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Shaping a Modern World: Myths and Politics
Mythology is universal. Every culture on this planet, past and present, has developed their sociological and political ideas, in part, from the myths of its history. Societal structure, seen and felt predominantly in the social order and political hierarchy, can trace its ancestry back to creation myths.
Political and social power throughout the centuries is derived from the cumulative knowledge of a people. The greatest thinkers of each age gleaned their wisdom and information from the ancient stories and myths passed down from each generation, and culminated in the acquisition and wielding of political and social influence and control.
Myths are defined as, “Ancient narratives that attempt to answer the enduring and fundamental human questions” (Leonard & McClure, 2004). People wanted to understand their origins; where they came from, who they were, and what was their role in the world.
As mythology grew and took a more prominent role in society, the need to interpret and understand the true meaning of myths continued to expand, and out of that desire grew numerous theories to explain and incorporate myths in culture. Some of these theories have been used to perpetuate political agendas and establish hierarchy on every continent and age.
Myths are power. In the modern era, no one has exercised more mythological based political power and had a greater influence on society than the creation myths of the Middle East and 20th century Germany’s use of Nordic creationism.
Theories abound in every discipline. Depending on the time it is developed, the school of thought, and the agenda of the theorist, each theory can have a grain of truth that is rooted fact. Often that grain is used to promote an ideology and ethos that is used to perpetuate and justify an agenda.
Herder’s Organicist Volk theory was one of... [continues]
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