A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong

By Karen Armstrong

"Human beings have consistently been mythmakers.” So starts best-selling author Karen Armstrong’s concise but compelling research into delusion: what it truly is, the way it has developed, and why we nonetheless so desperately desire it. She takes us from the Paleolithic interval and the myths of the hunters correct as much as the "Great Western Transformation” of the final years and the discrediting of delusion by means of technological know-how. The heritage of delusion is the historical past of humanity, our tales and ideology, our interest and makes an attempt to appreciate the area, which hyperlink us to our ancestors and every different. Heralding a tremendous sequence of retellings of overseas myths by means of authors from all over the world, Armstrong’s routinely insightful and eloquent ebook serves as a super and thought-provoking creation to fable within the broadest sense—and explains why if we push aside it, we accomplish that at our peril.

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The powerful rites impressed the meaning of the myth indelibly on the minds and hearts of those who went through this lengthy initiation. There is no possibility of a final victory over death. Kore has to alternate perpetually between the upper and lower worlds. There can be no grain, no food and no life, without the symbolic death of the maiden. We know very little about the Eleusinian mysteries, but those who took part in these rites would have been puzzled if they had been asked whether they believed that Persephone really had descended into the earth, in the way that the myth described.

The story of the Sky God represented exactly this type of speculation, but the myth was a failure, because it did not touch people’s ordinary lives, told them nothing about their human nature and did not help them to solve their perennial problems. The demise of the Sky Gods helps to explain why the Creator God worshipped by Jews, Christians and Muslims has disappeared from the lives of many people in the West. A myth does not impart factual information, but is primarily a guide to behaviour. Its truth will only be revealed if it is put into practice – ritually or ethically.

The experience of what we call the sacred or the divine has become at best a distant reality to men and women in industrialised, urban societies, but to the Australians, for example, it is not only self-evident but more real than the material world. ‘Dreamtime’ – which Australians experience in sleep and in moments of vision – is timeless and ‘everywhen’. It forms a stable backdrop to ordinary life, which is dominated by death, flux, the endless succession of events, and the cycle of the seasons.

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