chapter  6
42 Pages

The Media and the Rebirth of Mythic Culture

Mimetic Culture Mimetic culture is human culture before language developed. In mimetic culture imitative gestures are invented which are used to represent some experienced event. The event is acted out in gestures. Such actions in a non-verbal culture are enough to allow knowledge of the event to be shared and group action to be coordinated. Such acted out events then become rituals, like in a tribal dance preparing for a hunt where someone imitates the buffalo's movement in a stereotyped way while someone

else imitates the stereotyped movements of the hunter. These mimetic skills can be seen in modern culture in things like pantomime games, and mime. We use this mimetic skill when we learn through imitation, for example when we learn to do things like swimming. Children use this skill when they act out the events of the day with their dolls; if they have been taken to the doctor's office, they then take the doll to the doctor in play. In this way they are assimilating the events of the day by acting them out in mimetic play.