By Karen Armstrong
"Human beings have continually been mythmakers.” So starts off best-selling author Karen Armstrong’s concise but compelling research into delusion: what it really is, the way it has developed, and why we nonetheless so desperately desire it. She takes us from the Paleolithic interval and the myths of the hunters correct as much as the "Great Western Transformation” of the final years and the discrediting of delusion through technology. The heritage of delusion is the background of humanity, our tales and ideology, our interest and makes an attempt to appreciate the realm, which hyperlink us to our ancestors and every different. Heralding an immense sequence of retellings of overseas myths by way of authors from world wide, Armstrong’s normally insightful and eloquent ebook serves as a super and thought-provoking creation to delusion within the broadest senseand explains why if we push aside it, we achieve this at our peril.
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Extra resources for A Short History of Myth
Mythology is usually inseparable from ritual. Many myths make no sense outside a liturgical drama that brings them to life, and are incomprehensible in a profane setting. Third, the Neanderthal myth was in some way recalled beside a grave, at the limit of human life. The most powerful myths are about extremity; they force us to go beyond our experience. There are moments when we all, in one way or another, have to go to a place that we have never seen, and do what we have never done before. Myth is about the unknown; it is about that for which initially we have no words.
Death was fearful, frightening and inevitable, but it was not the end. If you cut a plant, and threw away the dead branch, it gained a new sprout. 43 The seed had to die, in order to produce grain; pruning was actually helpful to plants, and encouraged new growth. The initiation at Eleusis showed that the confrontation with death led to spiritual regeneration, and was a form of human pruning. It could not bring immortality – only the gods lived forever – but it could enable you to live more fearlessly and therefore more fully here on earth, looking death calmly in the face.
This may be due to an unconscious resentment of the female. The goddess of Catal Huyuk gives birth eternally, but her partner, the bull, must die. Hunters risked their lives to support their women and children. 27 The hunters could see that women were the source of new life; it was they – not the expendable males – who ensured the continuity of the tribe. The female thus became an awe-inspiring icon of life itself – a life that required the ceaseless sacrifice of men and animals. These fragmentary glimpses of our Palaeolithic past show that mythology was no self-indulgent panacea.