What Mythology Tells Us About Creativity

No matter what account of creation you believe you can’t deny the overpowering creativity of the world’s mythologies. The essence of every mythology is to tell a story about how things came to existence and of how the earth and life on it emerged.

In every aspect of our lives we learn from all the things that surrounds us, same goes for the stories that have emerged from the inquisitive minds of people. We can learn a thing or two from them, it doesn’t matter even if we are ages apart from those people.

What Mythology Tells Us About Creativity

1. Creation

Creation

Image by: Flavio Takemoto

In the most basic sense, a mythology tells us how things came to existence. Although modern science and thinking would easily refute the idea that there is a god named Poseidon who ruled the seas and storms, of how Prometheus defied the gods and gave fire to mortals, the very thought of these primordial events (those which happened at the very beginning) are dramatically original and creative.

Implications in Real Life:

For thousands of years myths inspired people to do things that marvel us which can now be seen in museums and ancient sites. People of old were able to build temples that would make even the most brightest of people today scratch their heads and wonder how such an astonishing structure was built when pulley wasn’t thought of yet, when wheels weren’t available, and all were built to surpass the conditions of time.

Image by: Tatiana Bolshakova

Look at Superman, everybody knows who he is and what he can do. People were amazed by his strength and abilities that are beyond human’s. Doesn’t the very thought of beings with overwhelming power rooted from the world’s mythologies?

Most of the time, what people need to have is just a touch of madness and exaggeration. You are free to create your own story based on how you see the mysteries of the world. Your interpretation, your art.

2. Story

Story_book

Image by: Gary Scott

In every mythology there is a story of how gods and goddesses came to existence, of how they lived with mortal humans. In every story, usually, there are two sides: good and evil. There are peaceful times when gods and mortals coexist in harmony when suddenly a rogue god desiring for more control over the mortals disrupts the balance and wreaks havoc upon the heavens and the earth. Now that’s an interesting story.

Implications in Real Life:

Every piece of art has a story to tell be it a book cover, business logo, architecture, web template, even the photos that you take. Each of them contains an idea, and an art which vividly speaks it well is usually the one that gathers lots of audience. Just look at the Mona Lisa, she has her story combined with mystery.

3. Mystery

Mystery

Image by: Travis Walker

In mythologies, things and events that people can’t explain are attributed to a higher being. Suppose you and I are cavemen and this is our first time going out of our cave after years of living inside. The sky flashes and an angry voice booms! In our fear we cower and think that someone is making that mighty phenomenon. Someone is responsible, someone incomprehensible! Have we done something wrong to incur his wrath?

Implications in Real Life:

It is one of human’s nature to be inquisitive, to ask questions about things that tend to be mysterious and unknown. When reason can’t explain things, usually we leave the rest to imagination. As a result, we create things that are out of the ordinary, we create things that are original to us and often we leave the audience to decide on how to understand these things.

An art which has an air of mystery endures time. Most people love solving mysteries, they would love to have a peek and interpret things. And in an artwork, there are actually two interpretations: the way the artist interprets it, and the way the spectator sees it.

4. Limitless

Infinity

Image by: Sachin Ghodke

In the movie Troy, Achilles said “The gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now.We will never be here again.”

What does it actually say about being limitless? The gods are stagnant, they no longer change in appearance and they will be that way until the end of time. It is ironic to note that no matter how infinite they may be, their beauty will be the same tomorrow and forever.

The noble thing about being mortal is that you will wake up everyday knowing that you are beautiful in a way unique to everyone, and it evolves. In mythologies, often the gods are surprised by the marvelous feats humans can do whenever presented with challenges.

Implications in Real Life:

Many things have already been made and are still being made. Perhaps the very thought that someday our lives will end gives a kick to that feeling to make a difference, to make the world see your art whatever form it takes. Several years ago almost half of the gadgets that we enjoy today seemed impossible to many, the way we communicate online has dramatically changed too and many things that came from human creativity within a short span of time.

Our lives will end, surely, but creative ideas will transcend time like the ideas of the distant past.

Mythology in Modern-day Technology and Arts

You are standing at a museum amazed by this piece of art when suddenly the person next to you tells how the artist conceived the painting, what the story is behind this male carrying the world, why that man’s carrying a flame, from where did some companies got their products and names, and you will be far more amazed to learn that you’ve just had a crash course of mankind’s creative history.

How to Create a Greek Mythology-inspired Photo Manipulation (tutorial)

This is the Titan Atlas who was condemned to carry the Heavens for all eternity. Here he’s carrying Earth.

Prometheus

Image by: SBA73

Prometheus, champion of mankind for stealing fire from Zeus for humans. Modern art for a very longstanding mythology.

Nike

Nike is the winged goddess of victory who is swift and strong, rewarding heroes in the battlefield. Yes, this is where Nike shoes came from.

Human Flight

Image by: Jean Carneiro

Humans, ever since, have always been obsessed with flying. Daedalus, in Greek mythology, invented wings bonded with wax to fly with Icarus. From that we now have airplanes. I bet you would want to have a jet-pack.

Notable Novels and Films:

  • The Lord of the Rings – an epic fantasy novel turned film written by J.R.R. Tolkien; elves, orcs, walking trees, dragons, you name it LoTR has it. A very wide world filled with awesomeness.
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Shrek
  • Harry Potter

Up to date people know what fairies, vampires, werewolves, and others are; most of the time a box office hit film is derived from one or two myths. TV series are populated with ideas rooting from mythologies even paintings, sculptures, company name and brands and each has their story to relate from ancient to the modern times.

Feel like sharing some of the things you believe are inspired by mythologies? Feel free to comment, we’d love to see them!

Rean John Uehara

Rean concurrently served as the Head of Operations and Editor-in-Chief of 1stwebdesigner from 2011 up until Aug 2014. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development with a little touch of internet marketing here and there.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    This article is brilliant. I am a huge lover of mythology, and tying design, inspiration, and mythology together is brilliant.