“A culture without mythology is not really a civilization.” – Vilayanur S.Ramachandran
Mythology and modernism—sounds almost like a classic oxymoron, doesn’t it? While we as Gen Z-ers might strongly concur, it helps to unravel this conundrum from a different perspective. Today, mythology occupies more space in our daily lives than we could ever imagine–from Thor and Athena in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to illustrations of Indian Gods on matchboxes and even the famed Starbucks logo on the cup which carries our favourite iced chai latte–mythical characters have become an intrinsic aspect that is becoming increasingly omnipresent.
While we as a generation of youngsters might be more inclined to a realistic line of thought, we also know to appreciate the influence our imagination and creativity can have on our minds. Amidst stressful exam schedules and nerve-wracking deadlines, mythology has always been there to provide that much-needed break from reality; a hot coffee with an accompaniment of our favourite mythology-inspired comic book did nothing bad!
According to Greek Mythology, in ancient Greece in the city of Olympia, the Olympics, the pompous event was conducted every four years with grandeur. Mirroring the historic inaugural ceremony, torchbearers repeat the custom of fueling the Olympic flame to appease the King of the gods, Zeus. Years have passed, and thousands of people, revered for their athleticism and grit, continue to gather to stake a claim on the laurel of the olive branch.
While this might seem insignificant, then comes the perspective of constellations and how they assist in increasing exposure to modern astronomy. Ranging from the fallen hunter Orion to Ursa Major, each constellation has a story behind it even if it's a mere identifier.
Coming close to home, our own Hindu mythology can’t be denied its share in shaping modern ideologies. Kali, as an entity, has helped in the realization of the resemblance of life and death as an aspect, whereas Shakti, with her fluidity, has paved the path of acceptance towards feminine nature and fluidity.
This is further backed up by an article on feminine nature, which quotes: “Concepts from mythology inspired fluidity. Masculine and Feminine were not separate entities but rather moulded into each other while femininity was an energy that each individual could partake in irrespective of gender.”
Despite these, the doubt about mythology’s relevance in the modern world arises due to the underappreciated contribution of the narratives. Albeit the questionable origins, mythologies continue to be a source of inspiration and pride for one’s heritage. The common learning curve from history and mythology is that it is better to learn from the past and implement it in the future, thus, being a relevant lesson for the present.