Home >> Anthropology >> Myth

Myth

Since 19th century it has been common to use the term myth to refer to something that is untrue. It reflects the secularization of our beliefs for myth in its original sense a sacred tale or received truth. Other people's myths may be false but not their own.

Myths may serve as cultural histories alluding to actual events and practices from the past such as migrations, earlier forms of social origination and natural occurrences like meteor showers, eclipses or floods. Sacred history myths may serve as justification for particular institutions in a society. They link the present social order with a sacred past and condition behavior towards desired ends.

Myths may strive to produce in them a prescribed view of the world and an attitude toward social institutions those responsible for maintaining the status quo that will ensure continuity of the existing social order. It constitutes conservative socializing force whose function is to sanctify existing institutions and foster the values of sociality.