Here are the four functions of mythology and how they apply to your personality.

Here at The Factionary, we blog a lot (check our list of categories), and our mission is to state facts. Whence cometh myths? Mythology, by definition, is the study of stories. Period! And we love telling stories, too. So why study stories and not science. According to Joseph Campbell, the premiere mythologist of our time, believed that for early mankind, mythology served four purposes: albeit, mystical, cosmological, sociological, and pedagogical. Here’s how they apply in your life.



#1. Mystical Function

The mystical function of myth serves for providing a scale. What Campbell believed was that myths helped people to express what it felt like to live in awe of the universe. This is what it really meant to be human in a universe of so many uncertainties. The universe is vast. The world seems big. But here you are in it all. A fully mythologized person would navigate it with ease. Whenever you’re in the midst of “nowhere,” the mystical function of myth lets you understand that you’re “now here.”



#2. Cosmological Function

The cosmological function of myth explains how we got here and how it all works. This makes sense if you think of it as how myths made early humans realize how they came to being. And they might have had a weird idea about how the natural world works. Likewise, a fully mythologized person brings order to the world. It’s a chaotic mess, however, in the middle of uncertainty and indecision, we put things in order to ensure that the world works for the betterment of us all. To be mythic is to restore order.



#3. Sociological Function

The sociological function of myth serves the importance of society establishing rules and regulations. Myths being told within the society teaches people how to interact and treat themselves with mutual respect. A fully mythologized person becomes a role model for others. This is seen in how society wants the youth to thrive in culture. A stereotype of someone who has learned to live peacefully, but also knows when it right to demand justice when all seem to be falling apart.



#4. Pedagogical Function

Finally, the pedagogical function of myth is to help people develop meaning — albeit what life is about, why we are here, and what we can do. Campbell believes that was the most important function of mythology. This, even holds true for the reason of mythologizing thyself. That moment when you live a life with purpose, it inspires others to do as such. The ultimate thing is to be alive and live your life without regrets.

As early Church Father Iraeneus puts it, “The glory of God is a man fully alive.” 

The purpose of your life is to be fully alive, and that’s a glorious thing. Remember that!


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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Fri, Feb 04, 2022.

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