Why do many of the beliefs fostered by mythopoeic thinkers continue to influence the beliefs of men? Why was it so powerful and long-lived? 

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Interestingly, in the 1930s, many of the Germans embraced the beliefs of Nazism only after the Great Depression of 1929 in America which sent waves of destruction to the German economy as U. S. banks called in their loans given to Germany with the Young Plan, a loan plan in which American investment banks coordinated with the Morgan [banker J. P. Morgan] Guaranty Trust Company. So, since their country had been defeated in World War I and their democratic republic had failed with the Weimar Republic, Germans were ready to believe in the rising ideology of Nazism because they wanted so to believe that they could recover from their terrible economic depression and their loss of national pride. 

Perhaps, then, the observation of poet Robert Browning best explains man's need for myth: "A man's reach should exceed his grasp. Or, what's a heaven for?" Mythopoeic thinkers and their works provide people a vision of a higher human condition; they inspire readers as they influence the spiritual, moral, and creative energies of their characters. Furthermore, the use of myth lies behind the ideology in which societies indoctrinate their citizenry. Thus, there is little difference between ancient and modern people as myths are the framework for cultures. For instance, John Milton's Paradise Lost forms much of the basis of Christians beliefs in Heaven and Hell, as does Dante's Inferno. Often, in fact, people confuse what is written in these works for that which is contained in the Bible. The noted literary critic Northrope Frye contended,

Literary shape cannot come from life; it must come from literary tradition and so ultimately, from myth.

With these words, Frye began a great debate on the aims of good literature and what impact individual experience can have upon readers. 

An example of a mythopoeic thinker is, of course, Nietzche whose Thus Spake Zarathusa remains an influential and provocative work. In this expansive work, Nietzche examines the existential conditions and concludes that essential life is a will to power, individuals are alone with their fate and must determine it themselves, and individuals live in a world of chance and accident that is essentially purposeless. Because Zarathuss is an archetype, he speaks to a more universal audience and provides readers a universal vision.

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