The Hidden Matrix: Myth and the Human Mind

By Neil Philip

One of our foremost interpreters of myth argues that it is essential to all culture: the factory reset of human consciousness

History | Non fiction
127% funded
313 supporters
Writing in progress

Publication date: TBC

Pre-order
The crowd has spoken – The Hidden Matrix: Myth and the Human Mind is happening. Pre-order your reward now.
$15 
67 pledges

Digital

The e-book edition and your name in the back of the book
Pre-order this reward
$35  + shipping
170 pledges

Hardback

First edition hardback, the e-book and your name in the back of the book
Pre-order this reward
$45  + shipping
53 pledges

Signed

Signed first edition hardback, the e-book and your name in the back of the book
Pre-order this reward
$75  + shipping
8 pledges

Two Copies

Two signed first edition hardbacks (shipped together - only pay shipping once), two e-books and two names in the back of the book
Pre-order this reward
$95  + shipping
8 pledges

Book Bundle

Signed copies of two of Neil's previous books (Sacred Manner I Live: Native American Wisdom and A Viking Ship-Burial on the Volga) plus a signed first edition hardback, the e-book and your name in the back of the book
Pre-order this reward
$125  + shipping
5 pledges

Pitt Rivers Museum Tour

Your place on a tour given by Neil of the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, talking about myth-related items in the collection. Plus a signed first edition hardback, the e-book and your name in the back of the book
Pre-order this reward
$125  + shipping
2 pledges

Hand-signed Original Lyuben Dimanov Print

A hand-signed original print by Lyuben Dimanov (Bulgarian, 1933- ) illustrating the Metamorphoses of Ovid plus a signed first edition hardback, the e-book and your name in the back of the book
Numbers strictly limited
Pre-order this reward
$190  + shipping
2 pledges

Five Copies

Five signed first edition hardbacks (shipped together - only pay shipping once), five e-books and five names in the back of the book
Pre-order this reward
$250  + shipping
3 pledges

Mythical Lunch

Come to lunch at Neil's home in West Oxfordshire, with the opportunity to browse his very extensive myth and folklore library. Plus a signed first edition hardback, the e-book and your name in the back of the book
Pre-order this reward
$625  + shipping

Lecture

Neil will visit your institution or society (within 60 miles of Oxford) to speak about myths and the book, plus ten signed first edition hardbacks (shipped together - only pay shipping once), ten e-books and ten names in the back of the book
Pre-order this reward
$2,500  + shipping
5 pledges

Patron

A special thanks to you or your organisation printed in the front of the book, plus twenty signed first edition hardbacks (shipped together - only pay shipping once) and twenty e-books
Pre-order this reward

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get my book delivered to?

We deliver to most countries worldwide. Enter your delivery address during checkout and we'll display the shipping cost when we know where to send your book.

How do supporter names work?

Every person who pledges to help to make a book gets their name included in a supporter section as a thank you as long as they pledge before the list closing deadline. If you want to add a different name, this can be changed in your account after you have completed your pledge.

Will the book and rewards that I receive look the same as the images shown on the Unbound website?

Book designs, cover and other images are for illustrative purposes and may differ from final design.

Still have a question? Visit our Help Centre to find out more.

“Absolutely fascinating. I think you've touched on so many absorbing and important topics here that it will be wonderful to read the whole thing. I can hardly think of anything more valuable, and I salute you for having the ambition to take it on.” Philip Pullman


"Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?”

In The Hidden Matrix, I will explore the world's mythology for answers to these perennial questions posed by Paul Gauguin. The Hidden Matrix is a very ambitious book, examining the nature, meaning, and importance of myth throughout the world and all through human history. And I want to link all that in with neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology, and anthropology, and religion. I want, in fact, to explain why myth has been and remains so crucially important to us.

I've been obsessed by myth since childhood. It seems to me that the need to create myths is a deeply rooted element of human consciousness. With one curious exception in the Amazon, every human culture that we know of has had its myths, its gods and goddesses, its superhuman heroes and heroines, and the richness of that mythology mirrors and expresses the essential nature and values of that culture.

To explore the great treasure chest of the world’s mythologies is to access a vast database of knowledge and creative thinking, and to unlock the secrets of our own minds. Myth is the name we give the metaphors through which we reconcile the world we see with the world we perceive. Myths are mental structures before they are narratives; concepts first, stories second. They are, in effect, tools, as real and as useful as a hand-axe or a computer. Myths offer us stories and metaphors of how the world was created, and how it will end, life and love and death and everything in between - good and evil, moral ambiguity, the relationship between the visible world and the world of the spirits, the nature of divinity, ecology and civilisation and the meaning of time. Essentially, each society’s myths are a pattern-book for every aspect of that society’s culture. If we were imaginative enough, we could recreate the culture from the myths.

Mythology is the hidden matrix of the human mind, a deep structure hard-wired into the human brain. I believe that language, mythology, and religion evolved together, necessarily intertwined, and that the metaphorical thinking that shapes both myth and speech is the ground of all human culture. The territory of myth is also the territory of the poetic imagination. In a sense, this is a book about the poetics of belief, and how that poetry has shaped and been shaped by the innate human need for stories and storytelling. Let me take you with me every step of the way on my journey into the mythworld.

Support this project

Quick select rewards

$35  + shipping
170 pledges

Hardback

First edition hardback, the e-book and your name in the back of the book
Pre-order this reward
$15 
67 pledges

Digital

The e-book edition and your name in the back of the book
Pre-order this reward