One of my favorite things in the world that I don’t talk about enough is mythology. When most people hear that word they think of the Greek myths. Of Zeus. Of Hera. Of Kevin Sorbo.
Not me. Especially that last bit. While I love Greek metrology, I am more enamored by the human mind’s ability to take the world around it and create myth. That’s not just the wind, a god is blowing because if they don’t the world will end.
When I first heard the concept as a child, I was blown away by it. It, of course, was in conjunction with the Greek and Roman myth. Here were two groups of people who fought, and died, and created empires over something that we now know isn’t true. There is no god of thunder. The wind does not blow because a god wants it. But that didn’t matter to the Greeks and it didn’t matter the Romans. It was true to them.
I don’t want you to get me wrong, I don’t think they were stupid. This fiction helped to explain the world around them. That’s a great thing, there has got to be things that I believe that future generations will know are wrong, so if the Greeks wanted to believe in something awesome like a woman can be born full formed out of a dude’s head then who am I to judge. I live the in same hard world they did. As long as it doesn’t hurt other people, do what you want to get through the day.
Once I new about the Greeks and the Romans, I wanted more. But it had to be something contemporary. I was into conspiracy theories for a while. I loved hearing what some people what the “truth” behind Roswell and JFK. It’s American folklore at its best. It also didn’t hurt that while I was getting into conspiracy theories that the X-files was the biggest show in the country. Nowadays, they don’t seem as fun as they used to.
Another really good mythology is the Cthulhu Mythos from H.P. Lovecraft. To be honest, his writing isn’t the greatest and I’m not the biggest fan of horror fiction, but he plays with the best ideas.
And at the end of the day, that’s all mythology is: the exchange of ideas.
In fact, Lovecraft knew he was onto something by creating his own mythology so he got other writers to add to it. He open sourced his pantheon. And he did it back in the 30’s.
A lot of others have followed in his foot steps. We have mythology all around us now. That’s about all science fiction and fantasy are. We have Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings. Super Heroes rule the box office now.
Basically what I’m saying is: if you are into mythology, it’s a good time to be alive.