When we refer to our own belief system, we call it our philosophy or our religion. When we talk about our own culture’s past, we call it our history. But when it’s some other faraway culture, then we call it mythology, and we put it together with legends and fairy tales – stories for entertaining children.
Even the root word “myth” is used somewhat derisively – as in, “Let’s take a look at that myth and see if we can find the reality.” We equate myth with fallacy – a false belief.
It brings to mind the textbook image of humans evolving from apes. There’s the primitive proto-humans with their mythology, gradually evolving into today’s humans, who have left all that foolishness behind. Now we know better – we have science.
I’ve heard that much of what we call science today was once called magic. I try to imagine some distant future people talking about us. They’re saying something similar about our beliefs and what we think is important.
I guess that means we could be living our own mythic lives right now. Maybe we should pay more attention.
We could help shape the future through gaming. When we play games we get to create a version of ourselves that could be mythological. We could move beyond pure fantasy, and play through scenarios where we are experimenting with our own lives – but with the benefit of replay-ability. We could essentially be living all of our past and future lives at once.