Flood Mythology: Three Times Humans Got Washed-Out and No One Really Cared
Chances are, no matter your age or where you were raised, the story of Noah’s Arc is familiar to you. Due to its presence in popular Western culture, the story is known to most people, regardless of religious denomination.
The general story is simple- Noah and his family are warned of an oncoming flood by their Lord, and told to build an ark which can carry two of each animal and themselves save them from the washing away of humanity. It rains for eighty days and eighty nights before slowly but eventually the waters recede and the Lord promises they will not flood the earth in such a manner again.
The concept of flood narratives and divine intervention is common among ancient mythology. In Plato’s Timaeus, the Bronze age man named Deucalion is warned by Prometheus that Zeus plans to wash away the men of his age in a large flood, and instructs him to build an arc and save his and his wife’s life. Additionally the Epic of Gilgamesh and many other Eastern religions dealt with the similar concepts.
The idea is simple- humanity is not up to the divine standard, and to deal with this problem the earth they use must be cleansed. However- sometimes an individual displays characteristics which earn them the mercy of their deity, and for this they are saved. While the other evils are washed away, humanity has another chance with
In each of these instances, the old is washed away by the divine in order to cleanse the Earth. The concepts of water as an important purifying substance is frequent even to modern times, as can be seen in baptism ceremonies. This concern with purification is understandable, considering the considerably lesser hygienic standards or access to clean water- not to mention fear of the flood itself. Without modern architecture or survival techniques, a significant flood could kill the majority members of a small community or destroy the agriculture and livelihoods of an agriculture based people.
And yet- water is a necessity to human life. It is needed to build crops so we have always settled near lakes or rivers because we need them. We settle near the ocean for fishing and travel. But these flowing rivers or rough seas are temperamental and live in a precious balance. Too much or too little rain can mean the ruin of thousands of people along the same river- many cultures, such as the Ancient Egyptians worshiped their rivers like gods, or had lesser gods for rivers themselves.
So while providing a chance for purification and cleansing, the ancient relationship to water was strained at best. It was delicate and dangerous, but also a necessity. It comes across in mythology in this very way- a chance for life, but also for terrifying destruction.
Q: Can you remember being naked in Gillian Anderson’s trailer? [referring, I think, to a GA interview where she said she’d seen David naked in her trailer and he was in ‘good shape.’]
DD: “I’d mixed up the trailers. I thought it was mine, I went in and stripped down. Gillian was more shocked than I was.” Loessl, Ulrich. “Mr. X.” German GQ Oct. 1998.
“The second-to-last-day, when I shot my last scene with Gillian, was very emotional and very sad. I really hadn’t pondered the weight of eight years coming to a close until I was in the middle of the scene and realized that this would be the last time I was going to do Mulder and Scully on the show. It was sad and very heavy, but not depressing. It was an acknowledgement of a lot of time, effort and love.” (Starlog, 2001)
“With that in mind, there are a few people I would like to thank. First and foremost David Duchovny, my cohort in crime, without you I wouldn’t be here, (she looks over at him and he says, “Well I read your name,” meaning he read her name and gave her her award, so of course she wouldn’t be there, and she laughs softly.) You amaze me!” (SAG Award Acceptance Speech, ’97)
“She’s the other one holding the other side of the rope. I mean, I rely on her, I trust her, and she does me.” - DD
The Text From The Ad In The Hollywood Reporter
My special thanks to David Duchovny.
Your talent has always inspired me -
without YOUR Mulder there would be no Scully.