Compare and Contrast With Ancient Mythology Essay

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Ancient Mythology

Comparison of Modern and Ancient Mythology

Imagination is still an inseparable aspect of his nature regardless of the claims on rationality and logic. Human beings are mythmakers. They have a tendency to imagine worlds that don't immediately exist which gives rise to mythology and religion (Armstong). Since the age of enlightenment; men began to believe in philosophy as the only method of disclosing world and nature. It can be shown that even philosophy stands on myth (Muszynski). Therefore, mythology still exists both at a personal level and a public level, in the form of religion. Mythology arises to explain ideas which cannot be explained with rationality alone - nature, the origin of people, and the existence of the universe. The root and grounds of development of mythology has not changed since the ancient times, therefore, mythology in the new world shares many similarities with the ancient mythology. Nevertheless, there are some apparent differences between the two, which arise due to the developments in scientific knowledge and the rise of philosophy.

The first major similarity between the mythologies of different times and civilizations is their common themes. It is surprising to observe that during the historic time when different cultures had little contact with each other; likeness was present in different mythologies and religions. This is because it is human nature to seek meaning. In other words, humans try to understand the existence of this world and the purpose of life. Till present, mythology was created. Mythology is essentially a belief system which assures the presence of another dimension alongside our world. With this belief in the invisible, the scope of human knowledge is widened enabling one to explain experiences that cannot be explained with rationality alone. This belief system i.e. religion and traditions are passed on from generation to generation and are rooted deeply in a civilization's history. They are propagated as facts which should not be challenged. As a result, a man is able to lead a life of fulfillment and satisfaction since he considers the present world as an insignificant fraction of the more powerful invisible reality.
The foremost contrast between the mythologies of different times is their explanation of the forces of nature. The disparity came into being due to the development of science which explained the nature using observations and logic. As an instance, in Greek mythology the goddess Demeter controls harvest and seasons. However, the scientific logic disproves this by proving something wholly dissimilar. Whereas, in world's chief religions today it is believed that God created this universe with a certain set of rules and nature simply trails by these laws. For these religions, science is simply an effort to discover the principles God created this universe on.

Another idea that mythologies of different times treat is the origin of the universe. On analysis of different mythologies one finds out that they describe the beginning of formation of universe in some cataclysmic activity. In some ancient myths it is believed that a there was a "world egg that hatched" or "a cosmic man was split into different parts, which set the cosmos into motion" inducing the birth of the universe (Bartlett). Similarly, today the religion of Islam also points towards an explosion which led to the creation of this world, as stated in this verse of Quran translated by Yusuf Ali: "Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?"(21:30).

Furthermore, the mystery of death is another theme that mythologies of different times address. The concept of rebirth and afterlife is a characteristic to most of them. This includes the belief system in ancient Egypt. Egyptians believed that the life-force "ka" leaves the human body on death and needs sustenance to survive. Today in Christianity, it is believed that the souls of the dead lay within the purgatory but the soul doesn't have any physical characteristics of human. Most mythologies share the belief in afterlife; nevertheless they differ in the outward particulars.

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