Yes – that’s the place where I have been recently spending much time in order to figure out what people find interesting. And to draw their attention to our project. If you wish so, you can track my activity at my profile. Actually, I have been more successful in the area of physics, where I’ve reached over half million views, but it’s just the beginning.
Today I have written some general thoughts on what is a myth. Maybe you will find it interesting. I’d love to have some discussion on it, so don’t hesitate to argue with me. Here or there.
What a myth is and what it is not.
- Greek mythos means “story”. So myth is a story – not a documentary, not a historical truth, not a real event report. At the same time it is not a lie or pure fiction and fantasy.
- Myth does not tell you what exactly happened in the ancient times. Instead, it tells you how important the event was for the ancient people.
- Myth is not a “distorted reality” or “fake history”. It is a “cultural phenomenon” that expresses a culture’s systems of thought and values.
- You cannot “bust” a myth and you should not “believe” in it. Instead you can find a fascinating tale on how your ancestors perceived the world around.
- Myth does not tell you who Achilles really was and what he actually did. It tells you what were the desired features of a hero, a warrior and a leader. In the same time it tells you that nobody can ever be 100% perfect.
- Myth does not tell you that people can turn into werewolves and how to do it, not even it tells you the details on the werewolf behavior and diet… Instead you can learn how a wolf, venerated in the primal societies of tribal hunters and warriors, became a monster, feared by the more civilized settlers and villagers.
- You do not learn from the “creation myth” that an androgynous being lived in some kind of a void and got killed by the gods, who made a world out of its body parts. What you can actually learn is that our ancestors’ view on the world creation did not differ much from the Big-Bang Theory. It assumes that the world was born from the primal vacuum, where a “glob of fire” suddenly appeared, grew and got split into energy and matter thus forming a universe… Sounds similar?
- When a myth describes an ancient conflict between divine beings it shows how society formed. Which kind of social groups (classes, castes) struggled for domination and who finally won.
I would say that not only what you know prior to reading a myth is important, but also what you do after reading it! Whether you just stay at the level of “whoa, Zeus was a real badass, he would have surely beaten Thor and Perun in a fight” or you will realize that all three were in fact the same god. The Thunderer, who could be found in all mythologies originating from the common Indo-European roots. Whose role was much more important than just “throwing lightnings and banging all the pretty ladies around”. As he was the keeper of the world order, where Sky above the Earth was synonymous to mind (spirit) over matter.
At the same time I decided that I should put into the Encyclopaedia more general entries. And this is one of them. The brand new one:
There are more coming soon!