Jostein GaarderMain Points Of the text
- the present text explores the development of western philosophical thought from ancient to present time.
- The text is about the origin of myth and its relationship with the philosophy.
- Myths existed even before the existence of philosophy and science. Hence, myths may not have scientific bases.
- This essay talks about the natural happening bases on the Nordic mythology.
- Myths are stories about religion which inform us about the ancient culture and tradition.
- The author explains that in the beginning, the myths were used to explain natural phenomenon.
- Philosophy rejects mythical explanation because it ( philosophy ) is based on reason and logic.
Sophie receives a letter which describes about the mythological world picture and considers philosophy as a new way of thinking critically that evolved in Greek period. People developed and interpreted myths as they wanted because it helped them explain why nature worked the way it did. As mythologies were part of human culture, they were handed down from one generation to another for centuries, and from the Greeks and Romans to the Western world.
A myths is a story about religion and stories about gods which try to explain why life is as it is. Myths are stories about the gods, goddesses supernatural beings etc. In other words, a myth is a story about the god which sets out to explain why life is as it is. The earliest Greek philosophers criticized mythology and tried to seek more convincing reasons behind such mythologies. They considered myths as nothing more than human ideas and beliefs.
This essay talks about the natural happening based on the Nordic mythology. In Nordic mythology, Thor was the god of thunder, rain, weather and fertility. According to Nordic mythology, before Christianity came to Norway, Thor rode across the sky in a Chariot drawn by two goats. When he swung his hammer, it made thunder and lightning. When there was thunder, there was also rain which is vital for farmers. So Thor is worshipped as the god of fertility.
One morning mighty Thor woke to find that his hammer, Mjollnir, was missing. He woke all of the other gods and goddesses asking if they had seen his hammer, but none of them had, and became quite upset to hear that his hammer was missing. The hammer was the most powerful weapon that the gods possessed and if their enemies heard that the hammer was missing then they might attack, and the gods would be powerless against them. Loki, the trickster god, had an idea about who had stolen the hammer, so he turned himself into a falcon and flew off to find Thrym, the king is of the giants. When Loki found Thrym, the giant confessed that it was indeed him that had stolen the hammer while Thor slept. Thrym also said that he had hidden it in a place where no one could find it, and he would not return the hammer until Freyja, the most beautiful of all the goddesses, was made his bride. Loki flew off to tell the gods the bad news. They debated and argued, but they came to the conclusion that Freyja must become Thrym's wife so that the hammer would be returned.
Then Freyja and the other gods started preparing for Freyja's weeding when the god Heimdall came up with an idea: Dress mighty Thor up in Freyja's clothing and send him to marry Thrym. Thor didn't like the idea of dressing up like a woman. But he also hated the idea of beautiful Freyja becoming Thrym's bride even more, so he reluctantly agreed. Thor dressed as a bride, was acomplained by his "handmaiden" Loki to Thrym's castle. When Thor and Loki arrived. Thrym welcomed them in, and held a feasting their honour. Thor ate an entire ox, a net full of salmon and six barrels of mead by himself, and when Thrym asked Loki why the "maiden" was eating to much Loki replied that she had not eaten for a week in anticipation of the weeding and was starving. Thinking that "Freyja" was really in love with him he decided to give her a kiss. Thrym lifted her veil and prepared to kiss Loki why his bride's eyes looked the way that they did. Alarmed, he asked Loki why his bride's eyes looked the way they did. Smoothly Loki replied that she had not slept of a week either and would be fine once she had had a chance to rest. Thrym accepted this and decided to make his bride wait no longer for the weeding. Fetching the hammer and holding it aloft he prepared to bless the union when Thor could take it no longer. He ripped off his bridal clothes, grabbed his hammer and beat all the giants to death with it, starting with Thrym.
The author explain that in the beginning, the myths made an attempt to explain natural phenomenon. Hence, this mythology explains how the balance of the nature was maintained and why there was constant struggle between good and evil. The philosophers rejected such mythical explanations, they wanted more precise and scientific explanations.
This is how the ancient myths tried to give people an explanation for something they could not understand. We can find a great numbers of myths from other parts of the world. In some parts of the world, the people dramatised their myths about seasons, harvest etc. Mythological notions of this type flourished in most parts of the world until the philosophers and scientists began to interfere with them.
What are myths?
A myths is a traditional story about heroes or supernatural beings, often attempting to explain the origins of natural phenomena or aspects of human behaviour. A myths is a story about the god which sets out to explain why life is as it is.
