Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What happened to the records of the 'gods'?

I was listening to Jim Harold's Paranormal Podcast episode titled "Lost Secrets of the Gods" and my mind wandered off on ancient mythology and what might have happened to the secrets of the 'gods' that have since been lost.  To understand where I'm coming from, let me explain how I tend to view ancient mythology.

Before doing that though, let me first describe the other three main viewpoints for interpreting ancient mythology.
  1. Fiction - This camp views mythology as nothing more than fairy tales and fantasy.
  2. Supernatural - This camp views mythology as stories about actual supernatural beings and events.
  3. Aliens - This camp views mythology as stories about advanced alien beings that the human observers simply described the best way they knew how.
The 4th camp, which is the one I would typically associate with, view mythology as something based on real people and events that the observers described (or embellished) the best way they knew how.  

For me personally though, I figure mythology is a mixture of fiction and stories about real people and events.  The people and events in the stories may be embellished or described in a fantastic way, but are nonetheless stories about people and events someone observed.  I view the stories of the 'gods' of mythology as probably stories about ancient or prehistoric aristocratic families.  Families who were somehow able to set themselves up as rulers over other people.  Maybe they were charismatic.  Maybe they looked different or were even members of another species of human from the prehistoric era.  Maybe they were just smarter and were able to gain the respect of others, or, if they were of a more sinister nature, they may have used their wits to manipulate others.  Maybe it was a combination of those things. 

Anyway, the point is I think that at least some of the 'gods' of ancient mythology were real people (and just to be clear, I recognize that some, maybe even most, could be pure fiction).  But if the 'gods' were real people, what happened to their own personal records?  We have stories about them.  But what about their own stories?  Why has no one found the journal of Zeus?  Or the memoirs of Thor?  What about the diary of Venus?

If you look at most of the mythology we have, it's told from the perspective of someone observing the 'gods' and supernatural events.  Sure, sometimes you might have something that was supposedly dictated to someone by a 'god', but that kind of material is usually laws or advice on how to live your life.  It's not really an insight into the day to day activities of the 'gods'.  

When I think back over the various myths that I know, I'm starting to notice they seem one sided.  They seem to be from the perspective of people observing the 'gods'.  But what about the perspective of the 'gods'?  

To get a bit more specific, I started thinking about the story of Krishna in the Indian epic known as the Mahabharata where he pursues an enemy and attacks him with some seemingly supernatural weapon.  The story also mentions aircraft called vimanas and some kind of super weapon that sounds as destructive as a modern nuclear weapon.   I don't know if the story is fiction or if it's a description of an actual event.  But if it is a description of an actual event, where is Krishna's side of the story?  Who was flying the vimanas?  Did the pilots leave no record of that day in battle?  Why is there only one version of the story?

I feel like the explanation is simple for the first three camps I mentioned above.  If you think mythology is fiction, then no further explanation is needed.  If you think it's a supernatural event, then it's easy to explain as something we aren't meant to fully understand or just simply cannot comprehend.  If you think it's aliens doing battle, then you can simply say the aliens have chosen not to give us their side of the story.  

But if we are to assume mythology is based on real people and events, why did those people not leave any records?  At first, I thought the explanation may be difficult.  But the more I thought about it, the more I came up with.

The simplest explanation is that the 'gods' chose to leave no records.  Whereas the stories we have about them were public knowledge and written down, the 'gods' may have preferred to keep their private lives a secret from their subjects.  Perhaps the biggest secret they wanted to keep was that they were really no different from the people that worshiped them.  By keeping their personal lives private, any records from their personal lives have since been lost.  

Another possibility is that their records were destroyed.  Another set of 'gods' may have come and took over and destroyed any records of the 'old' gods in hopes that people would eventually forget them (and for all we know, there may be quite a lot of stories of 'gods' we've never even heard of because of something like that happening).  

One other possibility is that some sort of personal record of a 'god' may have once been known, but was since lost in a fire or something.  Who knows what all was lost when the library of Alexandria burned.  

So I'm not really sure what the answer to the question is.  For that matter, I'm not even sure that ancient mythology is based on real people; it's just that I think it's very possible.  But if any of them were real people, their own stories of their lives seem to have been lost.

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