What's your favorite Myth?

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Reply Fri 10 Jul, 2009 11:58 pm
What's your favorite Myth?

When I typically think about myths, I think about Gods, hero's, and other beings in primordial, ancient, or even an alternate worlds altogether. Usually, these myths seem to underline some type of popular conception of a particular societies view of the world as well as the values that society embraces. But what I find interesting is that myths in particular have an ontological quality to them. In other words, they establish the origins of the norms, rituals, and codes a society lives by and attempt to explain them to in the best and possibly the most plausible way possible. Think about "the founding fathers" in American revolutionary lore. Same thing.

But myths just aren't myths in themselves. Myths take on a wide degree of forms. I personally believe that ontological aspects of a myth (finding the primacy of a given trait in society like in the epic of Gilgamesh) are very prevalent. But myths work in other ways as well, like forming the foundations of social myths (like the roles of a "good" woman or a "dishonorable man like in the story of Cranae of Athens), exemplifying the dichotomy of good and evil in the form of warriors and villains (like Odysseus and the suitors), and even go so far as explain the ultimate destiny of the world (like the Norse conception of Ragnarok).
preferably an old and established myth).

Mine is the story of Romulus and Remusrepublicanhttp://i30.tinypic.com/akhu.jpg
 
salima
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 01:34 am
@VideCorSpoon,
mine is pandora-would have been my name on the forum if i wanted to hide out...i see my avatar as being pandora...

but when i read about it in wikipedia, it sucks.

here's my version from memory (with embellishments):
pandora was a mortal favored by the gods. she had a heart of gold and innocence of a child. she was playing one day when she heard voices coming from inside a beautiful carved and gilded box-she opened it to see who or what was inside, and was thrown back forcefully by a swarm of bee-like flying insects making horrible noises who gathered into a huge black cloud and and flew out the window, scattering in all directions and multip-lying over the earth.

pandora got up and slammed the box shut, wondering what had she done and would the gods be displeased. she sat there wringing her hands and mentally agonizing over the fate of the world as well as herself. what had she unleashed? then she heard a soft little voice coming from inside the box crying 'let me out, let me out!'. she thought could it be a trick? how much more trouble did she want to risk? but the voice sounded so sincere, and pandora was filled with compassion that overpowered her reason; she could have waited and asked the gods what to do, but she followed her heart and opened the box. out came a beautiful tiny little creature, a sort of nymph with golden wings. she said 'thank you' to pandora and flew away.

the gods found pandora sitting with the empty box and knew what had happened. she started crying and saying she was sorry, but they told her not to blame herself. the bees were a lot of misery for mankind-illness, cruelty, hardships of all kinds, that they would have to battle all their lives for as long as the last man was left. but the last little creature was Hope who made it possible for them to bear...

the idea is i guess that without misery man wouldnt be able to transcend his limits....anyway, i like that story.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 02:27 am
@VideCorSpoon,
There are so many to chose from, I guess mine would be King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and Merlin and Avalon and Guinnevere, the whole story. I also like the celtic story of the fairy folk coming out of the hills on All Hollows Eve and the story of the Firbolg. I like alot of mythology.
 
Lily
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 03:01 am
@VideCorSpoon,
I'm like all the stories about the knights templar, they contain everything I'm intrested in, christianity, Jesus, brave knights, the holy grail and unsolved mysteries. I think that most of what's said about the knights templars are just myths. But I like that they were real, but still have a connection to the fairytales, King Arthur and so on. I also like King Arthur stories, and myths from the ancient greeks and the myths from scandinavia about Tor, Oden and those guys.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 03:14 am
@VideCorSpoon,
Yes I like Norse mythology too, I like them all. I find the myth of the Minotaur fascinating.
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 04:33 am
@VideCorSpoon,
The book of Job - for the sheer hilarity really.

After years of piety he is hit by disaster. Unlike most innocent victims he is allowed to converse with God about the seeming injustice of it all only to hear the answer of "you wouldn't understand".

Many theologians have wrestled with the same questions at book length only to end up with the same answer.
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 04:53 am
@VideCorSpoon,
love the Mahabharata, and Hindu mythology in general
 
salima
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 05:45 am
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen;76590 wrote:
The book of Job - for the sheer hilarity really.

After years of piety he is hit by disaster. Unlike most innocent victims he is allowed to converse with God about the seeming injustice of it all only to hear the answer of "you wouldn't understand".

Many theologians have wrestled with the same questions at book length only to end up with the same answer.


what's not to understand?

piety is nothing when everything is going good. the true test of anything in a person is how he fares when the bad times come, isnt it?
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 05:57 am
@salima,
salima;76596 wrote:
what's not to understand?
Well, the book is really a comic meditation on why bad things happen to good people in a universe putatively designed by a benevolent omnipotence.

