All the stories in humanity’s history that have had a lasting impact on us, from the Bible to Greek myths to the X-Men franchise, have been rich in meaning beyond the literal words and events they offered us. Whether it’s striking the right emotional note, enveloping us in a fantasy world, making us reflect on our own lives, inviting a search for meaning, provoking discussion, or giving us experiences we can’t explain, the role of art has always been so much more than laying out a linear “plot” complete with all the mundane details of exactly how character X got to location Y in a way that feels “realistic.” The undercurrent of excessive literalism and obsession with story mechanics that plagues modern fandoms and criticism is pernicious, and it denies us the tools we need to find meaning in art. To understand art, we need mythos—which means we need mythos to live.