Myth - continued

Here are a few additional thoughts from "Care of the Soul" by Thomas Moore...

page 220 "When we are trying to understand our problems and our suffering, we look for a story that will be revealing.  Our surface explanations usually show their shortcomings; they don't satisfy.  And so we turn to family themes.  Although we take stories of childhood and family literally, I think our recourse to this past is a way of reaching for myth, for the story that is deep enough to express the profound feelings we have in the present."

page 221 "Mythology, for example, often presents a cosmology, a description of how the world came to be and how it is governed.  It is important to be oriented, to have some imagination of the physical  universe in which we live.  That is why many mythologists have noted that even modern science, for all its factual validity, also gives us a cosmology, a mythology in a true sense of the word."

page222  "Mythology is not the same as myth.  Mythology is a collection of stories that attempt to portray the myths, the deep patterns that we live in our ordinary lives.  Just as stories of our childhood and family evoke the myths that we live as adults, so cultural mythology evoke mythic patterns that we may trace in modern life.  A mythology from a foreign culture can still help us imagine factors we are dealing with at the deepest levels every day.  Mythology teaches us how to imagine more profoundly than sociology or psychological categories allow."

"Myth is always a way of imagining;  it is not concerned essentially with fact, except that facts can be a starting point for a mythological story."

"Mythological thinking doesn't look for literal causes but rather for more insightful imagining.  It considers the past, but the past as myth is different from the past as fact.  As myth, the stories we tell about our lives suggest themes and figures that are operative in the present.  If we go so far back in time as to be out of history altogether, to Olympus or Eden, then we touch upon the bedrock themes that are the foundations of human existence.
     The depth of myth is one of its characteristics that make it a useful means for bringing soul into life.  As we have seen, soul is at home in a sense of time that reaches beyond the limits of ordinary human life.  The soul is interested in eternal issues, even as it is embedded in the particulars of ordinary life.  This, the interpenetration of time and eternity, is one of the great mysteries explored by many religions and is itself the subject of many mythologies."

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