This is the second in the series of posts checking out the classical purpose of myth throughout prehistoric and historic times as well as current perversion in America. This post considers a number of ways in which myth is expressed.
In the initial post with this series, I described myth to be a folklore genre composed of narratives that play an essential role in society. Myth is usually a way of expressing the biggest thing to individuals, groups, tribes and cultures throughout history. A whole book could possibly be written about these traditions. In this post, I will focus on a few Western traditions that you and I could possibly be more familiar.
Tradition within the Jewish belief is Midrash, writings relevant to the interpretation of biblical texts. This includes the purpose of the words, precisely what is behind the link and what’s beyond it. A body of Midrash is compiled by Jewish biblical scholars in the past, an essential part of which were compiled from the early centuries A.D.
Christianity possesses its own traditions and explanations on the Hebrew scripture, known as the Old Testament and also the more specifically Christian bible the New Testament. The Church Fathers was comprised of writers also residing in early centuries AD. Their work dedicated to explanation and interpretation of the purpose of the Christian bible still prominently revered and called in scholarly discussion on the bible by Christians. The main fathers were Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine and Gregory the Great.
Although Muslim belief and tradition is really a recent newcomer in Western society, additionally, it plays a tremendous role inside thinking and belief of some Americans. According to Muslim belief, the goal of life is to reside in complete submission to Allah whom Muslims believe to get the same God as those of Jewish and Christian traditions. People are liberated to follow or otherwise not to follow Allah’s will for the kids but there eternal consequences to make the wrong choice. They believe that Allah’s will is revealed inside Koran provided by Allah to Muhammad, the Torah presented to Moses, The Gospel of Jesus, the psalms to David, and scrolls to Abraham.
That leaves atheists. They do not have any belief in divinely revealed truth. Perhaps the best characterization with the atheistic approach is incorporated into an incident involving George Bernard Shaw. Someone once asked him what could happen if when he dies he discover there is often a God. His reply was “If there is really a God we’ll sit down and discuss it man to man.”
Among the psychological thinkers with the last two centuries, Alfred Adler wrote around the concept of “guiding fiction.” He saw this to be a personal principle which people depend upon to guide their comprehension of life and rehearse to form the foundation of how they act. It does not appear a large number of people are necessarily aware with the principles they live by. Yet most of them act consistently as though in line with a collection of beliefs. This group of beliefs can often be more evident to others rather than the individual. Ideally the guiding fiction is realistic and adaptive based on Adler. In other words these are in tune together with the true nature of these culture and necessary to them in living a meaningful life.
Nicholas Shumway has extended the concept of guiding fictions to nations where their peoples look to understand what they’re about and what their dreams are as nations. The United States has among its guiding fictions “the American dream, the melting pot, and government in the people, with the people, for that people.”
These fictions represent the perfect but we don’t always meet it. Yet we still see these fictions as our goals therefore we would like to think we are now living in accordance with these. We have often failed over the history of our nation. At the time our nation was founded, “We the People” in reality meant white men in most cases to the exclusion on the native people living during the entire continent, people of several color and traditions and marginalization of ladies. More recently we have now marginalized those with other than traditional sexual orientation and identity although we now have made progress with this area. We have also marginalized the indegent to some extent, sometimes blaming them with regards to predicament and leaving these to their own devices.
Despite this we’ve a new method of looking at 1 another on the horizon as well as the prospect of utilizing the needs with the earth into mind as we proceed. We may also move closer to your original guiding fiction or myth for that country and maybe for the world. In the next post, we’ll look some historical distortions of myth along with the harm they’ve got done.