Logos refers to our ordinary way of seeing the world with deductive, logical thinking that helps us balance our checkbook, make decisions, and plan for the future. But as scholar Karen Armstrong describes, the ancients saw that logos cannot “assuage human grief or find ultimate meaning in life’s struggle. For that people turned to mythos, stories that made no pretensions to historical accuracy but should rather be seen as an early form of psychology.”
Mythos can move the heart to love, inspire faith, and find magic in the metaphorical mystery of life. Mythic thinking allows us to ponder life’s deepest questions through a larger aperture, to reinterpret our struggles against an eternal backdrop. Mythos is concerned more with feeling than thought, motivated more by faith than reason. The mythic mind ponders metaphysical questions while the logical mind counts the beans and weighs the odds. While most of us tend toward one approach or the other, both mythos and logos are necessary for a balanced life. Unfortunately, in our reason-obsessed, left-brained culture, we favor logic over myth, facts over fables, and black-and-white explanations over the rainbow spectrum of awe. This leads to an impoverished view of existence: sensible without being wise, logical without being enriching.