Foundations of Mythology
•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.
The word “myth” is popularly used to provide understanding or reasoning behind many of the complex questions that we may have in our lives. Questioning our existence and the struggle to understand why we are on the earth has provoked the creation of many myths that attempt to give meaning to the world we live in. In an academic context, the word “myth” is what we use to describe the way our ancestors perceived the world around them at that time.
When we study ancient cultures we refer to many of their beliefs as myths because over time we have gained a better understanding of the world around us and can provide logical explanations for why certain events have occurred. My definition of the word “myth” is the collection of fact-based events used to provide understanding, meaning, and values in a fictional passage that help to tie generations of cultures together.
•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.
Myths from different cultures around the world are similar or have universal themes because, like today, we all experience very similar events throughout our lives. We all try to make sense of our surroundings and strive to know how or why we exist. For many cultures, they look to the sky to gain understanding of so many things like day, night, the changing of the seasons, and even weather.
All of these things happen to every culture around the world and to understand these happenings better they developed stories with characters that could answer these questions. These stories were also used to explain a culture’s origin, history, and values in ways that all could relate to or understand. An example would be that in almost every culture there is belief in some sort of creator or god that put life on the earth and set everything in motion. With this there are many differences in how the creator came to be and how life was started on theearth but they all have the same belief in the creator.