Common Myths in Western Culture Research Paper by Jonas

Common Myths in Western Culture
A discussion of common myths and their themes present in Western cultures.
# 119246 | 4,315 words | 8 sources | MLA | 2009 | CA
Published on Apr 13, 2010 in Anthropology (Cultural) , Anthropology (Pre-Historic) , Philosophy (General)

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This paper discusses four pieces of literature from different epochs of western civilization in an attempt to understand how our view of the world and ourselves is changing. The author takes a look at Don Quixote, Gilgamesh, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Bible. Also cited is Campbell's theory that identifies certain themes which run through all myths but which are expressed in temporal cultural terms. The author asserts that by studying these myths and how they change over time and across space we can track the trajectory of a civilization.

From the Paper:

"The source of the power of myth is what Jung calls the 'collective unconscious'. It can be explained as a universal set of archetypical symbols or forms held in common by all people and manifest in all cultures. There is then what Jung defines as levels of understanding that occur in the 'personal unconscious' or for our purposes, personal myth. This is the original myth interpreted through the lens of the individual. This lens is worn differently, has contortions, modifications and is customized by each person as a result of experience and cultural circumstance."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Baha'u'llah. The Hidden Words of Baha'u'llah. Trans. Shoghi Effendi. Oxford: Oneworld Publications, 1990.
  • Campbell, Joseph. The Hero With a Thousand Faces. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1968.
  • Campbell 2, Joseph. Myths to Live By. NY: Bantam Books, 1988.
  • Cunningham 1, Lawrence S., and Reich, John J., Culture and Values, Vol. I, 6th Edition. Belmont, Calif.: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006.
  • Cunningham 2, Lawrence S., and Reich, John J., Culture and Values, Vol. II, 6th Edition. Belmont, Calif.: Thomson Wadsworth, 2006.

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