[O]ur imaginative visions are central to our understanding of the world. They are not a distraction from our serious thinking but a necessary part of it. And – what is perhaps more surprising – many of the visions that now dominate our controversies are ones which look as if they were based on science, but are really fed by fantasy.

— Mary Midgley, The Myths We Live By (2003)

Myths are narrative elements that, configured and reconfigured in various ways, allow societies, groups, and individuals to create an identity for themselves—that is, to know who they are and where they belong—and to navigate complex predicaments and existential crises.

—Jan Assmann, The Invention of Religion (2018)