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Paper by Frater Rev. J. Dermot Buchanan IV To

Felkin College on Friday 26th May 2006

MYTH - Centrality to being Human. (The Truth of Myth) J.Dermot Buchanan, Master, Waikato Lodge of Research # 445

In today's society there are few words in our language less

comprehended, of for that matter valued, than the word "myth". Mention "myth" or "mythology" to the average person, and he or she will assume that you are speaking remote, insubstantial, irrelevant matters. In our culture, the word is synonymous with at best, fairy tales and at worst outright lies and deception. Listen carefully, you'll be amazed at how often you'll read or hear someone say, "it's only a myth".



It has been said that human beings have always been mythmakers. Archaeologists have unearthed Neanderthal graves containing weapons and other implements which suggest some kind of belief in a future world that was in some way similar to their own. Whatever was going on in their minds they were reflecting about death in a way that their fellow creatures did not.



Animals watch each other die, but as far as we know they gave the matter no further consideration. The Neanderthals seem to have imagined that the visible material world was not the only reality. This seems to indicate that from the earliest of time human beings have been distinguished by an ability to have ideas that went beyond their everyday experience. We are then meaning seeking creatures.



Another peculiar characteristic of the human mind is its ability to have ideas and experiences that we cannot explain rationally. We have imagination, a faculty that enables us to think of something that is not immediately present, and that when we first conceive it, has no objective existence (Karen Armstrong) This imagination is the faculty that produces religion and mythology, an enabled scientists to bring new knowledge to light and to invent technology that has made us immeasurably more effective.