creator and the created cosmos, the god-like king willfully submits to self-sacrifice for the good of the community. By losing his mortal life at the altar, the king believes he doesn’t die because he’s already one with God. In tune with the immortal, his death merely signals a passing to a greater dimension.

This differs from mythic inflation, where rulers exhibiting haughty arrogance will lie, trick, exploit and murder to achieve worldly power, desires and prestige. Such rulers would never consider self-sacrifice for the good of the community.

Related Posts » Mythic Subordination, Mythic Dissociation, Mythic Eternalization

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