All societies and individuals possess, consciously and unconsciously, a lexicon of myths. Historically, most youngsters embrace a central myth of youth — they are invincible — apart from their societies’ widely held concepts of immortality in various forms. Some myths come from a dense pre-historic past.
In Western cultures other myths are made immortal themselves by Greek, Latin and biblical literature. While a great many people today believe myths are no longer useful, they operate in cultures that deny them while subliminally utilizing them. The iconic “modern” example of course is George Lucas’ artful use of Goethe’s instructive Faust myth in “Star Wars” and its myriad cultural offspring about the universal hero. And in our modern midst are judges clad not in business suits, but draped in “magisterial” robes straight out Greek mythology and time. If being a judge in modern society were considered a mere “role,” the garb would be a CEO’s pin-stripe suit. “For law to hold authority beyond mere coercion, the power of a judge must be ritualized, mythologized. As does much of modern life today, from religion and war to love and death,” one cultural analyst has pointed out.