WAVE v1 i1 Mythology

Mon, 22 Nov 1993 00:11:26 -0800 (PST)

by James Mikkelsen

What will save our crumbling society? What is the soul-saving
source that so many have lost sight of? What will give people
hope and save them from a spiralling downward path? Will money
save us? Will technology save us? Will our modern-day role
models and contemporary heroes bring our culture up from the
dregs? I scarcely believe that any of these suggestions will
help us relieve ourselves from the problems of the day. However,
MYTHOLOGY, that old talent of storytelling as well as the stories
themselves, will, if we look to them as a source of clues about
life, give us guidance as individuals about the deep questions of

Consider the historical fact of the disintegration of
civilizations during the Age of Exploration. Anglo-Saxon
domination of centuries-old civilizations brought many great
empires to total ruin only a few years after initial contact.
Why? Because the religions, or mythologies, of these ancient
empires were seen as paganistic and hellish; therefore, it was
believed that they should be destroyed. The moment this decision
was made, the natives of the conquered land began to dwindle in
the belief that they could actually survive the holocaust they
found themselves in the midst of. Is this not the situation we
find ourselves in today? We have, as a majority, given up on
religious stories and, for that matter, stories from any ancient
source, that give examples about the human experience. The
stories of which I speak need not be of religious origin, but
should be stories that promote a heroine or hero or an act of
great self-giving.

There are many Native American mythologies that speak beautifully
of creation, the origin of fire, sacred lands, and other subjects
that have a familiar New Age tone to them. There are mythologies
from Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, etc. All
one needs to do is read these mythologies; whether they are
perceived to be truth or falsehood is irrelevant. They teach us
the many ways to deal with life's mysteries, inner struggles,
community struggles -- all experiences that seem to be pan-human
experiences. The Path of Life has been traveled and written of
by so many people. Are we going to allow that huge volume of
human experience to go to waste?

What do the youth of today look for? Are they looking for a
stable source on which to lock their hopes for the future? Of
course they are. However, it is from the use of drugs or else
copying self-indulgent role models that they usually get their
mystical experiences and find their heroes. At one time, Greek,
Latin, and biblical stories were required to be part of
everyone's education. When these were dropped, an entire
tradition of Occidental mythology was lost. These stories were
once part of our psyche. When stories like these are in your
mind, you see their relevance to something happening in your own
life; they give you perspective on what is happening to you.
When mythologies of such importance are forgotten, we lose a
great treasure. These ancient-time stories have themes that
support human life and its place on this small blue planet lost
in the deep velvety blackness of the universe.

There are four things we should remember about myth. First,
choose your own source of mythology. Second, myths are clues to
the spiritual potential of human life. Third, glorify those who
have passed the tests of life rather than those living today whom
time has not yet proven to be of value. And, fourth, Fate leads
him who will; him who won't, it drags.


CopyLeft 1993 by Wasatch Area Voices Express
Please distribute freely, but if you do, drop us a line to let us
know. To receive more information about W.A.V.E. (e.g., getting a postal
or email subscription, joining the WAVE network, making donations (!) or
submissions, etc.), send a message to WAVE@cc.weber.edu.
To submit a Letter To WAVE, send your editorial to WAVE@cc.weber.edu
along with your full name, full mailing address, phone number, e-mail
address, and university affiliation (if any). Only your name, e-mail
address, and university (or City/State/Country) will be printed (unless
you request that they be withheld).
We welcome all input. Thank you.

Back to the Top Level: