3 Answers

  1. I will add that there are also invented (intentionally or unintentionally) myths that become real when people believe in them. This phenomenon is called ” self-fulfilling prophecies.” Many philosophers have paid attention to this, but the sociologist William Thomas was the first to briefly describe the phenomenon in just one phrase:” phenomena that appear to be real are real in their consequences ” (or something like that). You can give such simple examples – someone came up with a myth that the national currency will begin to fall in the near future. Even if there are no grounds for this, if the mass consciousness perceives this myth as something real, people themselves will make it real, for example, by withdrawing money from deposit accounts, which will destabilize the financial system, which will lead to a fall in the exchange rate simply because of panic. A similar example is when, at the beginning of the crisis of recent years, everyone was frightened by a shortage, which caused people to storm supermarkets and wholesale outlets according to the Soviet habit, which, in fact, caused a shortage at the beginning of the crisis. The market failed to cope with the unjustified jump in demand.

    This is how a myth can not just dissolve, but on the contrary – become quite material and real.

  2. The mythology generated by humanity has no clear boundaries. This question belongs to the category of primacy of ” egg ” and “chicken”. With primitive myths, everything is simple. They are built on the principle of an unknown reality. Nature has a meaning, but that meaning drains away from the mind of primitive man. Nature is perceived as a kind of complex mechanism, filled with gears, bolts, diodes, wiring and they all spin and spin, and there is a pattern in everything, but what is the point?Antiquity, on the other hand, structured mythology and created a considerable field for future generations to interpret. On the one hand, this mythology still inherited the primitive mythology in the field of deification of natural phenomena, on the other hand, more complex civilizations required an explanation of human relations within society. Moreover, mythology was supposed to preserve the history of this society. As a result, everyday parables and descriptions of historical events were added to the deification of nature. But both types of stories were passed down by word of mouth, which greatly distorted them.

    Two examples can be given.

    Ancient Egyptian mythology was based on two important details: the pharaohs-direct descendants of the gods, and the insignificance of man before the greatness of the gods. The latter was transmitted by the fact that people were absent from mythology. They did not operate at all in the field of the mythical and religious. But the history of the gods was the history of the kings of Egypt. And then there are a dozen questions. The main question is: was the story of the gods a free retelling of the real reign of a certain dynasty in Egypt, which united disparate tribes into a single civilization, filled with fantastic events, or was it invented by this dynasty for its own praise? I'm afraid we'll never know the answer. Although you can find a lot of arguments in favor of both versions.

    The second example is the religion of Ancient Greece. Unlike the Egyptian religion, it has moved to a new stage of development. Relying entirely on the will of the gods in a developed Hellenic society was foolish. As well as to believe that kings are the personification of God on Earth, because it was Greece that gave the world democracy (albeit very perverted by modern standards). Nature is still beyond the control of man, but human life is not as insignificant as in the religion of ancient Egypt. There is a concept of free will and a cult of heroes. And if the first one is rather an applied use of certain parables, then the second one has a whole field for interpretation. The way the heroes of Greek myths live, work, and die has long been a byword. These are real saints. Someone was born of God, someone was awarded a gift from God (talent is translated from Greek as a gift of God), someone was protected by the gods during life's difficulties, but in the end he succeeded. They fight mythical monsters, do things beyond the control of mere mortals, and perish with genuine martyrdom. And they, as heroes, are given access to Olympus after death. But in all the stories, everyday things constantly break through. They have simple Greek names, they come from ordinary Greek cities, sometimes their childhood is described as the childhood of the average Greek. And many of their exploits could easily have fallen victim to translation difficulties. You can recall the mythical monster of the Minotaur, which in some interpretations turns into King Minos, who ruled on the island of Crete! And then the stories about the heroes acquire an additional reality. These are highly distorted stories from the lives of the great Greeks of the past. A birth from God can be a banal pregnancy of an unmarried woman without a father. It is possible that some stories are entirely made up, but it is difficult to say which ones exactly.

    Based on this, we can rather conclude that mythology works both ways. And to say that a practical, applied approach prevails over the sacralization of the ordinary, or vice versa, is impossible. After all, myths are born every day. Just look at the experience of world revolutions, each of which generates its own hero. And over time, it becomes more and more indistinguishable from the images that the ancient Hellenes admired. After all, one of the most widespread religions in the world has as its basis the image of a revolutionary who died in an attempt to free the people from the shackles of tyranny and imperialism.

  3. Myths are born out of people's need to explain what they don't understand. Rather, the conscious pursuit of truth and the desire to understand are combined with an unconscious fear of the unknown. The “I do not know, so I know” scheme works flawlessly, but, as practice shows, it is not in favor of a correct understanding of the world.

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