Dream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamic of the psyche. But in the dream the forms are quirked by the peculiar troubles of the dreamer, whereas in myth the problems and solutions sown are directly valid for all mankind
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But the myth of power is, of course, a very powerful myth, and probably most people in this world more or less believe in it. It is a myth, which, if everybody believes in it, becomes to that extent self-validating. But it is still epistemological lunacy and leads inevitably to various sorts of disaster.
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But myth is something else than an explanation of the world, of history, and of destiny. Myth expresses in terms of the world - that is, of the other world or the second world - the understanding that man has of himself in relation to the foundation and the limit of his existence. Hence to demythologize is to interpret myth, that is, to relate the objective representations of the myth to the self-understanding which is both shown and concealed in it.
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The heart of Christianity is a myth which is also a fact. The old myth of the Dying God, without ceasing to be myth, comes down from the heaven of legend and imagination to the earth of history. It happens - at a particular date, in a particular place, followed by definable historical consequences. We pass from a Balder or an Osiris, dying nobody knows when or where, to a historical Person crucified (it is all in order) under Pontius Pilate. By becoming fact it does not cease to be myth: that is the miracle.
C. S. Lewis
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A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And, by participating in the ritual, you are participating in the myth. And since myth is a projection of the depth wisdom of the psyche, by participating in a ritual, participating in the myth, you are being, as it were, put in accord with that wisdom, which is the wisdom that is inherent within you anyhow. Your consciousness is being re-minded of the wisdom of your own life.
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Here is a myth for you if myths are your pleasure: "There is no more opportunity in this world." Most people held this false belief fifty years ago, the majority agreed with it five years ago, and practically everyone clings to it today. Clearly, this myth will also be the screaming rage in the future. Hang on to this myth, and you are destined to miss great opportunities for the rest of your life.
Ernie J Zelinski
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Now the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us the same way as the others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened: and one must be content to accept it in the same way, remembering that it is God's myth where the others are men's myths: i.e., the Pagan stories are God expressing Himself through the minds of poets, using such images as He found there, while Christianity is God expressing Himself through what we call 'real things'.
C. S. Lewis
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Myth is a tale once believed as truth; believed, it is not myth, but religion. A tale once religiously believed that has come to be called a myth is something of religion corrupted with disbelief. What are beliefs for some societies but myths for others cannot fill spiritual vacancies in the life of those others.
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We must remember that there is a great difference between a myth and a miracle. A myth is the idealization of a fact. A miracle is the counterfeit of a fact. There is the same difference between a myth and a miracle that there is between fiction and falsehood - between poetry and perjury. Miracles belong to the far past and the far future. The little line of sand, called the present, between the seas, belongs to common sense to the natural.
Robert G. Ingersoll
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We must remember that there is a great difference between a myth and a miracle. A myth is the idealization of a fact. A miracle is the counterfeit of a fact. There is the same difference between a myth and a miracle that there is between fiction and falsehood -- between poetry and perjury. Miracles belong to the far past and the far future. The little line of sand, called the present, between the seas, belongs to common sense to the natural.
Robert Green Ingersoll
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Each of us lives with a sword over his head. There are those who can ignore its shadow and those who cannot. Those who cannot are not necessarily better than those who can. But they are the creators of the special myth of their time, because any myth is the creation of the very few who cannot bear reality.
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But, said Lewis, myths are lies, even though lies breathed through silver. No, said Tolkien, they are not... just as speech is invention about objects and ideas, so myth is invention about truth. We have come from God (continued Tolkien), and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming a 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil. You mean, asked Lewis, that the story of Christ is simply a true myth, a myth that works on us in the same way as the others, but a myth that really happened? In that case, he said, I begin to understand.
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Family myths are cherished by the people who-however unwittingly-have brought them into being. In my own situation, what my father was really saying to me during that last unfortunate phone call was that I had shattered our family's myth: the myth of a close and tight-knit family in which everyone was in complete agreement about everything, that is, in complete agreement with my father. I had violated one of the tenets of this myth in a way that was unforgivable to him. For that my punishment was to be expelled from the family.
