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readings on myths

Introduction. The Story of Myth, by Sarah Iles Johnston

This meant that by the time an individual encountered a myth in a polished narrative form—as a tragedy or in an epinician ode or a hymn, for example—he or she had probably already heard its story, or seen representations of it, or at least heard stories that were similar to it or that involved some of the same characters (for instance, the individual may not have previously heard the story of how Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, tested Penelope’s resolve, but perhaps he or she had heard a story about Odysseus and the Cyclops or Odysseus and the Trojan Horse, and thus was familiar with Odysseus as a character who exhibited resourcefulness).

Introduction. Evolutions: fifteen myths that explain our world, by Oren Harman

[O]ur minds have always both imagined infinity and lived, uneasily, with the surety and sadness of death, throughout the ages the themes of myth have remained strikingly unchanging... Digging deeper than any other form of thought, myths represent humankind’s gloriously futile quest for existential understanding.

Science pretends to be a replacement for mythology, but in reality it is driven by the same hunger for understanding that brought us the gods and the afterlife, souls and creation myths, and it too is shaped by tales... Science today is our safest path to knowledge, and wedded to technology it continues to amaze...And yet, too frequently control is confused with understanding, by scientists and the rest of us.

myths I found interesting

Epic of Darkness [1]

In the beginning, everything was a cloud of gas, chaos and darkness. After eons of effort, the first drop of water was created by a deity named Jiang Ku. However a god named Lang Dang Zi swallowed that drop of water and died.

Another death [2]

One day, Kua Fu decided to chase and catch the Sun. He followed the Sun from the East to the West, draining the Yellow River and the Wei River (all rivers and lakes crossing his path) to quench his burning thirst. As he searched for more water, he died of dehydration. The wooden club he was carrying grew into a vast forest of peach trees called Deng Forest.

In one version, Kua Fu turns into a mountain range.

Futile Persistance [3]

Three thousand ninety li farther southeast, then northeast, stands Departing-Doves Mountain. On its heights are many mulberry trees. There is a bird dwelling here whose form resembles a crow with a patterned head, white beak, and red feet. It is called Jingwei and makes a sound like its name. She is the younger daughter of the Flame Thearch named Nüwa. NüwaJingwei was swimming in the Eastern Sea when she was unable to return to shore and drowned. She then transformed into the bird Spirit-Guardian and regularly carries twigs and stones from the Western Mountains to fill up the Eastern Sea. The Zhang River emanates from here and flows eastward into the Yellow River.

Fantastic Beasts in The Mountains and Seas [4]

(Eating them or wearing them seem to be a theme...)