Science is a great thing. It has allowed tremendous progress in our quality of life, incredible advances in medicine and a disclosure of many of the universe’s secrets.
But scientific reasoning is not the only way in which mankind understands itself and the world. It is very important to bear that in mind, because otherwise we might be tempted to discard everything that is not science on the grounds that it is devoid of meaningful content, thus impoverishing human experience and knowledge and causing an enormous amount of imbalances in our interior and even social lives. Jung as well as Campbell and many other great minds of the 20th century have pointed out this fact, that accounts for much of the problems that most of us we suffer of, from mild anxiety to depression and hopelessness.
The fact of the matter is that we are emotional and spiritual beings that require a rich interior life that includes images and symbols, if not myths and religion.
Again, this is not a matter of opinion but something that has been abundantly demonstrated by psychology. Archetypes and symbols do not disappear from human existence as religion plays a smaller role in nowadays societies. They just retreat to more concealed areas of our being, namely the unconscious ones, playing a role in our dreams and fantasies. The problem is that we do not possess the adequate mental apparatus to deal with these symbols and that is where part of today’s problems arise from.
Now myth is, in the words of the Portuguese genious Fernando Pessoa, the “nada que é tudo”, the nothing that is everything. It is, according to Aristotle, more truthful than history, because history tells us what happened whilst myth tells what should have been. Campbell puts it this way: “It has always been the first function of mythology and rite to supply the symbols that carry the human species forward, in counteraction to those constant human fantasies that tend to tie it back”.