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Myth is the practical metabolism of our soulish life, the logic of our obsessions and oversights for which we have no language or code. Myth is the "morality" that the ineffable puts upon us, our unaccountable imperatives, our inexplicably selective clarity and obscurity, the mortal one-sidedness of our talents and wits, the passion and apathy that make such a transient passage through our hapless minds; that weave a pattern of fatality others will see before we do. Myth is distinctively human or sublime higher-order instinct, the "reason" in culture that reason knows not of.
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But if it not be true, the myth itself requires to be explained, and every principle of philosophy and common sense demand that the explanation be sought, not in arbitrary allegorical categories, but in the actual facts of ritual or religious custom to which the myth attaches.
William Robertson Smith
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Baumeister's point is that we have a deep need to understand violence and cruelty through what he calls "the myth of pure evil." Of this myth's many parts, the most important are that evildoers are pure in their evil motives (they have no motives for their actions beyond sadism and greed); victims are pure in their victimhood (they did nothing to bring about their victimization); and evil comes from outside and is associated with a group or force that attacks our group. Furthermore, anyone who questions the application of the myth, who dares muddy the waters of moral certainty, is in league with evil.
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And why does Father want me out there? You do know it's a myth what they say about virgin sacrifices and dragons, yes?' 'Of course I know that, ' he snapped in such a way that Dagmar knew he believed the myth to be true. 'And after them three marriages, you ain't much of a virgin yourself, now is ya?' 'Those last two barely counted.
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Myth was regarded as primary; it was concerned with what was thought to be timeless and constant in our existence. Myth looked back to the origins of life, to the foundations of culture, and to the deepest levels of the human mind. Myth was not concerned with practical matters, but with meaning. Unless we find some significance in our lives, we mortal men and women fall very easily into despair. The mythos of a society provided people with a context that made sense of their day-to-day lives; it directed their attention to the eternal and the universal.
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There's a longstanding myth about the United States that is still very prevalent in Europe [despite recent developments]. Historically the "America" of this myth is an incredible human adventure and an experiment in political democracy. But at the same time, or so we're told, it's the land of extremes where the worst can happen.
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While I generally find that great myths are great precisely because they represent and embody great universal truths, the myth of romantic love is a dreadful lie. Perhaps it is a necessary lie in that it ensures the survival of the falling-in-love experience that traps us into marriage. But as a psychiatrist I weep in my heart almost daily for the ghastly confusion and suffering that this myth fosters. Millions of people waste vast amounts of energy desperately and futilely attempting to make the reality of their lives conform to the unreality of the myth.
M. Scott Peck
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a novel, like a myth or any great work of art, can become an initiation that helps us to make a painful rite of passage from one phase of life, one state of mind, to another. A novel, like a myth, teaches us to see the world differently; it shows us how to look into our own hearts and to see our world from a perspective that goes beyond our own self-interest.
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There is no one story that will replace the American dream, but stories like this one-and there are thousands-can inform the myth or myths we create for building and preserving the next culture. In order to do so, however, we must recognize that we cannot live without myth, for it is an essential part of our humanity. If we attempt to do so-given the fact that something in us needs myth-we will only create more myths that echo the American dream-with themes of heroism, greed, entitlement, narcissism, exploitation, exceptionalism, and myriad abuses of power. How we prepare for and navigate collapse will provide the raw materials for the myths we make and will live by in a postindustrial world.
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Freud becomes one of the dramatis personae, in fact, as discoverer of the great and beautiful modern myth of psychoanalysis. By myth, I mean a poetic, dramatic expression of a hidden truth; and in placing this emphasis, I do not intend to put into question the scientific validity of psychoanalysis.
D. M. Thomas
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While some multimillionaires started in poverty, most did not. A study of the origins of 303 textile, railroad and steel executives of the 1870s showed that 90 percent came from middle- or upper-class families. The Horatio Alger stories of "rags to riches" were true for a few men, but mostly a myth, and a useful myth for control.
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For the point is this: not that myth refers us back to some original event which has been fancifully transcribed as it passed through collective memory; but that it refers us forward to something that will happen, that must happen. Myth will become reality, however sceptical we might be.
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Writing is self-reinforcing. Don't make a fetish out of it, and don't surrender to the myth of the garret, or the myth of the chained muse. It's like playing the guitar, or practicing taekwondo, or having sex. The more you do, the better you get. The better you get, the better it feels. The better it feels, the more you want to do.
