political mythography: the anatomy of power
“…the Political is to be understood as a force that exists within the individual and is necessarily directed towards other people in the form of “desire for power”. - Carl Schmitt
Political mythography is a paradigm of analysis mythology, both historical and contemporary, from the perspective of hierarchical relations between agents and events within it, which are structured by power. The paradigm is informed by ideology, narratology, political theory, political theology, queer theory, critical theory, gender studies, theology, philosophy of religion, among others.
Power manifests itself in the action of institutionalisation and legitimisation of what is considered a normalised order and shared reality. Analysing the phenomenology of power, the historian of the present and archeologist of knowledge Michel Foucault introduced the paradigm of ‘cratology’ borrowing the name of Kratos (Strength). In Ancient Greek mythography, he is the brother of Nike (Victory), Bia (Force) and Zelos (Zeal), whose brotherly-sisterly unity form one of the most profound ways of metaphorical representation of the complex character of the phenomenon of power. In ‘Theogony’ Hesiod highlights that alignment of the siblings with Zeus, by the blessing of their mother Styx, was a decisive factor for the Patriarch’s usurpation of power on Olympus.
Political theologist Carl Schmitt introduced the notion of The Political in theory, which we define in the contemporary context as an instalment of the subjective set of the norms that statically define the matrix of acceptable socio-political reality. This matrix sets the monopoly on the political imaginary: for example ‘naturalness’ of a nuclear family, a nation state, national culture or the platform of geopolitics. Although another worlds are possible and already existing, but deprived of power, their visibility and therefore not registered as ‘real’. Visibility, or sensibility of the ideas, is another important element of political mythography apparatus, informed by the work of philosopher Jacques Ranciere on aesthetico-political and distribution of sensible.
The mythology and mythography are not the objects of archeology and history, but rather ‘the things’ of ideology and the futures. Signifiers of mythology act as elements of what Carl Jung was naming ‘collective unconscious’, ‘complexes’ and dichotomies that inform human actions. Many contemporary thinkers approach mythography from different angles in attempts to understand the complexity of socio-political reality.
The critique and exploration of the alternatives to current hierarchal, masculine and patriarchal networks of power is essential in the paradigm. What the feminine or queer outlook on power would do with ‘normalised order’ and shared reality? Transhistorically, The Political is the perpetual war for instituting the real through acquisition of power. Politics is the infrastructure of communications about a shared reality, an everyday human activity, a constant dialogue for co-living and constructing the common. Politics creates a healthy counterbalance to The Political when exercised, cared for and thought about by everyone regardless of the profession. The checks and balances in a system are meant to serve the primary goal of controlling the extent of the accumulation of power by the actors of the Political. Blurring the borderline between the Politics and the Political provides a swampy platform for the reification of extreme modes of exercising domination. In one of the angles of this theory, we explore the anatomy of power and design the methods of structuring political relations in societies and of resistance to the domination of norms, agents and systems.