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Mythology not useless afterall

  1. Feb 17, 2004 #1
    I'm taking an intro classical mythology this semester. After several classes it's surprising to find out how much the western world incorporates mythological elements and ideas into our culture. Especially our language, but that is likely do to latin influences anyway. Also it is interesting to realize that many of our usernames here have mythological influences.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 17, 2004 #2
    Greg, have you read the book "Decipher?"

    It talks about similar mythological connections and how they were intentionally created to pass a message. It's a great read.
     
  4. Feb 17, 2004 #3

    chroot

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    I use mythology to teach people the constellations.

    - Warren
     
  5. Feb 17, 2004 #4
    Ya, and I heard that my username, is mythological now too ...
     
  6. Feb 18, 2004 #5

    russ_watters

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    It may not be useful in a practical sense, but it can sure make you sound smarter if you can talk about it!
     
  7. Feb 18, 2004 #6

    Njorl

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    I imagine most myths have information in them that was useful when they were current. They probably were how people governed their planting seasons, maintained consistant laws, and kept a similar culture to their neighbors. I bet a good story could transcend invasion. If your myths were good enough, invaders would adopt your culture rather than destroy it. Somebody should write a book, or do a TV series on PBS called "The Power of Myth" :wink:

    Njorl
     
  8. Feb 18, 2004 #7

    Monique

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    Could you elaborate? [?]
     
  9. Feb 18, 2004 #8
    This sounds like a good idea, Njorl, but after ten or so years, who would remember it?
     
  10. Feb 18, 2004 #9

    kat

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  11. Feb 20, 2004 #10

    russ_watters

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    Uh, yeah, uh, a little knowledge of mythology can also help prevent foot-in-mouth disease (sorry Nereid). [b(]
     
  12. Feb 20, 2004 #11

    Monique

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    So what is this mythology thing all about [?]
    noone explained it yet :frown:
     
  13. Feb 21, 2004 #12

    russ_watters

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    Do we have a language barrier here? Mythology is the stories/legends the ancients made up. Its the basis for the constellations, for example. Zeus, Mount Olympus, Hercules, Jason and the Argonauts, the Minotar, Perseus, Icarus, etc.
     
  14. Feb 21, 2004 #13

    Monique

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    So then how is mythology usefull?
     
  15. Feb 21, 2004 #14
    I suppose the only way it is useful to me is because most of the terms and elements are in latin. I am I learning a little latin which is interesting because alot of our language and words are derived from latin too, especially scientific. Many companies also use latin in their company names. For example "Nike" is latin for "Victory".
     
  16. Feb 21, 2004 #15
    I would have thought that a wider use of mythology studies would be to show how myth shapes culture and vice-versa. You can learn alot about people by looking at the myths they create. Everything from the Greek and Roman pantheons, to the Judeo-Christian myths, all the way up to modern icons such as Superman, can shed light on a people in a way that more "sterile" investigating cannot.
     
  17. Feb 21, 2004 #16

    Monique

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    Oh, you mean: Despite her ancestry, Nike fought on the side of the Olympian gods against the Titans, and thus was considered a manifest representation of the victory of the Olympians.

    Well, yes, that is kinda funny.

    N.B. - the proper Greek pronunciation of the name Nike is "Nee kay".
     
  18. Feb 21, 2004 #17
    Is that supposed to be a hint?
     
  19. Feb 21, 2004 #18

    Monique

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    mythology IS usefull
     
  20. Feb 21, 2004 #19

    LURCH

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    That is also the ebonic pronunciation.

    I think the value of mythology goes far beyond terminology, or even history/anthropology. The basic tenants behind most ancient myths are moral and ethical lessons still applicable to the modern day. Like the god Janus, whose reason for existing was the fact that there are two sides to nearly every event, and that for one thing to begin often necessitates that another must end. Or the lesson of Hermes, which teaches us not to take everything at face value, things aren't always what they appear, or Icarus, who got distracted by the wonder of new technology to the point where he neglected to apply it responsibly. The story of Narcicus reveals that excessive self-love is really a form of self-loathing and is ultimately self destructive.

    Today we have science fiction, which serves pretty much the same purpose; to take people out of their familliar frames of refference to look at humanity from an outsider's perspective. Much can be revealed by this technique, which is probably the reason it is still practiced.
     
  21. Feb 21, 2004 #20
    Try this one.....

    One that I had thought about would be the unicorn.....seeing it sorta like an Innu (Native of Northern Canada) was lost at sea in his kayak, found in Vinland (for lack of the right name for that area and or region of the earth...wherever that legend started) by a Vinlandian native who revived the innu hunter with fresh water, and nursed them back to health. The Innu, being a grateful man, offered up a Narwhale tusk as reward for the people who saved hs life...they, in return, attempted to communicate with this man as to ascertain where had he gotten such a delightful attifact/treasure....being that neither of them could speak in the others language, they used gestures to communicate, the Vinlandian posing in the "What/where" posture, (plus) the Innu responding as to the "from what creature" inquiry, by mimicry of a NarWhale breaching the waters, (two hands in front of his chest, rears back a little, then up...) the Vinladian recognized it immediatly as a Horse rearing back.....birth of the Unicorn...legend/Myth....?
     
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