Quote of the week #8: June 16, 2013

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illustration ©2013 jpbohannon

“Mythical heroes are of obviously superhuman dimensions, an aspect which helps to make these stories acceptable to the child. Otherwise the child would be overpowered by the implied demand that he emulate the hero in his own life. Myths are useful in forming not the total personality, but only the superego. The child knows that he cannot possibly live up to the hero’s virtue, or parallel his deeds; all he can be expected to do is emulate the hero to some small degree so the child is not defeated by the discrepancy between this ideal and his own smallness.”

Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment