Jump to content
Political Discussion Forums

Recommended Posts

http://www.tor.com/2016/10/03/scientist-tracks-the-movement-and-evolution-of-ancient-myths-across-continents/

Quote

Julien d’Huy has used computer models and phylogenetic analysis to track the movement of mythic tales across cultures and continents, over thousands of years. d’Huy starts with the example of the classic “Cosmic Hunt” myth–a story where a person or persons track an animal into the forest, where the animal escapes by becoming one of the constellations in the sky

Fascinating idea that Northern cultures share ancient myths - myths that are not found in Australian aborigine culture.

Is it possible that these myths could have survived so long ?

Academic paper:

https://www.folklore.ee/folklore/vol31/berezkin.pdf

Paywall story:

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scientists-trace-society-rsquo-s-myths-to-primordial-origins/

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't see it as that surprising. We already know that modern languages evolved from common ancestors so it rationally follows that myths would follow the same patterns. What is interesting is how the researcher attempted to quantify the migration of myths. What would be more interesting is any differences between the migration of myths and the migration of language.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

They don't give timelines in the articles that I can see, but a quick google search would indicate that these myths would have originated tens of thousands of years ago.

 

It seems incredible to imagine culture being that durable, and furthermore what that means to our present day culture.

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

It seems incredible to imagine culture being that durable, and furthermore what that means to our present day culture.

Why is this different from the durability of language? Language and culture are intertwined. If you have a language you have a culture. If Greek and Latin evolved from Sanskrit then why wouldn't old Sanskrit myths follow the language?  

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

I didn't think about that, but we don't have visibility into languages beyond written culture as far as I know - so perhaps 3000 BC.  This theory provides visibility far earlier than that.

If you like this, you should look into archeoastronomy, a fascinating field that has many implications about the origins of our culture.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

I didn't think about that, but we don't have visibility into languages beyond written culture as far as I know - so perhaps 3000 BC.  This theory provides visibility far earlier than that.

That is true. But myths are more like technology and are not exclusively tied to language (i.e. myths follow language but language does not necessarily follow myths). Which is why I was interested in differences between the patterns of language spread and the patterns of myth spread. If they are identical then it tells us nothing that we did not already know. If they are different is shows how different groups of early humans interacted with each other.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What is also interesting is the patterns of modern myths. For example, the myth a 7-9 loners defending a village from attackers originated with the 7 samurai and has been repeated in numerous other movies since then (but perhaps I am wrong about the origins). Many other modern stories are re-use Shakespeare or Homer.  It is a complex web.

Link to post
Share on other sites
29 minutes ago, TimG said:

  If they are identical then it tells us nothing that we did not already know. 

I think I disagree.  Both language and mythology are memes, but mythology is carried within language.  Language tends to work according to certain rules about ease of use, such as the word in Latin 'camera' becoming 'cambera' in Romantic languages (anecdotal - described to me by a linguist once).  Narrative would appeal to some deeper identity or human longing for meaning.  I'm thinking that rules around narratives aren't known yet.  Such as your example from 7 samurai.

Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, OftenWrong said:

If you like this, you should look into archeoastronomy, a fascinating field that has many implications about the origins of our culture.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeoastronomy#History_of_archaeoastronomy

There is a lot to digest here.  Thanks for tipping me to this field.

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, Michael Hardner said:

I think I disagree.  Both language and mythology are memes, but mythology is carried within language.  Language tends to work according to certain rules about ease of use, such as the word in Latin 'camera' becoming 'cambera' in Romantic languages (anecdotal - described to me by a linguist once).  Narrative would appeal to some deeper identity or human longing for meaning.  I'm thinking that rules around narratives aren't known yet.  Such as your example from 7 samurai.

Language and mythology are not parallel concepts. Language is the vehicle that transmits myths and therefore myths depend on language but not the other way around. If myths jump the language barrier it is because some individuals learned a second language and were able to pass the myth on. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

 Myths don't 'jump' the language barrier, necessarily.  With long timelines like this myths can separate as languages separate, ie. as a language eventually divides into two language, each side has a version of the myth within it.

 

"mythology is carried within language"
"
Language is the vehicle that transmits myths"

Seems like we agree.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



  • Tell a friend

    Love Political Discussion Forums? Tell a friend!
×
×
  • Create New...