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Role of Myth in Contemporary Society

Determining if mythical values are present in America today, and to determine the sources of contemporary myths (television, films,video games, novels, comic books, music, art etc). And to give examples of the myths, heroes, and values present.

A) Do we live with myths today?

B) What is its role?

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1. I need help understanding this: Determining if mythical values are present in America today, and to determine the sources of contemporary myths (television, films, video games, novels, comic books, music, art etc). And to give examples of the myths, heroes, and values present. A) Do we live with myths today? I say yes B) what is its role?

Clearly, we do live with myths today. Myths survive from generation to generation, and new myths seem to arise to meet the needs of the American psyche, and play an important part of the American identity. Myth is an ancient human art. It has played a vital role in societies the world over for millennia. Only with the Greeks did there begin to be a disdain for myth as an unworthy practice for rational human beings. Then Christianity denounced myth as falsehood that contradicted the Bible. Myth was in ill repute in the western world through the 19th century. According to one source, in our own century this attitude has changed considerably. Freud used myths to describe his theories of the unconscious. Jung asserted a collective unconscious with archetypes drawn out of mythic knowledge. Mircia Eliade and Joseph Campbell and others have brought mythic stories and their importance to widespread public attention. Few of us still think of myth as merely fable or invention or diction, a primitive mode of belief that we have transcended, as was the common belief only a century ago. We tend to regard myth as another medium through which truth might be glimpsed. Most of us would probably not embrace myth with the enthusiasm of Raphael Patai who declared that everything is myth. But only a few of us would join the late Paul Beattie in urging us to resist myth and "grasp the world as it is." Many of us now suspect that myth is one of the ways by which we might be able to "grasp the world as it is." http://www.uuaa.org/sermons/myth.txt

Other roles of myths range from comfort (e.g., American dream), to the need for a superhero to look to in times of stress and for a sense of control (e.g., Superman), to the need to fulfill spiritual aspirations (e.g., comfort, security, meaning and purpose of life) to links to generation myths (e.g., continuity and link to ancestors), to support for personal ideology (develop hero of rugged individualism, etc.). Myths have many sources, such as television and films (mythical stories, such as Superman, Hercules, Robin Hood, etc.), comic books (e.g., Daniel Boone, Superman, Hercules, Spiderman, etc.), art (e.g., Daniel Boone, myths of the past), and in music (song lyrics that give meaning to our experiences), government and politics (e.g., American Dream ideology to quiet the people in times of war and turmoil) (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004).

In the Role of Myth (2003), myth is defined as a narrative that is timeless and timely and revealing. At its best, myth transforms us. It transforms us be reminding us of what is inevitable and assuring us that all is well with the world. It transforms us by teaching us how to live with ourselves and our world with some measure of happiness. It transforms us by showing us that though the world itself may be indifferent to us; we do not have to be indifferent to each other. It transforms us by helping us to see that which is eternal in life (through stories, superhero characters, art, literature and film, to name a few) and that which is passing (see full article available on-line at http://www.uuaa.org/sermons/myth.txt).

In the Role of Myth (2003), myth is reported to transform us by opening our lives to wonder, to the mystery of the strange, terrible, beautiful universe that is our home. It transforms us by engaging us in the creation, hearing, and passing on of the stories of the world of myth. In doing so, we learn that, frail and temporary though we be, we have the power of narrative, the power of creating ideas, the power of naming, the power of understanding, the power of love. The ancient art of myth transforms us by ...

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This solution explores the questions: A) Do we live with myths today?B) What is its role?

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