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Foundations of Mythology Essay

“Myths are ancient narratives that attempt to answer the enduring and fundamental human questions” ((Leonard & McClure, 2004, p. 1). Myths are stories from every culture, country, and period of time. Myths from different cultures around the world address similar themes because to most individuals these are the things that matter despite his or her background. There are similarities between beliefs, knowledge, mythology, and religion. Both myths and religions help individuals cope with death, suffering, and loss, as well as coping to change. Many of the poets and artists from Ancient times to Present times have embodied mythology.

In doing so, they have discovered the contemporary significance to the mythological stories. How is the word myth used popularly? For example, what does the statement, “It’s a myth” mean? In contrast, how is the word myth used in the academic context? After considering the definition in your textbooks and course materials, write a definition in your own words. * * “Myths symbolize human experience and embody the spiritual values of a culture. Every society preserves its myths, because the beliefs and worldview found within them are crucial to the survival of that culture” (Rosenberg, 2006, p. ).

Myths are stories from every culture, country, and period of time. These stories help define acts of a nation or to educate children. Some myths are even meant to mystify. In essence a myth is used to entertain. The term “it’s a myth” means it’s a false story. For instances I have used the term, “God must be bowling” every time I hear thunder. This saying is just a myth. Myths are used in academic contexts to address fact from fiction, and help individuals discover themselves and their culture. Myths attempt to explain the aspects of society and of the world.

Myths allow that individual to take a journey into exciting and mysterious worlds where he or she can encounter gods, heroes, monsters, and adventures (“Drexel University”, 1997). The * Why do myths from different cultures around the world address such similar or universal themes? Think about how myths explain the unknown and the tribulations of mankind. * * “Broadly speaking myths and mythologies seek to rationalize and explain the universe and all that is in it. Thus, they have a similar function to science, theology, religion, and history in modern societies” (“Encyclopedia Mythica”, 2004 para 6).

Myths from different cultures around the world address similar or universal themes because to most individuals these are the things that matter despite his or her background. Take for instance the beginning of the world and the meaning of life. Different cultures around the world would address these two themes because it matters to people. People from all cultures and all time periods are curious about how the Earth was made or what the purpose of life is. Claude Levi-Strauss was a French anthropologist who was on a search for “deep structure in myth” (Leonard & McClure, 2004, p. 8).

Strauss suggested that the purpose of myths was to mediate conflicting elements of society and life. These same conflicting elements are human nature seem all around the world. Myths reflect human nature and the needs, desires, hopes, and fears within human nature (Rosenberg, 2006). * What is the relationship between belief, knowledge, mythology, and religion? Where do mythology and religion intersect? Where do they diverge? Think about the function of myth and religion in helping human beings cope with change, suffering, loss, and death. *

Belief is defined as an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists (“Merriam Webster”, 2013). Knowledge is defined as the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject (“Merriam Webster”, 2013). Mythology is defined as a collection and study of myths, especially ones belonging to a certain religious or cultural tradition (“Merriam Webster”, 2013). Religion is defined as a belief in a person God or gods (“Merriam Webster”, 2013). Myths and religion intersect in that the primary element is a Supreme Being, or a God.

Many myths focus on a God, Gods, or Goddesses, when telling a story or explaining the mysteries of life. Behind the creation myth lies the Supreme Being, who was worshipped by the ancients under a variety of names and guises” (Alford, 2004, para 10). Religions focus on a God to worship. Both myths and religions help individuals cope with death, suffering, and loss, as well as coping to change. Where myths and religions diverge is how they are practiced. Myths are stories created by people to help them discover themselves. Religion is a practice used by individuals to help them discover themselves. How would you defend mythology’s relevance in contemporary culture? Think about familial and cultural traditions.

Also, consider how mythology is used in the arts and in advertising to typify human experience. * Myths were created as entertaining stories with a serious purpose. “A myth’s serious purpose is either to explain the nature of the universe (creation and fertility myths) or to instruct members of the community in the attitudes and behavior necessary to function successfully in that particular culture (hero myths and epics)” (Rosenberg, 2004, p. 5). An important aspect to the creation of mythology was collecting stories that were based on one’s history, origin, and struggles.

These myths were then passed down generation to generation to generation and became an important part of many cultures. Mythology has had and extensive influence on the Western civilization when it comes to the cultures, arts, and literatures, and still remains a part of the Western heritage and language (Leonard & McClure, 2004). Many of the poets and artists from Ancient to Present times have embodied mythology. In doing so, they have discovered the contemporary significance to the mythological stories. It is for these reasons that I would defend mythology’s relevance in contemporary culture.


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