Favored or Forsaken: How Ancient Myths Shape Our Social Fabric (The Shadow Brother Inside)

In a profound exploration of the human psyche, Robert Moore once dove into the intricate dance of light and shadow within us all, a theme he eloquently presented in his lecture “The Shadow Brother Inside.”

Moore’s insights draw upon the rich tapestry of mythological and cultural narratives that depict the eternal struggle between the favored and the forsaken, a dichotomy that resonates deeply within our collective consciousness.

From the legendary tale of Romulus & Remus to the scriptural sagas of Cain & Abel or Jacob & Esau, these stories serve as a mirror reflecting our own internal conflicts and societal divisions. They underscore the essential role of affirmation in achieving personal wholeness and social unity, revealing how blessings, or the lack thereof, can shape the journey toward self-realization and the integration of our shadow selves.

Key Takeaways

  • Biblical stories like Cain & Abel, reflect the human preoccupation with duality and the impact of perceived divine favoritism on personal and societal dynamics.
  • Zoroastrianism’s portrayal of good versus evil has deeply influenced religious and societal views, reinforcing the notion of a divided humanity between the chosen & the forsaken.
  • Historical belief systems like the Doctrine of Election have justified colonialism & social inequalities by linking prosperity with divine favor & misfortune with spiritual disfavor.
  • The decline in educational inclusivity & the rise of a stratified society threaten societal cohesion & individual identity, highlighting the need for community support & collective responsibility.
  • The narrative of individualism is challenged by the importance of nurturing community ties and the recognition of inherent human value in fostering personal growth & societal unity.
Favored or Forsaken How Ancient Myths Shape Our Social Fabric (The Shadow Brother Inside)

The Importance of Affirmation & Its Historical Context

Affirmation is a fundamental human need, integral to the development of individual self-esteem and the cohesion of society. Across time, cultures have relied on affirmation to foster a sense of belonging and unity, while historical narratives abound with the consequences of its absence.

The tales of Romulus and Remus, Cain and Abel, and Jacob and Esau, for instance, are not just stories but reflections of the human psyche grappling with themes of favoritism, exclusion, and the yearning for recognition. These stories underscore the importance of being acknowledged and valued within one’s community, an aspect that shapes personal identity and societal harmony.

Historically, the dynamics of favor and neglect are deeply rooted in societal tendencies that influence classism and community. The Doctrine of Election, a belief system that emerged from such narratives, justified colonial expansion and discrimination, casting a long shadow on societal structures and individual identities.

This dichotomy of the elect versus the non-elect is more than a theological concept; it has tangible implications on contemporary issues such as access to education and social mobility. A table illustrating this divide might look like the following:

Favored StatusConsequencesUnfavored StatusConsequences
Divine ElectionAccess to resources, leadership roles, societal approvalDivine RejectionMarginalization, limited opportunities, societal disapproval
Affirmation in CommunityEnhanced self-esteem, sense of belonging, motivationExclusion from CommunityIsolation, diminished self-worth, alienation
Inheritance of BlessingsContinued prosperity, legacy building, societal stabilityLoss/Theft of BirthrightConflict, strife, destabilization of societal order

In the modern context, the need for affirmation extends to every facet of life, from the workplace to social status, to cultural roles. The fragmentation of self and society due to lack of affirmation can lead to anxiety and entitlement among those considered “blessed,” while those overlooked may struggle with self-compassion and pro-social behaviors.

Participation in community life and fostering meaningful relationships are essential, as they enable individuals to see their own value reflected and combat the fragmentation of self and community. It is imperative to challenge outdated beliefs about predestination and worthiness and strive to build inclusive communities where every person’s worth is acknowledged, thereby creating a society that values all its members equally.

The Role of Mythology & Religion in Shaping Societal Beliefs

stories such as Rome's Romulus & Remus or the biblical Cain & Abel and Jacob & Esau, encapsulate the human fascination with moral dualities

Mythology and religion have played a pivotal role in shaping societal beliefs and structures, often through the portrayal of twins and the dichotomy of good versus evil.

These narratives, found in stories such as Rome’s Romulus & Remus or the biblical Cain & Abel and Jacob & Esau, encapsulate the human fascination with moral dualities and the consequences of divine favoritism. They reflect deep-seated societal biases that favor certain individuals or groups over others, creating a framework for understanding the world that includes inherent divisions and exclusions.

Religious teachings, especially the dualistic nature of Zoroastrianism with its clear distinction between Ahura Mazda (good) and Ahriman (evil), have further influenced these views, reinforcing the idea of a binary world where people and actions are categorized as either righteous or wicked. This has historically justified social inequalities and supported colonialist ideologies, perpetuating a divisive ‘us versus them’ mentality. These beliefs continue to resonate today, subtly infusing societal attitudes and contributing to systemic biases and a stratified social hierarchy.

