Ever since humans have developed the ability to speak, they have told each other stories in order to explain the world around them, known under the name of myths. Those myths where passed down from generation to generation, and usually served the purpose of teaching something to the people listening to them, or to explain certain natural or supernatural phenomena. The telling of myths was a very social event, for they appeared earlier in human history than writing, and had therefore to be told out loud. As shown by numerous cave paintings, they often refer to the supernatural, which was a lot more present in their community. The shaman was always held in high regard, for his purpose was to help the community by communicating with the spirit world. Everyone believed in the mystical, but that does not mean that they took all their stories literally either. The lessons and rites associated with them often served a specific purpose for the people involved in them, or heard them. This has been a very frequent occurrence, all throughout human history, until we recently became obsessed with the scientific way of seeing the world.
Science has been so potent at explaining the world, that it has quickly gotten ride of religion, which inevitably lead to the decline of myths. The stories had lost their importance, for now we knew the “real” way the world works. We have also become comfortable enough in our living conditions, that we did not need to tell stories with a lesson in them, because there were no dangers. The most common myth we have is about this jolly white-bearded man in a red suit, who jumps through our chimneys to bring us gifts. The modern representation has been popularized, not created, by Coca-Cola, and the ritual most commonly associated with this holiday is the exchanging of gifts. This shows that consumerism has taken over our myths, for we are encouraged to spend in order to remember a saint who was very generous. But that is not the story associated with Santa Claus anymore. Furthermore, the stories we now hear, we know they are not true, only children still believe in them, until we tell them the ugly truth.
It saddens me to see that science and consumerism have taken out the magic from the world, because we can never know if the stories of old were true or not. But instead of trying to find out, we restrict our research down an alley, distracting the majority of the population with gifts and lies. Perhaps one day we can find the wonder which we lose when becoming adults, instead of buying junk we don’t need.
Until next time,