Humanities Moments

The Power of Mythological Thinking

Contributed by Michael Poliakoff, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni
The Remorse of Orestes by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1862)
As a teacher of classical mythology, Poliakoff explains that the challenge he presents to his students—and that myths present to contemporary readers—is to understand how such ancient stories transcend their particular contexts to embody universal lessons which can be translated across cultures and history. By using classical mythology both to understand our origins and to clarify the truths of our current experiences, he suggests that we can learn how to live in a way that opposes tyranny and connects us to others.

Title

The Power of Mythological Thinking

Description

As a teacher of classical mythology, Poliakoff explains that the challenge he presents to his students—and that myths present to contemporary readers—is to understand how such ancient stories transcend their particular contexts to embody universal lessons which can be translated across cultures and history. By using classical mythology both to understand our origins and to clarify the truths of our current experiences, he suggests that we can learn how to live in a way that opposes tyranny and connects us to others.

Source

An Afternoon of Actaeon,” by Milet Andrejevic; The Oresteia by Aeschylus

Contributor

Michael Poliakoff, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni

Identifier

michael-poliakoff-mythology