Myths are legendary narratives that highlight the extraordinary activities of heroes in overcoming challenges. As a result, they are a representation of real-life challenges and the efforts of extraordinary courage to solve existing problems. Leeming and Campbell equate mythologies to a personal journey of self-discovery and realization. Therefore, myths are not imagination but a reflection of human life and the need to overcome challenges and create harmony with social and natural forces.
[signinlocker id=”7003978″] Numerous written records often lack cogency of reasoning and discipline associated with thinking. Speculative thought is not strictly disciplined and it encourages the freedom of mind to reveal the feature of structures, coherence, order, and meaning of texts. Therefore, although it may deviate from the prevailing challenges, it seeks to explain them (Myths and Reality 4). In contemporary society, speculative thought focuses on man, values, problems, and destiny. As a result, he seeks to transcend from his chaotic experience and conflicts that propel him to clarify his pressing challenges Similarly, Campbell argues, “The agony of breaking through personal limitations is the agony of spiritual growth. Art, literature, myth and cult, philosophy, and ascetic disciplines are instruments to help the individual past his limiting horizons into spheres of ever-expanding realization” (163). Both readings highlight the significance of overcoming heroes challenges and solving the existing societal problem.
Ancient myths did not seek to provide just entertainment but they explained natural phenomenon. Evidently, they recounted events that played a crucial role in their existence while highlighting the power conflicts between the frightening beneficial and the hostile party (Myths and Reality 7). Campbell asserts that the hero is like a god who identifies the mystery in society and through adventure, he reignites the flow of life in the world. The author states “The two- the hero and the ultimate god, the seeker and the found- are thus understood as the outside and inside of a single, self-mirrored mystery” (Campbell 31). The journey of life is the search for personal identity, which is like a myth veiled within but expressed in a similar manner. Therefore, there is a need to rediscover the magic of the less known personal life (Leeming 23). Campbell and Leeming emphasize the argument presented in the text that mythical narratives are not mere fantasies or imaginations but a representation of legendary actors and their ability to overcome challenges and solve the existing problems.
Campbell provides the three main stages of a hero’s journey, which commences with a call to adventure. The hero embarks on a quest or dangerous adventure and during the second stage, experience temptations, and challenges. In the final stage, they undergo transformation and atonement before finally returning home (Campbell 6). The second stage exposes heroes to rituals, which involved dangerous escapades and dear death experience. In Myths and Reality, rituals are part of cosmic events which man is compelled to share. For example, the mock battle performed in Egyptian festival sought to manifest the defeat of death and resurrection because of the New Year (25). Further, heroes arranged their lives and society by creating harmony with social and natural forces. Evidently, mythologies are an expression of symbolic images of the human psyche at the basic level (Leeming 25). Therefore, there is a need to establish harmony with these symbols.
In conclusion, myths are not imaginary narratives but an expression of human challenges and the process of finding solutions through symbols. While most readings lack reasoning and discipline, they focus on the values, destiny, and challenges of man, and the need to overcome problems. Therefore myths are symbolic presentation of prevailing problems and the need to create societal harmony. [/signinlocker]
Campbell, Joseph The hero with a thousand faces (Vol. 17). New World Library, 2008.
Leeming, David Adams. The world of myth. Oxford University Press, USA, 1992.
”Myths and Reality”