So all this week we’ve been discussing myth as a bridge topic between our talk about the American dream and our reading of some native American creation and origin myths.
Look, I made a chart to demonstrate the paradoxes inherent to our understanding of this word:
The point is, it’s unclear whether myths are stories which are simply not true, and which serve to obscure the truth about life–or if they are the truest stories of them all which, far beyond expressions of simple, literal “truths,” actually help us to understand deeper truths about life and the world around us.
Of course, many stories associated with what we typically think of as the “American dream” are mythical, and it’s up to us to decide whether or not they serve to illuminate or obscure the capital-T Truth. And now we’re about to read mythical stories from some of the cultures the first European settlers (future “Americans”) would encounter to see how they compare.
For those of you out there who think that myths are just funny little stories, I think we’re about to find out that myths actually represent powerful, deeply entrenched ideas that motivate the mass behavior of entire societies–and when myths collide, people die.
Ooh, ominous. Stay tuned.