One thing we do with the common myth is myth-busting or discovering the facts behind our beliefs and intuitions. Since I have never tried ayahuasca, the South American vegetal version of the DMT experience, I have to rely on second and third hand accounts of the head trip that comes from a DMT encounter. It is said that no other form of psychedelic trip is more spiritual or safe than the ayahuasca administered by shamans in Amazonian rituals. Even atheist scientists come away from the experience with an open mind on the idea that our consciousness may not be located only in the brain and that our poor understanding of the physics of awareness and powers of observation negatively affects what we believe about the nature of existence.
One aspect of this issue bothers me on account of my relationships with two individuals who were important in my personal life. One was a Navajo classmate who died in an exchange of gunfire with police and the other was my older sister, who had a near-death experience before eventually dying at age 53. I wonder if both of them may have been somewhat less reluctant to face death, because they looked forward to the possibility of a positive experience. I wonder if death has no downside for people who suffer profound disappointment. What belief system is more likely to support the will to live? Can survival of the soul require death or suffering of the body and brain?
Does a happy life, full of well-being, wisdom, awe and compassion, benefit from the belief in continued existence after the body stops working? Even if it is not true in the most factual sense, the hope of continued existence might help most of us live longer and better. This hope may not be spiritual in a religious sense. The spirit or soul may just be what the word "atom" was before science found irrefutable proof of the existence of atoms.
I wonder if young men can be suicidally prone to risk-taking on account of the deification of the last sacrifice of the redeemer. After all, Christ did not die to end suffering in this life. He died, at least in part, to suggest that he had the power to join his Dad in judging souls after death and deciding who will suffer or be happy in the company of God for an infinitely eternal period of time. Eastern minds already know the Jesus myth is a scam and a hustle, but the western world desperately seeks an experience that helps us transcend perceived failure and emptiness. Relationships with other people and with our sense of centeredness is everything. We try to avoid harm to others, maintain ourselves and reach for something we value. The suffering God-man is more charismatic and worthy of our admiration than a privileged creator-spirit.
If it turns out that humans (and maybe animals, too) are endowed with a transcendent spirit, does this help us address the issues raised by this physical reality or does it actually contribute to making us more foolhardy and stupid?
Joseph Campbell believed that "...each of us has an individual myth that's driving us, which we may or may not know." This forum is for assistance and inspiration in the quest to find your own personal mythology.