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MYTHS OF THE POLITICAL-ECONOMIC WORLD VIEW A MYTH IS a traditional story that offers an explanation of some fact or phenomenon Myths are neither wholly true nor wholly untrue They may have been more true in the past than now but people act as if they are still true even when they no longer really believe in them Some modem usages of the word have connotations that suggest that myths are irrelevant or wrong but this is not necessarily so Myths are of considerable importance to people and for some they may reflect ultimate personal truth The critical need is for people to be given the opportunity to find out which myths are meaningful and which are not THE MEANING OF MYTHS A myth is a mental model with which people try to interpret reality and respond to it Myths have value in enabling us to organize the way we perceive facts and see ourselves and the world Myths speak through rich symbols helping to bring order into what may otherwise be a chaos of personal experience Whether true or not myths help us make sense of what is going on around us Myths can provide a valuable doorway into the value structure of a society or culture and may give insights that are difficult to achieve by more conventional means Some myths like belief in fairies are probably harmless Others may be dangerous if they distort the way we see the world and the ways we deal with problems How does one tell the difference How does one help people recognize the existence of other perspectives of reality without offending deeply held beliefs One good way to start examining a myth is to find out what it meant to those who created it the process of exegesis Many social and scientific myths of the twentieth century originated in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries so this is not difficult to do The
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