It has been suggested that we should refrain from passing judgement on cultural myths. That it is insensitive to declare that a cherished myth is false, lest we diminish the very identity of a people. Hogwash.
My son is biracial, bicultural, and bilingual. As his parents, my wife and I must decide what is more important. Cultural propagation, or truth. My son will understand that Zeus never ruled on Mt. Olympus, just as he will understand that Yahweh and Allah are mythical tyrants. If his cultures are diminished by this correct understanding of the universe, tough Shih Tzu. Cultures don’t last forever, what a shame it would be if they did. We’d still be hitting women over the head with clubs and dragging them back to the cave.
The word ‘myth’ can be defined in two ways as shown below. But it seems to me that every enduring cultural myth started out fitting the 2nd definition, before graduating to the 1st.
2. a widely held but false belief or idea.
1. a traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining some natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events.
Myths can be good teaching aides, as long as the student understands what’s real and what’s not. Nostalgia is no reason to suppress the truth.
Question: Should we pretend that myths are true, in order to help conservatives maitain the status quo? Or should we acknowledge the truth, so that humans can progress?