Labyrinths and mazes have been around for
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Labyrinths and mazes have been around for
literally thousands of years. They have special
uses in all fields and studies for humankind.
Mazes are used to not only study humans and their
intelligence, but also that of animals. Mazes and
labyrinths are used in so many ways it may boggle
the mind. They are used to test memory, to
entertain, to provide good story plots for cheesy
movies, sometimes even those movies that aren't
so cheesy, and in some places provide decoration.
Labyrinths also provide the basis for some
excellent games and hours of fun for the kids whose
parents just don't feel like dealing with them at
the time. Then, last but not least, labyrinths and
mazes can provide excitement in books you just
can't put down, and puzzles which seem almost
impossible to solve for those people who test their
minds to the limit for fun.
The word labyrinth comes from a Latin word,
"labrys" which means "double-axe". One can only
speculate why they would call it that, but it does
make sense. Labyrinths were built to protect, but
what if the person trying to be protected was lost
in it. A double-bladed axe would be similar. It can
be used to defeat the enemy as long as the other
side of it does not defeat the allies. Labyrinths
could be used to protect all sorts of things. The
Egyptians used them to protect riches and even
important bodies. In one instance, in Cretian
mythology, the labyrinth was built by Daedalus for
King Minos to protect the people of Crete from a
minotaur. Instead of it keeping him from completing
the labyrinth, it kept him inside so he could do
the people no harm. He was lost inside of it until
Theseus came and killed him.
Labyrinths and mazes aren't just used for
protection, though. In some places, like England,
and some churches, labyrinths were used for
decoration purposes. In the churches they were put
on the floors to symbolize the hard times of the
followers of that church. In England they would
have huge mazes put around fountains or out in
their gardens. Even today people use mazes for
decorations in their gardens. People pay large sums
of money to companies who specialize in that area.
Of course, they also have the hedge-mazes which are
actually considered labyrinths. People find them
beautiful and the mystery intriguing, it's why they
still are treasured.
Along with decoration, and protection, of
course is the entertainment value of labyrinths and
mazes. Who doesn't enjoy sitting around a McDonalds
working on that complimentary maze mat there? The
answer is no one. People enjoy mazes because they
strain the brain to think of a way out of them, but
they aren't impossible. Who cares how many match
sticks need to be moved to make a picture change
from 4 squares to a giant star? Very few people.
But mazes get the attention of everyone. Students
love it when teachers pass out the mazes instead of
the Geometry problems, or even that quiz that they
didn't study for. People just overall enjoy
doodling on the mazes that are supplied for them.
Another good use for mazes is as a test. Humans
use them to test our own intelligence, then we also
often use them to test the intelligence of animals.
Everyone who has ever seen a movie dealing with
science has seen a man release a mouse into a maze
in hopes that it can find the cheese. The rest of
the plot with the mouse is different, but still,
they always have the maze. Sometimes they even show
a labyrinth and a man running through it. It's a
very dangerous place that, once entered, no one is
ever sure if they'll find their way out again.
Mazes and labyrinths can protect, destroy,
isolate, hide, intrigue, baffle, befuddle, and
amaze. They can provide hours upon hours of fun if
it's meant to be a game, or hours and hours of
torture if the person is trapped inside of one.
People must wonder what these amazing things were
first created to do. Were they meant for
entertainment, protection, or torture? No one will
really ever know for sure. Humankind will know
this, however. No matter what
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Mazes, Puzzles, Labyrinth, T-maze, Troy Town, Turf maze
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