The World Myth

Principal Components of the World Myth

Why are these three elements so universal?

They are universal because humans are universal. All individuals have different backgrounds; every culture is different from every other culture. Individuals look different from each other; each culture has its own traditions, differentiating itself from other cultures. But just as individuals are normally born with two eyes, two arms, two legs, and so forth, they are all born with a consciousness peculiar to humans in general. In the same way, all cultures, in order to survive, need to believe in their communal significance. Deity myths, creation myths, and hero myths speak to the universal human consciousness and to our universal desire to live in a meaningful rather than a random universe. Deities provide that meaningfulness even if the deities themselves, as in Greek mythology, for instance, tend to be arbitrary and even fickle. All cultures have creation myths because societies require some sense that their particular culture has significance. Cultures need to know their parentage and the details of their birth just as individuals do. Heroes exist because individuals and cultures need to envision human possibilities that transcend normal boundaries of existence.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Mythology Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App