Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Your Mission: Define Mythology

Really. The problem I am faced with in studying myth has been mentioned here before. Basically, myth has many different definitions. The average person on the street, when confronted by the word, usually has only a few ideas. "A myth is a lie" or "A myth is a story of how the world began" or "A myth is about the Greek gods" are at least better answers than the most common: a snicker. And I'm not talking Peanutalicious here.

Never do I hear: "A myth is a symbolic narrative used to understand human psychology (often employing the use of the dialectic to combine opposites to form a new idea)". That's my latest definition. My problem is that by using Depth Psychology to understand myth, I am entering a world in which understanding myth becomes a very personal journey.

That is not a problem for myself, necessarily, because the frontier of Depth Psychology makes sense to me more and more. Though I fought against some parts of it earlier, the concepts are not so new to my own internal thoughts. I didn't know all the terms and exact ideas of the most astute Dr. C.G. Jung, but feel like I had internalized a lot of his concepts already. However, those snickers re-echo in my mind, hammering home the question that usually follows: "How are you going to make money with a degree in Mythology?"

I always ignored that question, for oh so many reasons. But at the outset of this adventure I assumed I would land the way I always do, at least NEAR a soft bed of flowers. But this personal facet of learning how myth relates to the human psyche, and how it is necessary to bring your brain into a healthy state of co-existence with your unconscious - how can I express it to that every day man in the street? For the most part, they don't care too much. Remember, the first question was about money. The ones that do care are usually my friends, and I expect they care only because they, well, don't want to snicker. For all you west coasters reading this, remember, I'm from the city they used to call "hog-butcher for the world". Poor pigs! For my friends that actually are interested - all three of you I think - THANKS!

I'm not someone who has the patience to teach personal journey stuff (it's personal right?), but it is almost a requirement to be an individuated soul to get this approach to myth. The few friends I mentioned above, as I think about it, are pretty together. So they get it.

I guess I'm just wondering if the world at large has any interest in this stuff. Seems art and the unconscious are the first things to be ignored in the pursuit of more money. I could sure use a Snicker's.


Nikki said...

The world has an interest, even if they don't know it.
I want a Snickers too.
I defined myth to a 200-level ungrad class last night. I used Christine's definition from Greek & Roman I. I'm so original.
What's this money you speak of?

Jody said...

Ummm . . . Snickers . . . good . . .

One of these days I intend to list on my blog all the definitions of mythology I've come across. I think there are about a dozen so far.

Joe Muszynski said...

I guess the only relevant definition will be the one we choose to embrace and use.