Document belonging to the Greek Mythology Link, a web site created by Carlos Parada, author of Genealogical Guide to Greek Mythology
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The Munificence of the Myths

1011: Head of Muse. Work from 2C AD after original from 2C BC. Städtische Galerie-Liebighaus, Museum alter Plastik, Frankfurt.

Don Quijote: "La Poesía, señor hidalgo, a mi parecer, es como una doncella tierna y de poca edad, y en todo extremo hermosa, a quien tienen cuidado de enriquecer, pulir y adornar otras muchas doncellas, que son todas las otras ciencias, y ella se ha de servir de todas, y todas se han de autorizar con ella...Ella es hecha de una alquimia de tal virtud, que quien la sabe tratar la volverá en oro purísimo de inestimable precio..." (Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quijote de la Mancha, Segunda Parte, Capítulo XVI).

Don Quixote: "Poetry, sir, in my judgement, is like a tender virgin in her bloom, beautiful and charming to amazement: all the other sciences are so many virgins, whose care is to enrich, polish, and adorn her, and as she is to make use of them all, so are they all to have from her a grateful acknowledgement . . . She is made of such a virtuous alchemy, that he who treats her well will turn her into the purest gold of an inestimable price." (Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote, Part II, Chapter XVI).

Why they are immortal

The myths are unsurpassed in generosity, and that is the reason why they are immortal. For liberality is always needed and cherished, and no one wishes to see it disappear or fall into oblivion as everybody benefits from it, and the world itself would fall into utter misery and destruction if generosity could not prevail.

They speak to all

Every human being, independently of gender, age, talent or inclination finds in the myths, adapted to his own understanding and needs, the advanced version of his life and dreams:

Love of Power

He who seeks to admire the power of the gods, and looks upon their battles with awe, encounters the thrill of a dramatic universe in the danger and excitement of cosmic warfare, and wonders at the might that can be unleashed among exceptional contenders in regions representing dimensions that he finds more believable than impossible.

Love of Beauty

He who loves to contemplate the beauty of the gods is filled with satisfaction, for he finds nothing able to outshine the exquisiteness and ease of the gods and goddesses. And he who looks for the wisdom and intelligence of the deities, does not fail to sense it, no matter what the rumours say.

Love of exciting elegance

He who looks for amazement and loves to be puzzled is both amazed and puzzled, for the multitude of unpredictable tales and their diversity bewilder and please him, either for their clear simplicity or for their complexity. For the same stories are told in a vast variety of ways, and when narrated anew, reveal yet more intriguing details. And because the stories are inside stories, he feels they unfold like a fractal and connect to each other with surprising elegance and subtlety.

Love of Danger

He who loves adventures and dangerous quests in foreign or unknown territories is charmed and entertained, and he who finds excitement in the drama of war loses himself in the clashes of armies, in the description of fleets and sieges, and in the terrors of persecution and slaughter. For in the myths may be found the preview of all crimes.

Human issues

He who reflects about human issues thinks he perceives the many nuances of human nature when he observes men and women dealing with moral dilemmas resembling his own, facing fate under the all-seeing eyes of the divinities, and changing shape as their souls or the circumstances command. And so, he who is attracted by the world of emotion feels fulfilled, for there is no passion he does not find described, and likewise is satisfied he who admires intelligence and cunning, for he discovers that most deeds have their precedent in the myths.

Ethical inspiration

There is no one looking for inspiration and example who does not find among the heroes and heroines, his favorite model. For he soon believes that most physical qualities, as well as temperaments, are represented, and he discerns, wittily depicted, all their degrees of strength and weakness, wisdom and folly, courage and cowardice, piety and cruelty, loyalty and betrayal.

Professionals rewarded

And what is true for the layman is also true for the scholar and the professional. For the psychoanalyst thinks he may find in the myths the clues to the secrets of the mind. The archaeologist receives the greatest praises when he discovers their physical evidence. The philosopher finds his truths outlined. The theologist sees in them the challenge that cannot be underrated. The magician supposes that there are in them spells, hidden implications and meaningful hints. Soldier like healer find their prototypes in the myths. The scientist transforms in achievement what was dreamt by the myths. The philologist catches sight in them of an unending field of research, ever yielding new results. And the artist, the musician and the writer, who during more than two millennia submitted to their inspiring power, create, nurtured by the myths, the highest treasures of civilization, works that never injure or cause guilt.

As cradle, behind all thoughts; as ideal, in front of them

And what is true for one man has been thought to be true for society, and so the ethnologist, the anthropologist, the sociologist and the historian let the study of the myths of different cultures be paramount, believing that in them they will detect the soul and the true image of the communities they are investigating. And this is so because they deem that the realm of myth, being the cradle of all kinds of thought—be it economic, scientific, philosophic, religious or artistic—and the most splendid laboratory of ideal prototypes, is both behind them and in front of them, and may therefore provide lasting meaning to their skills.

Everyone finds exactly what he is looking for

And he who looks for lies, does not see in the myths but lies, and thereby he may be pleased, having found what he was looking for. And he who looks for truths does not find but truths, being pleased too for such a delightful discovery. For the myths have never disappointed anybody and have always delivered what was asked of them, and being for that reason, among the most generous gifts ever given to mankind, they fill with the crowd of their names both sky and earth in eternal memorial.

Related sections Getting acquainted with the myths
Basic aspects of the Greek myths
Brief history of the Greek myths
"Is it True?"
The Children of the Myths