What is a common myths found in your culture or region? Share it with your friends.
Various myths can be found in my culture or religion. Most of such myths are related to Gods, Goddesses the creation of the world, creation of human/creatures and so on. Some of the common myths found in my culture or religion are:
a) The whole Kathmandu Valley was once s large lake. Manjushre have outlet to the water of the valley by cutting cliffs of Chovar with his large sword.
b) According to the Hindu mythology, king Janak was one ploughing in land. He suddenly found a beautiful girl in the field. He named her as "Sita" and brought her up as his own daughter.
c) According to Hindu mythology, the universe was created by Lord Vishnu.
d) The name of our country Nepal was derived from the name of sage king called Nepal who ruled for long time.
1. What does the letter that Sophie got talk about?
The letter that Sophie got talks about philosophy or new way of thinking . It talks about Thor who was worshipped in the Norse mythology as the god of thunder, rain and fertility. The letter also talks about mythological explanation about how the balance of nature was maintained and why there was a constant struggle between good and evil. The letter also talks about the real meaning behind the myths.
2. Who was Thor? How does the passage interpret his personality?
In Nordic mythology, Thor was the god of thunder, rain weather and fertility. According to this mythology, it is believed that before Christianity came to Norway, Thor rode across the sky in a chariot drawn by two goats. When there is thunder, there is also rain which is vital for farmers. So, Thor is worshipped as the god of fertility.
3. How do the Nordic myths describe the rain?
According to the Nordic myths, Thor is regarded as the god of thunder, lightning, rain, weather and fertility. It is believed that Thor rides across the sky with his hammer. When he swings his hammer, it makes thunder and lightning and there is rain. When it rains, the corn germinates and flourishes in the fields.
4. How did Thor regain his lost hammer?
Thor regained his lost hammer by disguising himself as Frejya whom Thrym wanted to marry. When the giant lifted the veil to kiss, Thor got back his hammer and killed Thrym.
5. How do people interpret this myth?
According to the interpretation of people, when a drought occurred, people asked why there was no rain. They also asked if it could be that the giants had stolen Thor's hammer.
6. How did Sophie visualise the natural happening after reading the letter?
After reading the letter, Sophie visualized the natural happenings not in her own traditional ways. She understood that people had always felt a need to explain the processes of nature. Perhaps they could not live without such explanations and that they made up all those myths in the time before there was anything called science. She understood the explanations for the changing seasons and natural processes based on experience and reason.
A) This passage talks about the Nordic mythology. Write a few paragraphs on the myths that are in your culture regarding the natural happenings.
This passage talk about the natural happening based on the Nordic mythology. It talks about Thor, the God of rain, thunder, lightning and fertility. Similarly, in my culture also there are various myths regarding the natural happening. In Hindu mythology rain, thunder and lightning are caused by Lord Indra. In Vedic times, Indra was the supreme ruler of all gods and the leader of Devas. Indra was god of war and greatest of all warriors. He was the strongest of all beings and ruled thunder and storms. Indra was the defender of all gods and mankind against the forces of the evil. In earlier scripts he was narrated as the aspect of the sun-god, riding in a golden chariot across the heaven. Later, he was ascribed as the god of thunder and storms owning a celestial weapon Vajra or lightning bolt. He is regarded as the creator good since be bring water to the earth and thus causes fertility. Thus, if it does not rain for a long time, people worship lord Indra in my culture.
B) Develop your own idea on the rain and thunder without referring to the scientific reasons. Compare your view with the Nordic mythology and see how they are similar.
In my culture, people believe that rain is caused by the rain God, Indra. Indra was the favourite Vedic God in the Rig Veda. Legends surround his Vedic God establishing Him as the God of rain in Hindu mythology. Indra was the defender of all gods and mankind against the forces of the evil. In earlier scripts he was narrated as the aspect of the sun-god, riding in a golden Chariot across the heaven. Later he was ascribed as the god of thunder and storms owing a celestial weapon Vajra or lightning bolt. He is regarded as the creator god since the brings water to the earth and thus causes fertility.
Unlike in our mythology, in Nordic mythology Thor is considered as the god of thunder rain weather and fertility. According to this myth. Thor rode across the sky in a Chariot drawn by two goats. When he swung his hammer, it made thunder and lightning. When there was thunder there was also rain. Farmers became happy and they worshipped Thor as the god of fertility.