Many people like to think that we, as a species, are falling into more and more depraved sensibilities. They think that, somehow as time goes on, our tastes are becoming more violent, more sexual, and less moral. These people have never read Greek mythology.

They’ve probably also never read the mythology of most other regions.

It just goes to show that when you’re looking for prime material for dramatic soap operas, you can’t beat the originals.

Humanity has always been a little bit depraved, our stories reflect the things we like to hear about, not necessarily the things we like to do. While there are negative elements to human societies, the general populace tends to be remarkably normal and friendly. That’s why we tell stories of this nature, they’re exciting, they’re different, they’re sexy.

Nowhere else is this as clear as in the mythology of the ancient Greeks. Gods leave their divine wives or husbands and sleep around with mortals, they enact brutal punishments on each other, and humans sit back and enjoys the display when they’re not getting caught in the crossfire. Anyone who’s ever stayed home sick from work or school and turned on day time TV to pass the time can tell you, this sort of thing is surprisingly entertaining. The best part is that everything a soap opera’s got, Greek myth has done better. The kidnappings are more elaborate, the affairs are more sexy, and the murder is more…murderous. When someone gets cheated on, it doesn’t just result in some simple human betrayal, oh no. If Zeus makes love to Alcmene and fathers a demigod son, Hera doesn’t just get even with Zeus. She causes his son to go berserk, forcing him to slaughter his entire family. Ultimately leading him to perform incredible feats to redeem himself.

Tell me you’ve seen something that awesome on Days of Our Lives. Yeah, you haven’t.

All of this is why I, personally, find Greek myth so exciting and such a great first step into the world of mythology. There are so many story elements we still use and recognize today in our own storytelling, making it much easier to dive right in and enjoy them for what they are. All mythology has this to a degree, but the ancient Greeks have inspired much of what makes up western civilization today, making them the best option if you’re just starting out.

So grab a book, read some myths, enjoy the convoluted relationships and the betrayal. Relish the violence and sexiness. Cheer for the heroes and boo the villains.

Like sands through the hourglass, these are the messed up things in Greek mythology.