Q: Why do bad things happen to good people in a universe putatively designed by a benevolent omnipotence?

A: Moves in mysterious ways. Can you draw Leviathan with a hook? No? Well stop asking awkward questions of God then!

I don't think it provides a good example of behaviour in the face of adversity - unless taking to your bed and complaining is helpful.
 
xris
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 06:12 am
@Lily,
Lily;76585 wrote:
I'm like all the stories about the knights templar, they contain everything I'm intrested in, christianity, Jesus, brave knights, the holy grail and unsolved mysteries. I think that most of what's said about the knights templars are just myths. But I like that they were real, but still have a connection to the fairytales, King Arthur and so on. I also like King Arthur stories, and myths from the ancient greeks and the myths from scandinavia about Tor, Oden and those guys.
You took me back to a castle overlooking the sea in Corfu,a nights templars castle it was a magic place.
 
Caroline
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 06:14 am
@VideCorSpoon,
Do you remember the name of the castle please xris?
 
xris
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 06:51 am
@Caroline,
Caroline;76605 wrote:
Do you remember the name of the castle please xris?
No but i can find out when i get home,i let you know..xris
 
richrf
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 07:10 am
@xris,
One of my favorites is Prometheus delivery the gift of fire to humanity.

Fire, the essence of movement, appears prominently in many ancient philosophies including Heraclitus who thought it was the essence of all life, and Eastern philosophy in the form of Qi.

Rich
 
salima
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 09:20 am
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen;76600 wrote:
Well, the book is really a comic meditation on why bad things happen to good people in a universe putatively designed by a benevolent omnipotence.

Q: Why do bad things happen to good people in a universe putatively designed by a benevolent omnipotence?

A: Moves in mysterious ways. Can you draw Leviathan with a hook? No? Well stop asking awkward questions of God then!"

I don't think it provides a good example of behaviour in the face of adversity - unless taking to your bed and complaining is helpful.


i know what you mean-my mother tried to make me a catholic, and this is part of why it didnt work. these are the answers we get when we ask the people who are supposed to know. and no, the bible version doesnt make sense. in the qur'an the complaining doesnt happen.

atheists also ask that question sometimes. if you compare people you know who have had it easy in life and people who have had more troubles and trials, i think you will find the latter group will be the more brave, strong, compassionate and philosophical, probably more resourceful, and a lot of other benefits that come to those who struggle.

there is a sufi tradition of giving thanks for everything that befalls him-even misfortune-as though it were a gift of love.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 10:25 am
@salima,
Salima,

Fantastic myth! Its intersecting because many scholars believe that Pandora is the mythological predecessor to Eve in the Garden of Eden. One interpretation has it that the box that Pandora opened was given to her by Zeus which contained all the elements left over from Prometheus' creation of man. (the guy who gave man fire and was doomed to be chained to a rock and have his liver pecked out every day) When Pandora foolishly opened the box, she only managed to trap hope inside. You can definitely see the parallels of Adam with Prometheus and Pandora with Eve.

Caroline,Lily,

On the knights templar, I have always been fascinated with the legends of the Merovingians. Haven't read too much into though, but it sounds fascinating.

Dave Allen,

The book of Job is so far reaching and complex in its origins and interpretation. It's really a great myth. Some scholars say that Job is a Judaic-Christian interpretation of elements of the Odyssey and specifically Odysseus' relationship with Poseidon. The thesis that the choices that you make in turn make you the person you are today is a far reaching message in almost every culture and branch of society. It's a shame that many choose to interpret it based off of the Christian label alone rather than the core of the story though, it's really a great myth with an integral message.

Aedes,

Gotta love Krishna, the eight avatar of Vishnu. I don't think I could read even a good portion of the epic though. I'm only really familiar with the Bhagavad-Gita and Krishna's counsel in time of war to Arjuna. But come to think of it, I think that the issue between Arjuna and sacred duty and the issue between the slaying of Remus at the hands of Romulus are connected. In both cases, Romulus and Arjuna are compelled to do their duty, whether it be a sacred duty to the city or in the fulfillment of Dharmic course. Its good stuff.
 
Dave Allen
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 10:48 am
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;76631 wrote:
Dave Allen,

The book of Job is so far reaching and complex in its origins and interpretation. It's really a great myth. Some scholars say that Job is a Judaic-Christian interpretation of elements of the Odyssey and specifically Odysseus' relationship with Poseidon. The thesis that the choices that you make in turn make you the person you are today is a far reaching message in almost every culture and branch of society. It's a shame that many choose to interpret it based off of the Christian label rather alone rather than the core of the story though, it's really a great myth with an integral message.

