Intersection between Myth and Culture

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Short Paper 2

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Intersection between Myth and Culture

“Greek and Roman mythology is quite generally supposed to show us the way the human race thought and felt untold ages ago. Through it, according to this view, we can retrace the path from civilized man who lives so far from nature, to man who lived in close companionship with nature; and the real interest of the myths is that they lead us back to a time when the world was young and people had a connection with the earth, with trees and seas and flowers and hills, unlike anything we ourselves can feel (Hamilton 12).”

Culture and myth are two elements of human life that are inseparable. In the above excerpt from Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, myths from the legendary Roman and Greek life are explored, with the author noting that the aim of mythology is to provide a worldview of a culture into a people’s world. Culture can be explained by the way people tell and pass on myths from one generation to the next (Frauenfelder 211). In this discussion, the intersection between myth and culture is explored. Ultimately, culture and myth have a deep connection where one informs the existence of the other in a clear link of explaining how people, who are a part of a culture or mythology, view life and other aspects of living.

Myth-making is a human creative activity that has been undertaken throughout history. Traditions, folklore, and tall tales all include myths and legends that may reveal a great deal about how people see and comprehend the world in which they find themselves. Individuals express themselves and arrange their lives and the environment through the various elements of culture, which also serve to convey their culture and values. Individuals express themselves and organize their lives and the environment through the many aspects of culture. Many of the same themes, architecture, images, and characters can be found in myths from many civilizations, and they all attempt to explain the mysteries of the universe. For most of human history, myths have formed and reflected communities, and they have served as a source of cultural cohesiveness across the world (Frauenfelder 211). Myths are often used in the process of constructing a common set of beliefs, views, and history. The purpose of a myth is to offer the audience with a reality that they may then interpret in accordance with their own cultural values and traditions. Therefore, there is a clear link between myth and culture, seeing that one is part of the other and that none can exist independent of the other.

An individual’s conduct is shaped and influenced by their culture, which is composed of their collectively held beliefs, values, and worldview. Humans create, learn, and transmit culture in large part via language and other means of communication. People don’t get their culture from their parents but, instead, it’s something they learn (Murnaghan 81). To deal with basic issues, people build and sustain cultures (such as survival, geographical, social, economic, and philosophical). A culture must address the basic needs of its adherents, design systems to ensure its transmission and continuance across time, and provide an orderly existence for its members. Working together, people and organizations with different interests must come up with a culture that can meet everyone’s needs. The interests of the dominant group in a community are typically more important (Hamilton 77), than those of other subordinate groups, thus creating a dominant culture.

In order to explain the cosmos, a culture’s myths and legends are compiled into mythologies (Hamilton 78). To begin, myths are usually religious stories that give supernatural explanations for cultural elements and positions such as the creation, death, punishment, and the cultural position on the afterlife.  It is common for myths to incorporate supernatural beings/powers, and for them to mimic human interactions on a daily basis. The story of how the world was created to be is told in origin myths. Symbols communicate a culture’s vision of the universe, including its ideas and assumptions about how humans fit into the natural and cosmic order.

Creation, mortality, the immortality, man’s as well as the world’s origins, right and wrong, and the nature of man are all significant themes in mythological narratives and legends. The reality that so many individuals, who may have never met before, have come up with tales that are startlingly similar is solid evidence of the applicability of these concepts (Frauenfelder 213). People all around the globe, from Asia to Rome and Greece, have come to believe in stories about catastrophes, virgin childbirth, and the afterlife. Historically, mythical beliefs have had a profound impact on culture, mostly because they reveal the roots of a certain community. They display how the gods developed civilization, as well as the difficulties they encountered in the process of doing so. Historically, the Greeks believed that divinities ruled over nature and directed them in their everyday activities. People in ancient Greece participated in religious rites in order to satisfy their deities and secure good fortune for themselves and their descendants (Hamilton 59). The beginnings of the cosmos and all its occupants are described in mythology, which also serves as a vital guideline to the human existence as a whole. This paradigm was embraced by several communities since it allows people to have a better knowledge of what was going on throughout the globe at the time. In a similar way, myth has an influence on contemporary cultural activities.

The connection between individual and communal consciousness levels of diverse symbolic forms in culture, incompatible ways of thinking, and worldview kinds, as well as their interaction with one another, is one of the most essential characteristics of the postmodern world. Myth is a strong cultural emblem that has been around for a very long time. When seen through the lens of myth, its contradictory and complex structure indicates the stability of its parts; it lives and evolves within the present social and cultural environment, penetrating all areas of human activity and displaying universal appeal (Frauenfelder 213). People in the early phases of human development gained their attitudes about life and their place in it by looking at the world through the prism of these conceptions, which they subsequently applied to their own experiences in the later stages of development. Despite the rise in popularity of philosophy and science, mythology has retained its role as a useful source of knowledge. Mythical tales have served as inspiration for a wide variety of religious traditions throughout history, showing how and culture intertwine.

To conclude, the discussion shows that we may be able to have a better knowledge and interpretation of the world around us if we study mythology. The ideas of “human” and “the world” are two of the most fundamental conceptions in the worldview of the religion. The discussion further proves the connection between culture and myth, informed by Hamilton’s text on Mythology. The discussion shows that culture and myth have a deep connection where one informs the existence of the other in a clear link of explaining how people, who are a part of a culture or mythology, view life and other aspects of living.

Works Cited

Frauenfelder, David. “Popular Culture and Classical Mythology.” The Classical World (2005): 210-213.

Hamilton, Edith. Mythology (75th Anniversary Illustrated Edition): Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes. Black Dog & Leventhal, 2017.

Murnaghan, Sheila. “Myths of the Greeks: The Origins of Mythology in the Works of edith hamilton and robert Graves.” Classical Bulletin 84.1 (2009): 81.

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