Modern Mythos

So, if you’re anything like me, that makes you a huge nerd. Sorry that I had to be the one to tell you.

On the bright side, that means you get to enjoy some of the finer things in life. Whether it be movies, books, video games, or all of the above and then some, you have probably spent an uncomfortable amount of money on geek paraphernalia.

In my case, one of the things that I’ve always enjoyed was mythology. I enjoy looking through the stories we used to tell to explain why lightning strikes, trees grow, or even why people are assholes when they’re drunk. It is interesting, seeing the hoops we will leap through to try and pretend that we understand what is happening. And while I will almost certainly be making you sit through an in-depth rant about mythology, this time my love is more of a segue into a different idea.

You see, for the longest time I thought that we had long since left the age of myth behind. Practically speaking, this is probably for the best-less ritual sacrifice and all that-but I couldn’t help but feel that this sense of wonder was taken with it. Zeus was an ass and a horndog, but at least that meant he had interesting stories. Now, I tried to look up how lightning works to prove my point about how dry science is, and I got bored and came back to writing this article-which is my point exactly. Having an explanation for everything that operates on a molecular level is great and all that, but it kind of takes the wind out of the sails that are imagination. And metaphor making. Whatever. Point is, it makes things boring.

At least, that’s what I thought until I discovered SCP, which is a fictional universe and not a drug, I promise. It stands for Secure, Contain, Protect, and focuses on the idea that there are beings that exist far beyond human comprehension and the methods we use to, well…Secure, Contain, and Protect them. Pretty self-explanatory once you get that far in. Anyways, it is found on the wiki page devoted to it, where most of the stories and descriptions of the things in the facility are told with plenty of technical jargon to create the illusion that it’s a real government project. The tales it tells are sometimes scary, and always disturbing at least.

When I first started looking into the story of SCP, it seemed like simple fun. Then it was four in the morning, and I started thinking that maybe it was something a little more. I wasn’t just staying up due to the terror of whatever beasts might be hiding away in the closet; I was excited. All these stories got my mind moving, parsing through all of them, trying to understand what just happened. I started making characters and situations of my own in the same universe.

One could make the statement that this is a new form of storytelling that has popped up for the digital age, and that I just get attached to things too easily. And I would get to say that they’re only half right. All of mythology started as storytelling. A child in Greece feared the lightning outside, so his parents invented a story of a bearded man in the sky that loved messing with thunder almost as much as he liked chasing women to comfort him. A tribe in Europe chased away its competitors, and a tale was weaved by their grandchildren of how the Gods won in a war against giants. These stories don’t have to be believed to count as a mythology; so long as they have an impact on your life. Human creativity isn’t dead, and the wonder isn’t gone. We’ve just changed how it’s presented. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna stay up way later than I probably should to read more about some eldritch monstrosities.

If you wanted to get lost in all the articles, the SCP wiki is here