The Mythic Life

Spring Quarter, 2019
Martin Shaw, PhD
Wednesdays, 6-9pm
OralComm 1753-units, WAYS-CE

Why in the twenty-first century do many of our most acclaimed and popular stories carry narrative forms that are thousands of years old? Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, Titanic, Batman – all are deeply informed by ancient myth, folklore, and oral traditions. One reason is that the deep stories of myth and folklore act as a bridge between our personal lives and the profoundest aspects of the human condition. They offer a way to understand our lives and how to live them. 

This course offers an in-depth study and experience of myth and folklore, the roots of modern story and the roots of our own stories. You will hear these myths live, as people have for thousands of years—from Trickster folk tales to the medieval Arthurian grail epic Parzival. You will also draw from these epics to create and tell a mythic story of your own. This will give you an appreciation for myth as a living principle, not just something from a long time ago. It will also help you become a good storyteller by developing your memory, improvisation, and image-based thinking. This ability to tell a story well is at the root of authentic leadership and helps us bring a powerful, embodied perspective to championing a cause or just debating over coffee.