I personally think the Odyssey has a rather more clear influence on the Book of Jonah, with it's themes of a lengthy and troublesome nautical wandering as the result of hubris (Odysseus and Jonah are both heedless of prophecy).

I do see why Job's relationship with Yahweh might be seen as synonymous with Odysseus and Poseidon - though I think the meditation on why bad things happen to good people is more clearly delineated. Odysseus is in the Greek heroic mould - an adventursome pirate really - and therefore in terms of conventional modern morality he brings his misfortune on himself by refusing to acknowledge the wisdom of those who offer him a decent travel itinery from the beginning. His troubles are the result of his lifestyle.

Whereas Job is not noted as adventuresome, but for being good. Satan (presented as a courtier rather than an adversary) tempts Yahweh into a bet that Job can be made to despair of Yahweh if subjected to hardship - and he sort of wins really, because Job eventually does take to his bed and sulk.

So I think they are quite different - Odysseus offends by committing hubris and wounding the Cyclops, whereas Job is merely the victim of a wager.
 
VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 12:26 pm
@Dave Allen,
Dave Allen;76638 wrote:
I personally think the Odyssey has a rather more clear influence on the Book of Jonah, with it's themes of a lengthy and troublesome nautical wandering as the result of hubris.

I do see why Job's relationship with Yahweh might be seen as synonymous with Odysseus and Poseidon - though I think the meditation on why bad things happen to good people is more clearly delineated. Odysseus is in the Greek heroic mould - an adventursome pirate really - and therefore in terms of conventional modern morality he brings his misfortune on himself by refusing to acknowledge the wisdom of those who offer him a decent travel itinery from the beginning. His troubles are the result of his lifestyle.

Whereas Job is not noted as adventuresome, but for being good. Satan (presented as a courtier rather than an adversary) tempts Yahweh into a bet that Job can be made to despair of Yahweh if subjected to hardship - and he sort of wins really, because Job eventually does take to his bed and sulk.

So I think they are quite different - Odysseus offends by ignoring hubris and wounding the Cyclops, whereas Job is merely the victim of a wager.
 
pagan
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 12:44 pm
@Dave Allen,
Quote:
Dave Allen

The book of Job - for the sheer hilarity really.

After years of piety he is hit by disaster. Unlike most innocent victims he is allowed to converse with God about the seeming injustice of it all only to hear the answer of "you wouldn't understand".
.... hmmmm Smile with all due respect dave I have to kind of disagree. I reckon the book of job as a masterpiece of its time.

I see the whole point of the story is to inspire reactions like your own, as I did when I first considered it. Another objection one initially feels is that god, having scared the wits out of job, reducing him to a quivering submissive 'loving' wreck........... then rewards him with wealth and health again! But then again in total contradiction, what kind of god would allow Satan to be so cruel to such a good loyal and loving man in the first place?

What kind of attitude is that?? The entire story is absolutely outrageous.

..... and that's where I think it is so clever. The writer knew precisely that effect would occur, in my opinion. The tale of a vain and stupid bully of a god, is supposedly seen as great through the most trite of endings.



My favourite myth is from the Grimm fairy tales. 'The Sea Hare'. But its too long to summarise properly.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 01:05 pm
@pagan,
... I like the Iroquois myth of the three inseparable sisters, corn, beans, and squash - the three spirits that sustain life ... science has since explained that a garden planted with all three will naturally flourish - any one in isolation will wither without assistance ... science has also since explained that a human diet consisting of all three will be complementary - any one in isolation will result in malnutrition ... so corn, beans, and squash really are in a sense inseparable - but you didn't need science to tell that to an Iroquois, did you? Wink
 
Aedes
 
Reply Sat 11 Jul, 2009 01:10 pm
@VideCorSpoon,
VideCorSpoon;76631 wrote:
Aedes,

Gotta love Krishna, the eight avatar of Vishnu. I don't think I could read even a good portion of the epic though. I'm only really familiar with the Bhagavad-Gita and Krishna's counsel in time of war to Arjuna. But come to think of it, I think that the issue between Arjuna and sacred duty and the issue between the slaying of Remus at the hands of Romulus are connected. In both cases, Romulus and Arjuna are compelled to do their duty, whether it be a sacred duty to the city or in the fulfillment of Dharmic course. Its good stuff.
I own the entire Ganguli translation of the Mahabharata. It's more than 5000 pages long. I've read about 800 or 1000 pages of it in a different translation. It's a stunning piece of work. The Bhagavad Gita occurs less than halfway through the whole thing, but from what I understand the Gita is older than the rest of the epic.

I hope I have time to read the whole thing some day. If I ever get sent to prison I'm bringing it with me.
 
 

 
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