Saturday, February 11, 2017

Mythology: Why and how myths are created

Myths Series
Myth making: my plan
What are myths, legends, and folklore? Definitions (Quotes)
Joseph Cambell : Myths
Mythology: How they are created

In the first post, I looked at the definitions followed by quotes from the late scholar Joseph Cambell concerning myths. In the last post, I looked at several types of myths and how they function in societies. In this post I begin using a thread from the last posts concerning mythical heroes. How do heroes come to be.

There are explanations of how myths of great heroes come to be.
  1. Based on a few truths and real experiences of real life people, whose stories are exaggerated (hyperbole) and change over time through oral retelling and alterations.
  2. Mythical beings are allegories (metaphors, symbols) of real natural phenomena.
  3. Mythical heroes are personifications of inanimate objects or forces.
  4. Myths and rituals arise together. Myths explain and support rituals.
From a mythology stand point some heroes were real people, some are allegories, some personifications, and some arose in hand with rituals. Heroes play an important part in society as mentioned in the last post for helping to bring meaning to life, serve as examples, and justify cultural activities to name a few from the last post.

I assume that if there were no real people to serve as examples for the myths that fictional represented heroes can take the place of real people. Why did these myth stories become good mediums for ancient and modern people to transmit the stories?

Why are myths good mediums for transmitting knowledge?

1.Easy to remember in an illiterate society in which ideas cannot be written nor read.
2.Approachable and somewhat understandable by people of any level of intelligence, including people for whom a philosophical discourse would be incomprehensible.
3.Stimulating to the imagination and feelings, where the effect can be more profound and life-changing than that from intellectual comprehension.

In a time when books were rare or non-existent, stories preserve ancient knowledge. The mythical stories are many times entertaining and envoke feelings which may be understandable to less educated as well as highly educated people. The myths of old were the movies, TV shows, and dramas of the common people of the past. They were the comic and manga books.

Along with the functions and types of myths, how can I understand by interpreting myths? This sort of mixes up all of the proceeding lists and summarizes it 12 perspectives.

Ways to Interpret Myths

1.  As a belief system.
2.  As disguised history.
3.  As disguised philosophy or allegory.
4.  As fables illustrating moral truths.
5.  As allegories of natural events.
6.  As pre-scientific explanation.
7.  As charters for customs, institutions, or beliefs.
8.  As religious power, or metaphors for the unknown.
9.  As expressions of religious rituals.
10.  As examples of psychological archetypes.
11.  As stories.
12.  As embodying irreconcilable structural conflicts in social systems.

Now knowing why myths are created, how can I create a myth?

I found a simple process found in wiki-how. These instructions give more specific keys into helping to craft a myth, together with all of the prior points kept in mind.

How to create mythology

  1. Decide where you want your myth to be set.
  2. Start to create your characters. 
  3. Understand the conventions of myths in the culture you are created; most are passed down orally 'by speech' and this means they have features of speech, such as repetition 'Fee, Fi, Fo Fum...' or the rule of three
  4. Come up with appropriate names.
  5. Don't make it overly complicated, at least initially.
  6. End your story with a solution to the question or problem, such as 'And that is how The God (BLANK) Created Rain.'


I think that by now I have a good working frame to try creating a few experimental myths for Aioskoru. All the reading and study can't replace actually creating mythology. In my next posts I will revisit my initial creation myth which is very small.

I'll decide what limits that the mythology will keep and which cultural perspective to begin with initially.

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