Thursday, March 6, 2014
A Mythic Definition as Truth
Write with Impact
“Literature proves there is order in the universe. It says that, in life, moral choices lead to outcomes. In fiction there is meaning in human events.” James N. Frey
A truth is true or accurate regardless of opinion or debate or rebellion. A truth is true even when information is missing and we cannot readily perceive it. Or have not yet reached a maturity to comprehend its breadth and length and depth and height.
Science, for example, has seen many instances where discoveries and knowledge have opened up unbelieved vistas. One major universal fact being that the earth is round, not flat, and that it orbits the sun rather than being the center of the universe. Talk about a complete upheaval of perspective!
Although there continues to be ongoing debate over a “historical” King Arthur, as well as Robin Hood, historians do agree that legends often have a grain of truth in them. And in contrast, a recent television series had one character telling another that, “for a con to work there has to be a grain of truth in it.” That true recipe for telling lies goes all the way back to Satan’s deceit to Eve over the fruit on the tree.
Mythic characteristics can impact our stories when we tap into the heart truths they represent. Like a parable, there is a surface story and also an undercurrent story that produces an emotional tie.
We make ‘copies’ of the original stories and characters and pass them on through the generations. Some become so familiar that they enter into everyday language as common metaphors or references, both across languages and within ethnic cultures, giving us shortcuts. Terrible sea incidents become tied to Poseidon allusions, or floods. Rainbows are considered a sign of promise all around the world. Black holes immediately spell danger. So does Godzilla, regardless of the language being spoken.
James N. Frey points out in his book The Key, that “an astounding example of the similarity of myths from culture to culture is the myth of the hero king.”
In A Case For Christ, C. S. Lewis is cited as saying, “... the story of Christ is simply a true myth: a myth working on us in the same way as others, but with this tremendous difference that it really happened.”
What meaning do you want your readers to hear in your story? How might mythic truth help you make that connection?
Share: What historical or fictional character do you think embodies original hero attributes?
Read deep, marcy