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xemacs-beta / etc / MYTHOLOGY

Reference:    Robert W. Brockway, Myth from the Ice Age to Mickey Mouse

    A collective definition of myth composed of many theories might be
    framed by the following paraphrase:

    Myths are stories, usually, about gods and other supernatural
    beings.  They are often stories of origins, how the world and
    everything in it came to be in illo tempore.  They are usually
    strongly structured and their meaning is only discerned by
    linguistic analysis.  Sometimes they are public dreams which, like
    private dreams, emerge from the unconscious mind.  Indeed, they
    often reveal the archetypes of the collective unconscious.  They
    are symbolic and metaphorical.  They orient people to the
    metaphysical dimension, explain the origins and nature of the
    cosmos, validate social issues, and, on the psychological plane,
    address themselves to the innermost depths of the psyche.  Some of
    them are explanatory, being prescientific attempts to interpret
    the natural world.  As such, they are usually functional and are
    the science of primitive peoples.  Often, they are enacted in
    rituals.  Religious myths are sacred histories, and distinguished
    from the profane.  But, being semiotic expressions, they are a
    "disease of language."  They are both individual and social in
    scope, but they are first and foremost stories.