There are four basic theories of myth. Those theories are: the rational myth theory,functional myth theory, structural myth theory, and the phsycological myth theory. Therational myth theory states that myths were created to explain natural events and forces.
Functional myths are what you call the kinds of myths that were created as a type ofsocial control. The third myth theory is the structural myth theory. This theory says thatmyths were patterned after human mind and human nature. The phsycological myththeory is the fourth myth theory which states that myths are based on human emotion. The rational myth theory states that myths were made to better understand naturalevents and forces that occurred in the everyday lives of people. This theory also explainsthat the gods and goddesses controlled all of these happenings of nature.
Examples ofthis type of myth are creation myths from different cultures. Creation myths explain howman was created and explain what the gods and goddesses used and what actions theytook to create humans. These myths also tell what substances were used (if any) in orderfor man to exist.
The existence of man is a natural event but creation myths give otherexplanations.The functional myth theory talks about how myths were used to teach moralityand social behavior. It states that myths told about what types of things should andshouldn’t be done, and the consequences for those wrong doings. The functional myththeory also states that myths were created for social control and served the function ofinsuring stability in a society. A story about a tribe who rebelled against the greatserpent, Degei, is a good example of a functional myth. This story is about a tribe wholearned many skills from their great serpent god, Degei, and then became Degei’sworkers and servants.
Two chiefs of this tribe were sick of working for him and tried todefeat him; they were too weak for Degei. Instead of winning their freedom, they werekilled in a great flood caused by Degei. This myth is trying to say that you should not belazy because if you are, then you will regret it.
Structural myths are said to be myths based on human emotion. These types ofmyths show the two sides of the human mind; the good side and the bad side. Theyshow the divided self and the duality of human nature. Myths about Hercules show howthe human mind can be both good and bad. Hercules did both good and bad things. One of the bad things he did was (in “Jason and the Argonauts”) he stole a broach pinfrom the treasure chamber of the god Talos.
This sin caused his friend to be killed. Hercules knew that his friend was killed because of his sin, so to make up for it, hevowed to stay on the island until his friend was found.The phsycological myth theory states how myths are based on human emotionand that they come from the human subconscious mind. Cultures all around the worldhad similar fears, questions, and wishes which, to them, were unexplainable. That is thereason that phsycological myths were made; and that is why there are archetypesshared between cultures. Archetypes are general forms and characters used by allcultures. Some archetypes found between cultures are having a sky god (Zeus andOleron),a sea god (Poseidon and Olokun), and an agricultural god (Orisha-Oko andDemeter).
These archetypes are examples of how people think alike when it comes tothings that are to them mysteries and fears. In conclusion, it appears that man created myths for quite a few reasons. Thesereasons include explaining the unknown, natural events and forces, to show the dualityand pureness of human nature and the human mind, and to help societies maintain orderand remain stable. There must be more reasons of exactly why myths should have arisenbut that is beyond the extent of this essay.