Myth: Poetic justice is all

When we glean truths from myths through subjective processes that are ‘neither fanciful nor misguided’, the greater the chances of learning something, according to Joseph Campbell, who said, ‘Wherever the poetry of myth is interpreted as biography, history or science, it is killed.’

Myths are evolving stories, born of happenings, imagination and perception rather than cold, hard facts. To impose inflexibility on them would be to defeat their very purpose – of broadening the mind and widening horizons. Imagine, epics and puranas from any civilisation would lose their charm and sense of the mysterious once we start defining their various aspects as per logic and analysis. Reductionism bodes well in the laboratory, but kills creative imagination.

Campbell believed that myths come from the mystical region of essential experience. Therefore, rather than trying to read myths as real-time finite events, experience them as poetic imagination, and everything will fall into place – even those future truths that are not yet fully and palpably manifest in the current flow of things.

We are evolving as individuals and as communities, like the human imagination and powers of perception evolve, on the basis of experiences and learnings. Writes archetypal consultant Kristina Dryza, ‘Eternal truths are usually best conveyed through myth, parable, allegory and metaphor. By engaging in pictorial thinking – and its imaginative fluency – we invigorate the spirit and nature realms together with the physical world.’


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