Introduction: Myths & Legends & Worldview

Setting Myths and Legends as a theme for October was easy.  October has traditionally been the month in which stories and tales of the paranormal reigns—and there’ll be some of those.  It’s important, however, to look at what is behind those stories and tales—worldviews that differ immeasurably from the modern world’s where logic and the scientific method hold sway. 

When looking back on the past, archaeologists process what they discover using the scientific method, a linear (methodical) way of observing, investigating, interpreting and explaining data.  Their conclusions, however, may reveal only an infinitesimal piece of the real, sometimes nonlinear, puzzle that is the past.

Imagine yourself 30,000 years in the future.  Much of what exists from today will have rotted, corroded, toppled.  What would archeologists, if they still exist, make of what they see?  Without context, they can only attemp to fit pieces that they discover into a framework that will create a muddy picture of who and what we actually were.

A Bone Flute

Looking backward, where our myths and legends were born, presents a similar problem.  Many observations about how early man thought and lived have changed over time.  Is the hollow bone pierced at the top discovered by an archaeologist excavating a cave a necklace ornament, a sewing needle or a musical instrument?  What does it tell us about how the person who owned it thought or what they valued?

Myths and legends can answer some of the questions about a culture’s worldview.  For instance, What is the society’s explanation of the world?, Where are we heading? (the future), “What should we do?” (ethics and values), “How should we attain our goals?”, “What is true and false?” (knowledge), and Where did we come from? (origins).  (Source of worldview points: The Center Leo Apostel for Interdisciplinary Studies (CLEA))

So tomorrow, when we look at animism, pantheism, mythology, and philosophy as a framework for our myths and legends, keep those questions in mind.  Rita Bay

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Introduction: Myths & Legends & Worldview

  1. I think myths are more than that as well though. I think they are important to us today not just to tell us what was important to other cultures. I think they can help us learn how to be human, they can teach us how to celebrate and survive being human, they can teach us how to live as communities.

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