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Four Functions of Mythology

There are four functions of the mythology with human society. They have been identified by Joseph Campbell. These four functions will be analyzed with the help of Aztec culture, myths and rituals.

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The first function is the metaphysical function. It actually goes about the revival of a sentiment of reverence before the enigma of existence. In accordance with Joseph Campbell, the unmitigated enigma of life that has been identified by Campbell himself as transcendent reality cannot be collared straightly in words or depictions. Thus, bywords and mythic metaphors are able to designate outside themselves and into that reality. It means that these two are the things, which are called by Campbell "being statements" and their adoption through ordinance can provide the affiliate with a sense of that unmitigated enigma as a practice. In fact, various mythological symbols osculate and enliven the centers of life outwith the attainability of cause and compulsion. Actually, the first purpose of mythology goes about accommodating and arranging revival of realization and conscience to the enigma of the world (Campbell, 1991).

The second function of mythology is identified as the cosmological function. It goes about attributing the format of the universe. As a matter of fact, for the ancient communities and societies, myths also functionated in a form of a proto-science, providing clarifications for various physical and tangible phenomena, which actually enclosed and influenced their lives, including the alterations of the seasons and the life cycles of flora and fauna. It is crucial to retain that in accordance to other functions, myths are not involved in the straightly notable realness but in interactions between the apparent and the tangible. The incapability to comprehend these ideas caused Campbell to annotate that the current dilemma of doctrine on a contrary to religion concerning the matters of realness has significantly been diminished into a single matter between modern science and the proto-science of the ancient world (Campbell, 1991).

The third function of myths is the sociological function. The function goes about the validation and maintaining of the existent social structure. In fact, venerable communities  were supposed to obey an existent social structure if they wanted to survive altogether. This may be explained by the fact that they had to live under the oppressions from needinesses, which  had been more saturated than those impinged in the current time. Therefore, mythology validated that structure and actually induced it by reverberating it into the myth and stories as they were, typically depicting the ways in which the structure appeared from the religious interference. As a matter of fact, Campbell typically appealed to such abidance myths as the “Right Hand Path” in order to reverberate the ability of the left hemisphere for logics, structure and linearity. Moreover, with the help of this function, Campbell remarked the subsistence of the “Left Hand Path”, which concerns the special mythic schemes that are revolutionist in their nature due to the fact that they call for a person to surpass the social standards and moral ethics (Campbell, 1991).

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The last, fourth function of myths is the pedagogical function. In fact, it helps to control and manage the person during the different stages of his/her life. A lot of psychological problems will come up while the person moves through the life. Therefore, myths may operate as a principal for felicitous transmission through various stages of somebody’s existence. For instance, the most venerable cultures utilized rituals of transmission as adolescents transmitted to the grown-up stage. Afterwards, an existing mythology instructed the same individual to release all tangible property and prosaic projects as these individuals buckled to pass away (Campbell, 1991).

The Aztec culture may be utilized primarily in order to demonstrate the combination of the metaphysical and cosmological functions of mythology as they are. However, the legend also drives to the social structure and pedagogical function, as the result of the legend analysis. For example, the myth, which is called the “Legend of the Five Suns” is the story, which is used to explain the way the Earth was formed, how it functions, and the way it will be destroyed (Aguilar-Moreno, 2006). The legend explains that before the present age there have been four previous ages, or worlds. Each world had a name, which corresponded to the special Aztec Calendar, known as Sun Stone, as well as a deity and a race of people. Moreover, each world was also associated with one of the four elements, including “earth, water, fire, and wind” (Aguilar-Moreno, 2006). These are actually the signs, which helped to explain the enigma of life and world creation. Moreover, these are the mythic metaphors, which point outside themselves in order to be transformed into the Aztec reality. In fact, “The Legend of the Five Suns” depicts the narrations of the five genitures of the universe. The universe and world begin as emptiness, but ultimately the gods create the universe on the back of a sea creature. Four gods endow themselves in order to transform into the sun, however, they wreck due to the perdition, typically taking the universe and our world with them. At last, a courageous but humble god donates himself in fire in order to transform into the sun, which the Aztecs worshiped (Carrasco, 2012). Thus, the legend performs the cosmological function, as it demonstrates the physical phenomenon of sun. Moreover, the myth can also be used as the example of pedagogical function. This function helps to understand various rituals and ceremonies, which are utilized in order to educate the person. More precisely, the myth concerns the ritual of sacrifice, which has been very popular in Aztec culture. As the legend explains, unfortunately for the Aztec people, the last sun god was also not strong enough to travel across the sky, therefore, the other gods provided him with their lifeblood as power and might. Understand the idea that lifeblood supports the gods, the duty of providing the gods with the blood falls on human beings.

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