Creation Myths in Every Culture

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At the core of almost every sophisticated culture is a creation myth: a story of how that culture came to be, a tale that attempts to put in universal context the place that society has in the world. From these creation myths, it is possible to draw far-reaching conclusions about the structure and functioning of these societies. The universality of the creation myth and the similar themes that bind these myths together in diverse cultures around the world points to the importance these myths hold in the cultures they define. They manage to convey identity, often serve as a model for daily life or as a template for important values, and they provide a concrete reason for the existence of that culture - they are crucial in supplying a context for the functioning of any society . By dissecting these creation myths, it is possible to arrive at fundamental truths about a culture, and, in turn, examine how the culture’s essential aspects inform the particulars of its creation myth. The themes, characters, and plotline present in a creation myth place the myth into cultural context and can be seen to inform the social structure, attitudes towards other societies and towards the world at large, gender hierarchy, and other qualities of the culture from which the myth springs. Creation myths also allow for comparison with other societies. A broad understanding of the functioning of a culture can be gleaned from the inception of a creation myth - the moment at which the birth of the world (or of a particular culture) takes place. Since myths are a culture’s way of explaining their role in the larger world , looking at how a culture perceives this world to have begun is crucial. There are several broad categories into which myths are placed... ... middle of paper ... ... of piety in Japanese culture. Thus, as the creation myths of these societies differ, so do the values that drive them. In conclusion, creation myths have an impact on almost every aspect of a culture’s functioning, as they influence internal hierarchies and structures as well as attitudes towards the external world. Examining the various facets of a creation myth, from scrutinizing the particulars of the characters to categorizing the nature of the beginning of the myth, lends valuable insight into any culture. The pervasiveness of creation myths is also apparent, and this allows for the comparison of various myths across continents and countries. The creation myth’s capacity for illuminating the inner workings of society, coupled with this ability to compare myths cross-globally, make creation myths an invaluable tool in understanding the societies of the world.

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