I found my senior project research paper among old files on my backup drive and decided to share it here. The subjects touched upon are ones still important to me: hero myths, the collective unconscious, who we are as humans, etc., although my writing style from ten years ago isn’t as comparatively eloquent as it is now. I did a quick edit for glaring errors, such as double-spacing between sentences, something I feel is one of man’s greatest sins now. I guess that is what it means to be young and reckless.
Oh, and that IS Encarta 1994 listed in the Works Consulted at the end…
Hero myths represent the mind of the individual. Through analysis of various myths, one finds common aspects that can only be explained as being innate in every person. Traits of the human psyche (see Appendix H) are represented in various forms in such myths. Before one can elaborate on such a topic, one must first understand the meaning of myths, as well as rituals, symbols, dreams, and the meaning of the hero.
Myths, Dreams, and Rituals
A myth is a story that has strong cultural roots. They are found worldwide and have different themes within them such as love, jealousy, revenge, trickery, or journey. There are also various types of myths: creation myths, flood myths, etc. Although there seem to be many variations and incarnations in myth-storytelling, all myths have basic similarities that can be seen in the stories from widely varying cultures.
According to Joseph Campbell (see Appendix A), myths “serve four distinct functions: to instill and maintain a sense of awe and mystery before the world; to provide a symbolic image for the world such as that of the Great Chain of Being; to maintain the social order by giving divine justification to social practices like the Indian caste system; and above all to harmonize human beings with the cosmos, society, and themselves” (Segal x).
Myths have been enjoyed since the dawn of time, and the exact origin of the myth is yet to be discovered. One theory relates to a central, base myth that may have started from an early civilization, eventually spreading to other lands. Another theory incorporates Carl Jung’s (see Appendix C) theory of the collective unconscious (see Appendix D). This theory is based upon the idea that every person is born with the archetypes (see Appendix E) evident in myths, hence the similarities found in stories from around the globe (Rank 4-9). Continue reading “My High School Senior Project: The Myth”