Gaster writes that “the mythological story presupposes activity on a level somewhat different from that of the actual and empirical. Its [. . .] characters can violate the normal laws of nature; they can change shape and sex, or traverse prodigious distances at a bound” (Sacred Narrative 129). A suitable analogy to the genre of Mythology would be the works based on Magical Realism in contemporary fiction. As in Magical Realism, the Mythology portrays events out of the ordinary and characters out of touch with reality. Yet, their implication is always applicable to the existing reality. The Greek and Roman Mythologies alongside the Indian Epics in the form of Ramayana present some striking examples of this fact. For instance, the male protagonist in Ramayana can invoke divine assistance by reciting sacred verses. Here, the human and God are seamlessly weaved into the character of Rama, which is an obvious breach of natural law as we understand it.
In this . . . Read More
Dardel assertion that myths are neither true nor false can be explained the following way. Many mythologies are composed in the form of epic poems. And poetry hands its writer with an artistic license, and allows him to concentrate on the aesthetic aspects of the work. Inevitably, factuality becomes irrelevant in such a scenario. Hence, the distinction between the literal and metaphorical representations becomes impossible to ascertain. Also, the usual mode of propagation is through oratorical recitals. In such a transfer of information, a certain degree of mutation is inevitable and in most such cases indiscernible.
Dardel also states that the myth is always in the present and never in the past. This could be understood by considering the fact that all myths were a product of the respective elites. And as an instrument of preserving the elite interests, the significance of all mythology is to manufacture the desired social order at any given time present. . . . Read More
During the times of its conception and application, mythologies were intricately woven into the fabric of society. It is to be noted that for primitive people mythologies were the predominant source of information and entertainment. Hence, it becomes difficult to distinguish between the theoretical and practical sides of these stories. In the context of this uncertainty, it is inevitable that various and often conflicting interpretations of the meaning and significance of mythologies are formed. So no particular interpretation is universally acceptable. This leads to definitions that are only valid within a certain social and cultural unit of organization. At the time of its origins, human societies were largely feudalistic and paternalistic. This reality is also reflected in much of the literature of these times, which were again component parts that comprise the mythology.
Every social order has had its ruling class. And mythologies were frequently employed . . . Read More
Mythologies of all types are consistently associated with a central heroic character. Some historians believe that mythologies evolved in the first place as a medium of admiration for the hero. The actual manifestation of the hero can take varied forms. He/she could assume the form of a human being with all its frailties or can be conjured up to having special and extra-human powers. In its latter form, the hero is equated with God himself and it is not uncommon to find references to him as the son of God.
Another defining characteristic of the Hero is his benevolence. All mythic heroes are invariably ethical and moral. Most of the stories depict his hardship and travails in pursuit of a morally acceptable equilibrium. His persistence in the face of adversity and his dedication to his convictions are the other hallmarks of a mythic hero. But most importantly, irrespective of the human or super-human quality of the Hero, the mythology surrounding him is . . . Read More
One of the predominant themes in African music is the close relationship between music and language. For instance,
“African tone languages, with their inter-syllabic relational pitch structure, manifest a musical aspect that in turn constrains melodic contour. Second, the popular and popularizing phenomenon of talking drums, the idea that drums (and other speech surrogates) “speak” and are understood in the way that one understands spoken language–this phenomenon has at its core a configuration involving music and language. And third, the words that enable song, the poet’s emergent music that is eventually colonized by the composer’s music–these song words raise a host of interesting questions about how language is articulated in song, to what extent song displays autonomous structure, and ways in which meaning is transferred from text to music and vice versa.” . . . Read More
The issue of land rights for Aborigines has always been controversial. From the very beginnings the ideals of democracy were restricted to the white race. In fact there was much unwillingness on part of orthodox politicians to consider aborigines as people in the first place. Such a despicable state of affairs was to span across centuries. The prejudices and discriminations that such a political stance entails will always remain a taint on this colourful nation’s history.
The 1960’s were a crucial period in the turnaround of fortunes for the aborigines. The “great Australian silence” was becoming difficult to keep and dissenting voices were becoming ever louder. Running parallel to the civil rights movement in the USA, the Australian political landscape was also to be changed for ever. At the forefront of this social justice movement were noted intellectuals like C.D.Rowley and Donald . . . Read More
The Gallipoli Campaign of the First World War is a valuable case study for learning about leadership qualities and styles. Although it is a sad fact that close to 500,000 lives were lost in the campaign, the decisions taken and tactics adopted during the course of these battles would serve present and future generations of military and political leaders. As some historians already point out, the Gallipoli campaign holds a special place in the annals of World War.
Leading a Multicultural Army:
The campaign was witness to some inspiring leadership skills that combined ethical norms, bravery and an astute understanding of the technical aspects of modern warfare. It is a tribute to those great men that they could exercise such superior qualities in the midst of a very unsettling phase in European history. The commanders were often handed charge of troops drawn from various nations. It requires of the leader to be sensitive and understanding of his . . . Read More
The modern human history is studded with technological advancements and economic growth. But, does this overall betterment in standards and conditions of living made human beings a happier lot? The answer is “no”. Surveys after surveys have pointed that beyond basic necessities, more affluence does not translate into more well-being. In this context, it is important to inquire into the true nature of happiness and grooming people toward longing for more enduring and sustainable values.
What ails humanity at present and what are the remedies?
David R. Myers, a renowned social psychologist offers a theory of human happiness that emphasizes the significance of the sociological aspects of people’s lifestyles. Myers also points how “materialism” and “consumerist culture” can never provide lasting peace for its pursuers. Myers asserts that . . . Read More
The long confrontation between the United States and U.S.S.R. backed proxies in Afghanistan had frustrated and weakened the latter. During the 1980’s the U.S.S.R. was going through a severe economic slump as well. At this juncture, the Soviet Union was no more in a position to strengthen its war machinery, which gave its rival undisputed advantage, bringing an end to the Cold War.
The deteriorating economic conditions stirred the people of the Soviet Union to openly demonstrate against their government’s failure, which by the late 1980’s had reached abysmal levels. People from the communist bloc nations were making desperate attempts to flee to countries in Western Europe. Likewise, people from East Germany were attempting to escape to the more prosperous West Germany in order to avail of better economic and social prospects. The upper echelons of the Soviet government were facing tremendous pressure to . . . Read More
The Fourteenth Amendment, that was proposed and ratified immediately after the civil war is regarded as one of the most important legislations appended to the United States constitution. The Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses that comprise the amendment make it a very valuable support for immigrants and minorities. In the context of the civil war, it liberated the African American slaves and brought equality in the American society, at a conceptual level at least. The fourteenth amendment acted as the foundation upon which the civil rights movement of the mid twentieth century arose. The amendment had been instrumental in deciding the outcomes of such landmark cases as Brown v Board of Education and Roe v Wade (Daniel, p.15).
The section 1 of the fourteenth Amendment is a guarantee of citizenship for those who are either born or naturalized in the United States, ensuring that they enjoy rights to life, . . . Read More