Sunday, January 17, 2016

The beauty of mythology

Many people see myths as outdated fanciful tales debunked by modern science. Critics severely attack the historical inaccuracies within fictional works in movies, shows, books, and religious texts such as the Bible. Myths are shunned as superstitious fables that are meant to be discarded once and for all. This is all based on a misunderstanding of what mythology is.

Mythology is a collection of stories from particular cultures to explain nature, history, traditions, customs, and so on. Myths can exaggerate historical events or be truthful. Ancient story-tellers can include personification of nature, parables, allegories, and other literary devices in myths. However what is the ultimate of myths? To provide a behavioral model of how a culture ought to behave. Myths provide morals and other lessons that strength social bonds among people.

The ancient mind was not concerned with facts, but with morality and cultural tradition. What then is the purpose of exaggeration and distorting history? That is the art of story-telling. Each culture had it's own unique perspective of how the world came to be and how it will end. Exaggeration and other literary elements are what distinguishes myths from plain factual history. It is this form of story-telling that has thrived from the dawn of time to our modern world in the form of modern t.v programs, movies, books, and so on.


We know that Batman cannot physically avoid so many bullets and fly off rooftops with his grapple. We know that humans cannot survive in other planets as Star Wars depicts. We know of all the historical inaccuracies, violations of the laws of physics, and impossible features within modern myths but we don't care. Why then do we continue reading them, watching them, listening to them, and enjoying them? Because it is what unifies people. It is what breeds traditions, ideas, entertainment, and common interests. The beauty of myths is found within the ideas behind each impossibility. Batman's many gadgets and outrageous tactics represents his cunning strength, power, and resourcefulness. Seeing Luke Skywalker battle other villainous races wielding the lightsaber, the mark of a noble Jedi Knight, helps us connect with him. Without some sort of humanity within a film series such as Star Wars, no one would bother taking interest It is the characteristics of myth. Whether it lines up with the facts is besides the point. Mythology is a vital part of human expression.

The next time you read Genesis, Dante's Inferno, Paradise Lost, the Illiad, or watch any work of fiction - forget about your perceptions of reality. Delve deep into the symbolism behind the story. Reflect on the deeper meaning. Asses the hero's flaws, the villain's strengths, and how good prevails in the end. Contemplate the purpose behind every detail and why the author composed it that way. Meditate on the lessons embedded within the plot. When you do this, you will realize the beauty of mythology.

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