Mythical thought: what is it and how does it direct our mind?

Human beings have tried since its inception find meaning in existence, Who we are and what’s going on around us.

To do this, he used various strategies, which resulted in current scientific thinking, which operates from empirical evidence and contrasting the hypotheses with the means available.

Before that, however, there were different types of explanations of reality that relied on different elements. One of the types of thinking that preceded scientific thinking when interpreting the various phenomena and unknowns in life is mythical thought.

    What is mythical thought?

    We call mythical thought a some kind of worldview or an attempt to explain reality characterized by the use of a logic based on symbolism. We try to satisfy the need to make sense of what surrounds us, based on the beliefs and values ​​of the time and the situation in which it arises.

    In mythical thought, it is intended to account for various aspects based on fantastically cut narratives, In which abound subjective elements and references to heroic figures. Metaphorical use is made of these stories, called myths, using them on the basis of the association between contiguous or similar elements. The way in which the content of this thought is maintained is through tradition and the transmission of myths from generation to generation, whether orally or in writing.

    It is common to make references to deities and supernatural elements that allow us to personify aspects whose cause is unknown so that what we know is used (like propositional human behavior), to explain what is extraordinary to us (like falling lightning). In addition, it has a mainly practical purpose in seeking explanations of phenomena which have an effect on us.

    It offers a direct explanation of reality in a way focused on the culture itself that makes it workWithout in the mythical thought itself there is a questioning or an attempt to falsify this explanation. Likewise, the type of responses they offer are usually deterministic and based on the belief that they are intended, so that it usually gives rise to the belief that the acts themselves cannot alter the course of the nature.

      Differences between mythical thought and scientific thought

      Mythical thought is, as we have seen, a precursor of philosophical thought and scientist. They have in common that both types of thinking attempt to offer human beings an explanation of why reality is as it is and the origin of different phenomena, as well as the fact that they are based on theories which are generally based on the stability of reality.

      As for the differences, one of the main points of divergence is that while mythical thinking focuses on offering an explanation based on subjectivity and beliefs scientific thought seeks knowledge based on empirical evidence, Which can be observed directly.

      Likewise, scientific thought allows for the falsification and contrast of its results, thus allowing self-criticism and refutation of what has already been stated. Mythical thought, on the other hand, tends to be dogmatic and not accept changes nor seek visible evidence of its veracity.

      Another divergent aspect is found in what we can consider to be scientific thought. he sought to overcome ethnocentric conceptions focus on establishing as universal an explanation of events as possible.

        Link with religion

        Mythical thought it is often equated with religious thought. The reasons are various, such as the fact that many religions have indeed developed their own myths as explanatory elements of reality, many of them ethnocentric, which employ supernatural elements in their interpretation of it and that have been passed down from generation to generation to Today. In fact, in many cases it has been proposed that the origin of religions may lie in this type of thinking.

        However, although related and even if they share certain characteristics, mythical thought does not necessarily overlap with religion.

        Among other differences, we can point out that religion it should not offer a deterministic conception of reality and in general, religious faith is conceived in such a way that it establishes a code of ethics and conduct among those who share the same beliefs. In addition, some religions do not use explanations based on personification or supernatural elements to explain natural phenomena.

        His importance

        While mythical thought is now considered to have been supplanted by the scientist, it must be borne in mind that mythical thought had a great influence and importance in society, Both past and present.

        Among other things, it allowed us to slowly evolve towards ways of explaining reality more limited to the observable. It has also greatly contributed to the development of culture, allowing different perspectives on life, reality and the unknown. Religious beliefs were also able to develop through this type of reflection.

        Ethics has also been influenced by mythical thought. In myths we can observe the values ​​of our ancestors, which were able to develop in different ways through culture. Likewise, also in the art world, he has had and continues to have a great influence, serving many artistically inspired myths in all existing art forms.

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