Why pay attention to myths?

There are stories we keep telling ourselves.  Don’t simply think of a story as something written in a book, one we might read for pleasure.  The creating and telling of stories is simply a human characteristic.  It has very little to do with them being written down or being read. For instance, we look at ourselves with an awareness.  We have awareness toward others; what we call consciousness.  This leads to an understanding of identity, of roles, and or relationships.  Each of those aspects – identity, role, or relationship – becomes a story.  Does it not?

In asking this question itself, one takes a position outside of the myth or the framework created by a myth.  One becomes the student of or an observer of myths rather than one who is participating in one.  It may be that one who studies is actually giving more attention, but it is the one who has found the myth that puts the mind at rest or fires the soul with spirit that has truly understood the hidden powers.

MOYERS: Why myths? Why should we care about myths? What do they have to do with my life?

CAMPBELL: My first response would be, “Go on, live your life, it’s a good life—you don’t need mythology.” I don’t believe in being interested in a subject just because it’s said to be important. I believe in being caught by it somehow or other. But you may find that, with a proper introduction, mythology will catch you. And so, what can it do for you if it does catch you?

Campbell, Joseph. The Power of Myth

In the first of many exchanges in the book, The Power of Myth, one gets to appreciate not only why but also how myths fill a need.  If we have sensed the need, then we owe it to ourselves to preserve the need to pay attention to myths or stories in general.  We might even find one that catches us quite personally!