Mythology and Censorship (Censorship (Ready Reference series))
In the modern understanding of the concept, myths are imaginative stories of enduring significance that embody the values, beliefs, and the worldview of a given society. True myths are different from philosophical allegories, fables, fairy tales, and parables, although there are similarities among all of them. True myths embody the central beliefs, typically religious beliefs, of a people. Ideologies such as fascism, nationalism, and civil religion are also rooted in myths and derive appeal from mythical context. Myths are found in every society, however primitive or advanced, and are jealously guarded by every society as part of its heritage.
Most myths originated in the preliterate stages of societies and for centuries were passed on orally before some of them came to be written down as epics by poets and writers. Myths also continue to survive in unwritten or uncodified forms in less literate societies. Comparative studies have uncovered similarities among the myths of all peoples, leading some scholars to hypothesize that myths represent certain archetypes of the collective unconscious that are common to humanity. Others believe that these similarities have resulted from cultural interchanges. Some theorists attribute the origin of myths to the need to create stories in order to give meaning to the ritual practices of primitive tribes. In their view, the rituals predate the myths.
(The entire section is 1787 words.)
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