Traditional Japanese mythology and its relationship to the human condition
Hi all,

I originally posted this on reddit, and somehow found your website there. I would love to have a dialogue about the following. I definitely appreciate any and all assistance.

This may be vastly out of your realm of experience, but I am currently researching traditional Japanese mythology and art, specifically curious about the relationship between it and the human condition/experience. I've been scouring the web but that's yielded me little results, so I figured I'd ask the question here.

As mentioned in the subject line, I'm interested in the relationship between the human experience/condition and traditional Japanese art and mythology. Specifically, I'm curious if you could point me to certain myths or tales that deal direct in the human experience. Secondly, I'm curious what symbols (dieties, animals, etc) the Japanese may have used to describe such a relationship in their art/myth/folklore.

When I say human condition, I mean something along the lines of this Joseph Campbell quote, "All the Gods, all the heavens, all the hells are within you". Additionally, anything pertaining to the following would be appealing to me; (a) metaphysics – concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being. Fundamental notions by which people understand the world. b) Metaphysical cosmology – deals with the world as the totality of all phenomena in space and time. (1) Space & time (2) Determinism & free will (3) Necessity & possibility (4) Law & chaos

I suppose I'm most concerned with myths that address the relating dualities between determinism & free will or law (order) & chaos.

Referencing the Joseph Campbell quote, I believe the quote is actually an argument against transcendence -- meaning we are our own gods. Along the lines of Nietzsche's, "God is dead...". I believe the idea behind both these ideas demonstrates the struggle between individuals looking to the cosmos for answers, but also realizing that destiny is our to mold.

Or, perhaps, myths in which the protagonist demonstrates the usage of free will, while at the say time noticing there may be other forces (supernatural, or natural) also at play. Realizing that life gears together like one big symphony, with everything unconsciously structuring everything else.

My hope is to identify myths/folklore that may center around these ideas. Ideally, I would like to identify characters, deities, animals, or natural elements (flowers, wind, water) that may symbolize these ideas. In most simple terms, I would like to find stories that balance and capture beauty and death.

I realize this is vastly understated and contradictory at points. But that, to me, is the fun it it. I would definitely appreciate more recomendations of stories.

Thank you for both contributions so far; I find them both extremely helpful.

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