Definitions and Origins

Philosophy and Psychology of Myths

Are myths a burden or a boon?

When a myth helps us to accept a meaningful place in the world or leads us to positive ethical behavior, it can be a boon. When a myth inspires great art and beautiful ritual, it is a boon. Joseph Campbell rightly calls the collective hero myth “the wonderful song of the soul’s high adventure.” But myths can be extremely dangerous and burdensome when they lead us to a belief in our own cultural and personal importance to the exclusion of others. In this sense myths have often been the justification for some of humanity’s most brutal acts.


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