Man and the Myth

When we consider, however, instead of the physical, the psychological character of our species, the most evident distinguishing sign is man’s organization of his life according primarily to mythic, and only secondarily economic, aims and laws. Food and drink, reproduction and nest-building, it is true, play formidable roles in the lives no less of men than of chimpanzees. But what of the economics of the Pyramids, the cathedrals of the Middle Ages, Hindus starving to death with edible cattle strolling all around them, or the history of Israel, from the time of Saul to right now? If a differentiating feature is to be named, separating human from animal psychology, it is surely this of the subordination in the human sphere of even economics to mythology. And if one should ask why or how any such unsubstantial impulsion ever should have become dominant in the ordering of physical life, the answer is that, in this wonderful human brain of ours there has dawned a realization unknown to the other primates. It is that of the individual, conscious of himself as such, and aware that he, and all that he cares for, will one day die.

Myths to Live By — Joseph Campbell

Came across this passage tonight. This strikes me as being right.