– Explaining The Unexplained Essay, Research Paper
Myths, according to most of today’s society were made up for many different causes. Some of these reasons include entertainment, tradition, legends, and to teach write from wrong. Although that is correct in some cases, myths are primarily used to explain the unexplained. They explain natural phenomena that cannot be explained in other ways and with concrete facts. A long time ago there was no such thing as scientists and technology. Ancient civilization could not give logical reasons for things like night and day, mountains, the ocean, the sky and many other everyday geographical structures. Myths were made up to give people answers for the impossible to answer questions.
One prime example of this is in the myth “The Creation of the Universe and Life”. This story is of Yoruban origin. Their people and culture settled just north of the Niger River and have roots that can be traced all the way back to 300 B.C. This myth explains how land was made and how it transformed into what it is today with all the mountains and valleys. Obatala, the favorite of Olorun, who is the ruler of the sky and the most powerful and intelligent god, wants to put something of interest below the sky where all the gods live. Underneath the sky is one big ocean full of marshes. So Obatala wants permission to build solid land. After being granted permission he finds out that he needs a variety of materials. They consist of: a long gold chain that could reach the ocean from the sky, a snail’s shell full of sand, a white hen, a black cat and a palm nut in a bag. Obatala gets all of this and begins to climb down the gold chain to reach the bottom; he reaches the end of th e chain but has not yet reached the ocean. The helpless god calls up to Orunmila, his advisor. Orunmila calls down and tells him to dump the sand down then throw the hen. He does so and miracles start to happen. ” The hen fluttered down, landed upon the sandy waters, and immediately began to scatter the sand by scratching at it. Wherever the sand fell it formed dry land. The larger piles became hills, while the smaller piles became valleys”(World Mythology 404). As you can see the Yoruban people did not have the technology to realize that natural causes and time caused the valleys and mountains to form. They did not have scientists to prove these facts. So someone made up this myth and passed it down from generation to generation; this resulted in the people having gods, a religion, answers to everyday miracles and something to believe in.
Another myth that answers a scientific question is one from the Middle East. It is the Babylonian epic known as “The Enuma Elish”. This involved lots of fighting and violence between the gods. It went back and forth until the final battle between Marduk and Tiamat. Marduk was the son of Ea and Damkina. He was the most wisest and accomplished god. Tiamat was the mother goddess who became Mother Earth, as you will find out. After Marduk killed Tiamat he used her body to create things of the world.
When he had severed her arteries, the north wind bore her blood into secret places. Marduk then divided Tiamat’s body into two parts like a shellfish. Half of Tiamat he set up as the sky; the other half he formed into the earth. From Tiamat’s saliva, he created the clouds and filled them with water, but he himself took charge of the winds, the rain and the cold. He put Tiamat’s head into position to form the mountains of the earth and he caused the Tigris and Euphrates rivers to flow from her eyes(World Mythology 600).
This is how the Middle Eastern people believed that the earth was formed. It involves a religious background because the gods are praised and are the rulers and creators of the earth. This myth is a great example of how they explain the natural ways of the earth in a religious and entertaining way.
There were two prime examples in “The Enuma Elish”, and “The Creation of the Universe and Life”. Both stories well reflected religion and showed how the earth’s structure was formed. As you can see, the theory that myths are primarily used to explain the unexplained through the use of religion is true and will still be used by underdeveloped countries without the help of science and technology.