Don’t Blame Us; Blame Plato
The New Oxford American Dictionary echoes the popular Western historical bias when it defines a myth as “...a widely held but false belief” and mythology as “a set of stories or beliefs, about a particular person, institution or situation, esp. when exaggerated or fictitious.”3 Most of us have grown up thinking of myths—assuming, of course, that we thought of them at all—in this context. They were little more than fairy tales of ancient gods and monsters, at best cultural artifacts of interest only to Renaissance artists searching for subjects, Hollywood scriptwriters hopelessly stuck for a time-honored plot twist, and the odd psychoanalytic thinker or two struggling to label a newly discovered neurosis. The “truth” is that this view couldn’t be less true. And, the difference between truth and true is the basis of our next chapter.