The truth about myths

by Marija
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Creation of the world by goddess Gaia

Do you like myths? Are they for you just bedtime stories with no basis, or do you think there is more to them – more than you can explain?

I was always captivated by myths. Even as a young girl who just learned to read. Actually, one of the first books I ever read was the book on Greek Mythology I received as a gift from my parents on my 8th birthday.

I remember even then my dad teasing me incessantly about my inability to memorize the simple multiplication table when I could repeat the whole plots and characters from that book. Well, I still can’t memorize the multiplication table – I never saw the purpose in it, but I saw the purpose in understanding better how the world works – how people lived in those ancient times, how they fought for their freedom, how they fought against “evil” and how they won. To me, those stories were an inspiration behind learning more about history, religion, political theory — everything that could ease my fascination with the way the world works.

But no one really pays much attention to the myths anymore. Those stories are now left forgotten.

What is Mythology?

When we think of it, we often think of mythology as a collection of stories that are not entirely true. The notion of myths in our minds is the notion of a lie. But that’s not really what myths are. The role they play in our lives is much more significant than we give them credit for.

Myths are stories that help us to understand the world.

“In the beginning, there was only Chaos, the gaping emptiness. Then, either all by themselves or out of the formless void, sprang forth three more primordial deities: Gaea (Earth), Tartarus (the Underworld), and Eros (Love). Once Love was there, Gaea and Chaos – two female deities – were able to procreate and shape everything known and unknown in the universe.” – The Creation, Greek Mythology

People in the past centuries kept telling myths to their kids, shaping them and helping them to understand the world around them, nature, gods, their roles within society, but also their potential and power to change the world. But with the rise of technology in the 20th century, the mythology as they knew it, started to disappear. In other words, all of the old myths were broken.

But are myths really gone and forgotten?

These days, we don’t have these sort of commonly shared stories that help us to understand the world. In its place, we have science. Mythology, as a tool for guidance, is long buried and forgotten. Or so we think.

But try to go back in time, to your childhood, and try to think of the stories you were told. Can you remember them? Can you remember those that inspired you to do something great? And have those stories stayed with you till today? Do they still move you and make you fight against the odds?

Here, I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about.

For me, one of the first stories that I ever learned was that when you fall down, you need to get back up and try again. This is the key message of every story I was told and the type of behaviour I saw so many times through the actions of my parents.

And this is still a story that applies to me in my life today.

In other words, that myth, that story that I learned when I was a little girl, has continued to aid me as I’ve grown. And that idea to keep moving forward, to keep trying despite the hardships on my path, has led me to this day. And I hope to impart this myth on the kids of my own one day.

So, are the myths dead and forgotten? Or have they just adapted to the kind of times we live in today so they can survive and help numerous other underdogs to fight for their worth and prevail? I like to think so.

Because of the way of life in the new and modern age, we may not speak of the great feats of heroism from the past nor the legends of the old. We may not remember, believe or speak of Perseus, Hercules, Theseus, and other great legendary heroes, but the basis of those stories, although watered down today, is still very much alive all around us.

“Before you can win, you will lose a thousand times. Before you can experience true happiness, you will experience immense sorrow… But hardships on your way will never stop you from reaching for your star if you only believe in the rightness of your goal.”

Sounds familiar? The moral of these stories is all around you. Even today. And that my friend, that is the point of the myth. To guide you, to inspire you, to show you the way so you can rise to the greatness within yourself.

As I have written above, we don’t speak of the heroes of the old anymore, but we speak of their deeds. We speak of their actions, their values. And we use them all around – in movie productions, in branding, in marketing.

Everywhere you turn, there is a myth being told; a moral story being shared. Myths, as we know, may be broken, but their messages still prevail. 

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