Mythology is fascinating. I’ve believed that my whole life without anyone having to push me towards it. There is something so interesting about how people used to explain the workings of the world, and how each culture had its own set of tales, passed down generation after generation. Those stories are so different from one another despite the fact they address similar, if not the same, topics of life, death, love, war, parenting, kinship…
So why choose such a vast subject? The truth is I’m not. Despite the differences there is one thing that all cultures and mythologies have in common – stories with similar narrative and identical purpose – Creation myths. No matter which mythology I choose to explore, there will always be a story to explain how the world came to be.
With time, our cultures have changed, moulded by the influence of other cultures. When you look at our world nowadays there’s barely a trace of the ancient world, all we have is the great ruins and archaeological sites to remind us. But it’s not just that – ancient philosophers and mathematicians and poets, and their ideas and knowledge have become the earliest basis for scientific discovery, and even though science as an autonomous subject had a slow and rough start because of the austere nature of religion and its influence over the population, it has gone as far as the edges of space and time. Faith, what we believe in, is one of the most integral building blocks of us as individuals and as a collective and yet religion has somehow always been a dividing factor. Why is that? If all religions teach us to love one another and cooperate, then at some point we must’ve gone off by quite the margin in our understanding of them. Let’s not falsely convince ourselves that it’s human nature to be in conflict, we’ve gone way past the age of battling for territorial influence by sending armies to slaughter each other, we are in the 21st century, a time of supposed intelligence and scientific/technological advancement beyond that of every previous age. And still there is mistrust, hatred and petty differences which lead up to intense cultural and political conflicts – the atrocities in Syria being just another drop in the glass which is full to the brim.
Can we claim that we’ve been conditioned by our cultures to be hostile towards those who are different? Led to believe that this is how things are, and there’s nothing we can do about it? Well, if there is one thing which is universally true, it’s that we can question everything. And I am questioning the lessons our institutionalised faiths have groomed us into over countless generations.
I’m going back to the very start, to the point where faith was about understanding rather than judging. When people told stories about how their world was created, in an attempt to understand it better. Because it was at that point, that we weren’t focusing on cultural specificities and how we should live our lives. Because it is those stories which best depict the human psyche and how it works – can anyone explain why creation myths are so similar to one another? Could it be that we’re not that different after all? And if so… why is there so much conflict, hatred, cruelty and destruction in the world?