In our most recent English/Humanities Department meeting, our respected and energetic chair, Francena Dwyer, brought up the idea of a mythology course. I claimed that we already had several, one being U.S. History. This of course drew dark looks from Bob Brown, an esteemed historian.
Of course, mythology, rather than the course, say Mythology 101, implies a kind of logic not a subject. A friend of mine, Ron Weber, liked to define mythology as those stories that give people an identity, a locus, an anchor. The question becomes one of how to determine reality, truth, and causal chains, and what tools do we have to determine these.
Unfortunatly, we must use tools to figure the world. But we can’t figure all of it. We can dig up accurate pictures of why Crassus was given command of Syria in BC 55. The question is: why should we?
The question “what did the writers of the constitution intend” is important because law and policy today will be shaped by the answer, and this creates a world we must live with somehow (one based on interpretation). Interpretation, therefore, matters a great deal.
For me the answer is: history is a kind of mythology. Dark looks?