New PDF release: A Short History of Myth

By Karen Armstrong

"Human beings have continuously been mythmakers.” So starts off best-selling author Karen Armstrong’s concise but compelling research into fable: what it truly is, the way it has advanced, and why we nonetheless so desperately desire it. She takes us from the Paleolithic interval and the myths of the hunters correct as much as the "Great Western Transformation” of the final years and the discrediting of fable by means of technology. The historical past of fable is the heritage of humanity, our tales and ideology, our interest and makes an attempt to appreciate the realm, which hyperlink us to our ancestors and every different. Heralding an immense sequence of retellings of overseas myths via authors from worldwide, Armstrong’s traditionally insightful and eloquent e-book serves as a super and thought-provoking creation to fantasy within the broadest sense—and explains why if we push aside it, we achieve this at our peril.

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23 You cannot be a hero unless you are prepared to give up everything; there is no ascent to the heights without a prior descent into darkness, no new life without some form of death. Throughout our lives, we all find ourselves in situations in which we come face to face with the unknown, and the myth of the hero shows us how we should behave. We all have to face the final rite of passage, which is death. Some Palaeolithic heroes survived in later mythical literature. 24 He even dresses in animal skins, like a caveman, and carries a club.

Many myths make no sense outside a liturgical drama that brings them to life, and are incomprehensible in a profane setting. Third, the Neanderthal myth was in some way recalled beside a grave, at the limit of human life. The most powerful myths are about extremity; they force us to go beyond our experience. There are moments when we all, in one way or another, have to go to a place that we have never seen, and do what we have never done before. Myth is about the unknown; it is about that for which initially we have no words.

Animals watch each other die but, as far as we know, they give the matter no further consideration. But the Neanderthal graves show that when these early people became conscious of their mortality, they created some sort of counter-narrative that enabled them to come to terms with it. The Neanderthals who buried their companions with such care seem to have imagined that the visible, material world was not the only reality. From a very early date, therefore, it appears that human beings were distinguished by their ability to have ideas that went beyond their everyday experience.

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A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong


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