Twins in MythologyGood/Evil DichotomySocietal Impact
Romulus & RemusFavored/OutcastFoundation of Rome, cultural identity
Cain & AbelDivine preference/DisfavorFamilial discord, societal favoritism
Jacob & EsauBirthright/TheftInheritance conflicts, value of blessings
Ahura Mazda/AhrimanLight/DarknessReligious dualism, colonial justification

These stories and religious concepts have deeply entrenched dualistic views within societies, influencing how individuals perceive themselves and others in terms of worthiness and belonging.

The resulting biases are not merely relics of the past; they are woven into the fabric of contemporary life, shaping attitudes toward social status, educational opportunities, and community inclusion. Addressing these ingrained beliefs is crucial for fostering a more equitable society that values unity over division.

Contemporary Relevance & the Doctrine of Divine Choice

Contemporary Relevance & the Doctrine of Divine Choice

Historical belief systems, particularly the doctrine of divine choice, continue to exert profound influence on contemporary society. This doctrine, which suggests that some individuals are predestined for prosperity and favor while others are not, has roots in religious dualism, such as the Zoroastrian dichotomy between Ahura Mazda (good) and Ahriman (evil).

These beliefs have historically justified social stratification and colonialism, and their remnants can still be seen in modern attitudes towards success and privilege. Today, this manifests in the persistent anxiety over one’s societal status and the correlation between prosperity and perceived worthiness. The following table illustrates the lingering impact of these historical beliefs on various aspects of contemporary life:

Aspect of Contemporary LifeImpact of Doctrine of Divine Choice
Economic ProsperitySeen as an indication of being among the ‘elect’; creates a class divide based on perceived divine favor.
Educational OpportunitiesAccess to education becomes stratified, with the privileged often having better opportunities, perpetuating inequality.
Social InequalityJustifies disparities and discrimination, fostering an ‘us versus them’ mentality.
Personal AnxietyLinks success with divine favor, causing existential stress over personal achievements.

The need for affirmation in fostering unity and personal wholeness is as relevant today as it has been historically. In a world where the myth of the self-made individual prevails, community support and the recognition of every person’s inherent value are crucial to combat the divisive effects of the doctrine of divine choice.

As educational inclusivity declines and economic disparities widen, the collective effort to build inclusive communities becomes imperative. We must strive to create a society that values all its members equally, recognizing that the historical narratives of chosen ones and outcasts have no place in a world that champions equality and shared prosperity.

Community, Identity, & the Need for Inclusion

Community, Identity, & the Need for Inclusion

The interplay between community and individual identity is profound, with each person’s sense of self heavily reliant on the affirmation and support of those around them. In the narratives that have shaped human history, we see the significance of community in either bestowing blessings or imposing curses.

These stories not only reflect the psychological impact of societal favor or exclusion but also underscore the importance of inclusion in maintaining a cohesive community. The wisdom of indigenous cultures, which places great emphasis on extended familial networks and collective child-rearing, offers valuable insights into the role of community in nurturing individuals. As modern society grapples with a decline in educational inclusion and the threat of a stratified social structure, the need to embrace community support becomes ever more crucial.

To illustrate the key elements of community and identity, and the necessity for inclusion, consider the following table:

Aspect of Community and IdentityRole/Impact
Affirmation from CommunityProvides validation and strengthens self-worth, combatting fragmentation of self and society.
Inclusivity in EducationEnsures equal opportunities, helping to prevent a stratified society and promoting societal cohesion.
Supportive NetworksOffer a buffer against isolation and the challenges of modern nuclear family structures.
Recognition of Individual WorthEncourages personal growth and the feeling of being valued within the community.
Engagement in Community LifeFosters meaningful relationships and a sense of belonging, essential for psychological well-being.
Collective ResponsibilityPromotes solidarity and shared efforts towards communal well-being, countering divisive narratives.

Through these aspects, we can see that the community’s role is not merely supportive but foundational to the formation of a healthy identity. It is imperative that society prioritizes inclusivity, particularly in educational settings, to ensure that every individual has the opportunity to see their worth reflected and affirmed by others.

By fostering an inclusive environment where community engagement is encouraged, we can work towards a society that values all its members and supports each person in achieving personal wholeness and unity.


In summary, the recurring themes of favoritism and exclusion found in ancient myths and religious doctrines, such as the tales of Romulus and Remus, Cain and Abel, or Jacob and Esau, have long shaped the human psyche and societal structures. These narratives underscore a deep-seated dichotomy between the “chosen” and the “forsaken,” influencing our understanding of worth, destiny, and the origins of evil.

The historical doctrine of election, bolstered by religious dualism, has justified social inequalities, colonialism, and a stratified society, while modern-day challenges in educational inclusivity and community cohesion reflect these enduring divides. As we navigate these changing and modern times, it is imperative to critically examine and challenge these outdated beliefs, fostering a more inclusive, community-oriented approach to personal growth and societal development.

As we strive to build a future that values unity and collective well-being, let us take action by promoting educational opportunities for all, nurturing supportive networks akin to those in indigenous cultures, and reevaluating the cultural myths that have long perpetuated divisions. Consider how you can contribute to a more equitable and cohesive society. What role will you play in dismantling the barriers of the past to create a world where every individual’s worth is recognized and affirmed?

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