The exaggerated stories that surround the figures of the American West appeal to me as a classic example of the human tendency toward embellishment. In my non-believer’s heart I genuinely feel this tendency lies at the core of nearly all the superstitious nonsense in each of the world’s “holy” books and in all of ancient mythology.
After all, these figures of the Wild West were in action less than 200 years ago, yet look at all the superhuman deeds that are ascribed to them and the outrageous drama that we’re told their lives were filled with. These real-life characters who were often just thugs and criminals have been posthumously transformed into icons whose sagas now bear little resemblance to their actual lives.
I feel that serves as a blueprint for how all mythic belief systems operate. When you magnify the distortions of just 200 years by 10 times or more you can see what tiny little kernels of truth may actually lie buried in the accounts of gods and demigods who are said to have roamed the world ages ago.
All of which Continue reading