I know, I’m shamelessly playing off of a header that Robyn used a couple of months ago. But it’s summertime and the living is easy – or at least it should be. As a former comparative literature major, my interest in shared stories and belief systems comes naturally.
First, a few definitions of “myth”:
1. A usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice (www.merriam-webster.com)
2. A traditional sacred story, typically revolving around the activities of gods and heroes, which purports to explain a natural phenomenon or cultural practice (urbanlegends.about.com)
3. A whole mythology is an organization of symbolic images and narratives, metaphorical of the possibilities of human experience and fulfillment of a given culture at a given time (Joseph Campbell)
Each time we immerse ourselves in work on behalf of an institution, we look to uncover its mythology – its traditions, its belief system, its raison d’être. The shared stories we seek to unearth not only uncover history, they illuminate the path into the future. Collectively knowing and understanding the past helps everyone embrace new possibilities and instills confidence that goals will be achieved – because similar achievements have been made before.
Fortunately, most institutions are happy to take this journey with us. They serve as knowledgeable guides and gifted translators as we navigate the realm of gods and heroes.