Comparative Mythology as Method
The following post is an introduction to looking at Comparative Mythology as a study method and considering the structure of its possible methodologies. The purpose of this post is to lead on to an article and create a discussion about Comparative Mythology as Method whilst generating dynamic debate about the role of mythology in our lives today.
As human beings we construct our realities as we perceive them to be without understanding that the concept of truth itself is completely relative. Anyone who espouses universal truths has to be treated with the utmost suspicion of folly at best and rank stupidity at worse. Unless they can demonstrate that they have been in all places of the universe, at all times and through all dimensions, known and unknown, then any truth they espouse can only ever be partial and completely conditional. the gap between their conditional knowledge and any statement of the universality of their own truth is puerly one of belief and therefore it is a mythology. Though ego and vanity will protest this point sound intellect can only agree.
Understanding this primacy of mythology within the operation of the human psyche is problematic for most people and claimed intelligence is no guarantee of perception in this subject. There are many who talk about mythology, there are many who have written about mythology, most do not understand what it is they are discussing, some are able to make limited insights, a few have a rudimentary grasp of the subject and its issues and a desparately small group of thinkers grasp the full import of this subject. Merely to write this sentence is to attract withering criticism and rejection for those controlled by their own mythologies can never allow themselves to be so exposed and have their social status dismissed as an irrellevance.
If we want to understand and comprehend our reality then we have to understand and comprehend ourselves. In order to do that we need to be able to surrender our mythologies and we can only do that when we recognise them as such, mere beliefs founded on dreams and nothing of any substance or durability. If such a yielding is impossible then the individual is lost to the beauty of the universe and destined to live out a life in shadows and falsehood. This fate is not so awful if you live within a mythic community of peers who share your own shadows and falsehoods. In that society of theatrical farce, they will each find their status and position respected and honoured, their lives will be spoken of as having merit and they will go to their graves as people of value. Once buried or burnt, their value is meaningless no matter how their fellow deluded souls would write histories to defend against the hand of death.
In the end, mythologies are forgotten as easily as lives are no longer remembered. They are transient things designed only to assist the frail human psyche survive the experience of a life which only gurantees complete extinction of the individual without any compensation other than to have been alive. If we seek meaning then we have to look in places other than mythologies and to do that we need to understand what mythologies are.
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