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Then it's decided. In the end, we are just as mortal as man. But while God will save a few, we will corrupt and destroy the rest of them. That is the best way to hurt Him. While many worship what you represent, most will come to believe that the existence of God is a myth.' The woman spoke up. 'But if they think He is a myth, won't they think that you don't exist either?' The Chairman smiled broadly this time. 'Exactly.
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I have always considered imaginative truth to be more profound, more loaded with significance, than every day reality... Everything we dream about, and by that I mean everything we desire, is true (the myth of Icarus came before aviation, and if Ader or Bleriot started flying it is because all men have dreamed of flight). There is nothing truer than myth... Reality does not have to be: it is simply what is.
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If it is written and read with serious attention, a novel, like a myth or any great work of art, can become an initiation that helps us to make a painful rite of passage from one phase of life, one state of mind, to another. A novel, like a myth, teaches us to see the world differently; it shows us how to look into our own hearts and to see our world from a perspective that goes beyond our own self-interest.
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One of the oddest features of western Christianized culture is its ready acceptance of the myth of the stable family and the happy marriage. We have been taught to accept the myth not as an heroic ideal, something good, brave, and nearly impossible to fulfil, but as the very fiber of normal life. Given most families and most marriages, the belief seems admirable but foolhardily.
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It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Religions, philosophies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth.
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America is the world's living myth. There's no sense of wrong when you kill an American or blame America for some local disaster. This is our function, to be character types, to embody recurring themes that people can use to comfort themselves, justify themselves and so on. We're here to accommodate. Whatever people need, we provide. A myth is a useful thing.
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What if the Soviet intervention was a blessing in disguise? It saved the myth that if the Soviets were not to intervene, there would have been some flowering authentic democratic socialism and so on. I'm a little bit more of a pessimist there. I think that the Soviets - it's a very sad lesson - by their intervention, saved the myth.
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[Northrop] Frye was concerned mostly with literary criticism, and myths interested him as structural elements in works of literature. He used the word myth to mean story, without attaching any connotation of truth or falsehood to it; but a myth is a story of a certain kind. The myths of a culture are those stories it takes seriously-the ones that are thought to be a key to its identity.
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Mythology is the study of whatever religious or heroic legends are so foreign to a student's experience that he cannot believe them to be true. . . . Myth has two main functions. The first is to answer the sort of awkward questions that children ask, such as: 'Who made the world? How will it end? Who was the first man? Where do souls go after death?'. . . . The second function of myth is to justify an existing social system and account for traditional rites and customs.
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Important thing about myth is that it's not just something that you believe, a myth is essentially a program for action. And unless you translate a mythical story, or a doctrine out of the church, into practical action, it just remains incomprehensible. Rather like the rules of a board game which seem very sort of dull and complicated and incomprehensible until you pick up the dice and start to play, when everything falls into place.
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It is my belief that we need a new transnational sustaining 'myth' that can impart value and respect. It is my further belief that we are coming to see our universe and life as creative, without a directing agency. Meaning emerges with life. If this view becomes widespread, it has the promise to become the sustaining myth we need to sustain in turn an emerging global civilization.
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Every culture has a myth of the world before creation, and of the creation of the world [.] These myths are tributes to human audacity. The chief difference between them and our modern scientific myth of the Big Bang is that science is self-questioning, and that we can perform experiments and observations to test our ideas. But those other creation stories are worthy of our deep respect.
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John Calvin's theology emphasizes the sanctity of conscience, the sanctity of companionate marriage, and the obligation of those in power to attend to the well-being of the people in general, especially the poor. Interestingly, for the interpretation of Hamlet, for example, he forbids even the thought of revenge. This is not the Calvin of myth, but when the Elizabethans read him there was no such myth, nor would there be now, if he were read.
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I would like to believe in the myth that we grow wiser with age. In a sense my disbelief is wisdom. Those of a middle generation, if charitable or sentimental, subscribe to the wisdom myth, while the callous see us as dispensable objects, like broken furniture or dead flowers. For the young we scarcely exist unless we are unavoidable members of the same family, farting, slobbering, perpetually mislaying teeth and bifocals.
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