Changing the mindset on how we view human interconnection

Introducing people of all ages to mythology... in pre-college educational curricula, youth orgs, the media, etc. Share your knowledge, stories, unit and lesson plans, techniques, and more.

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CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Sat Jan 05, 2013 2:44 pm

That is a question we ask a lot lately. Should we even try?

Certainly there are times when not trying at all will help us to get through whatever challenges we face. The down time allows us to recharge our batteries and process events that damage or destroy valuable elements of our lives. When the retreat is in progress, it is the right thing to do.

When it is over, we may come out of the experience with a new energy. Perhaps we feel a sense of focus and drive that sets us on a renewed course of creativity. We may make no conscious effort, because it flows as we are compelled to act.

As we traverse our place and our time, the stories we pick up and the narrative running through our minds provide the substance for reaching the next step along the way. If we are afraid, we can allow ourselves to imagine something much worse so that the actual events we fear or the people we find terrifying will seem less intimidating by comparison to awful tales of savagery.

We can desensitize ourselves through anticipation of what awaits us. We can let the emotions out for a spin until they are tired and ready to settle down and obey our commands like the obedient puppies they can be.

The Joseph Campbell approach to myth and story and the journey of the hero emphasizes human experience. In his work, there is a conscious interplay of rationality and emotion as written so large in the creative works of humanity, from the most private and humble and small to the ones we can all view through images from outer space.

Campbell was aware of the functions of creating order out of the chaos that confronts us from birth to death. Each life becomes a story. Each story becomes a part of the whole. The whole of human existence can be placed within one small area of time and space, there to be known and felt in a great circle of renewal and transformation.

Whatever it is, we are here and this is it.

The human BEING....existing.....aware.....recombining the elements before us and anticipating the results of our work. No judgments. Just life.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by JamesN. » Sat Jan 05, 2013 3:05 pm

Very thoughtful and beautifully expressed Carmela! :)
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:11 pm

Thank you kindly, dear sir.

Did you read my book yet, James?

:?:
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by jufa » Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:58 pm

Oh Carmelabear, yes
"When the retreat is in progress, it is the right thing to do."
And indeed
"We may make no conscious effort, because it flows as we are compelled to act."
to eliminate our
fear or the people we find terrifying will seem less intimidating by comparison to awful tales of savagery. . .we can all view through images from outer space. . . there to be known and felt in a great circle of renewal and transformation.
"Hath thou faith? Have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that comdemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

Your words flowed from a secret place and made your fingers humble. Very, Very Inspiring!
Never give power to anything a person believe is their source of strength - jufa
http://theillusionofgod.yuku.com
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Jan 09, 2013 3:22 pm

Your words flowed from a secret place and made your fingers humble. Very, Very Inspiring! -----Jufa



Joy.

Much joy.

:!:
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:51 pm

Jufa read my book. I don't know where the words come from, here or in the book. They just appear and I blab. I love that if you make little pictures that stand for sounds that turn into common understandings, the blabbing is called "writing". Writing is a nice euphemism for blabbing, yapping and pulling the wax out of the ears.

I hear better without wax.

So, James N., my good man, dd you check out some o' that ol' time confession I put down in writing? (Oh, and yes, it needs a LOT more editing.....I hope I can earn enough from my new job as a part-time caregiver to afford another edition of the book.)

Just asking.

Jufa read it. I don't know why my blabbing seemed so humble and inspiring to Jufa, (though I am exceedingly happy-happy-happy that it did!). I got some indirect feedback from another source, and it was not so happy. There is a California Mexican American who writes a syndicated column, ("Ask a Mexican"), for the Weekly Alibi in Albuquerque and other papers. He seems to roundly condemn my book and the people he believes I represent (maybe one or two New Mexico natives). He used his column to knock those New Mexicans who use hot button, politically incorrect words like "Spanish" and "Hispanic" (instead of Latino), and he thinks folks like me are not "real" Mexicans. Actually, I am Native American by blood, completely assimilated into the American culture of the English language and the thoroughly requited love of Oscar Meyer weiners, and I have a smattering of the Spanish language, a background in Italian Catholicism, with a thing for homegrown red and green chile.

The column in the Alibi called "Ask a Mexican" is the equivalent of "Dear Abby" for those who are anxious to play by the Mexican Rules of Political Etiquette according to "The Mexican", who does not like me or the New, Improved Mexican (he says we think we are "superior"). New Mexicans like to call attention to the fact that we are related to the first Mexican Indians and Spaniards who arrived here in the late 1500's. It seems significant to us. I don't know why it irks the newcomers so much to encounter our stories, but it seems to bother them a lot.

So, James N., did you read the introduction at least? It's free on Amazon. Just asking. It's okay if folks don't read my book. It's just a confession of nearly every memorably stupid thing I ever did. If it were a movie, it would be a black comedy. There were probably a lot more stupid things, but they did not all come to mind when I was plumbing the depths.

I'm not sure what this has to do with the topic at hand. If I have offended the gods of the Conversations, I offer my deepest apologies for all their worth. I can erase this or you can transfer it to another thread as you so desire.

I'm a bit rattled lately. My cage has been turned upside down.

:?
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by JamesN. » Sat Feb 23, 2013 3:23 pm

Hello Carmela.

In your introduction the emphasis on cultural background poses an interesting point about a persons search for their individual identity concerning their past. The difficulty for most of us I think is in reconciling this sense of cultural connection and it's relevance to the world ( in which we live ); both in the past and the present. ( On a personal note it often appears to me the US seems to suffer from a kind of schizophrenia concerning " cultural " identity; but that is just from my perspective. :? ) But I do think the personal journey of finding and identifying one's individual past can be richly rewarding in many ways. ( Again speaking only for myself; having undertaken such a search that lasted close to a decade; I can say that it certainly answered a lot of questions. ) The trick though is to put that knowledge into service into whatever is helpful for you in ( connecting ) you to your humanity; ( not ) in separating yourself from it. There is most definitely a tendancy towards separation that can be quite harmful if distorted. Race and culture as background has it's place; but only in the context of a larger self-portrait of identity connecting to all people.

For me it really took awhile to sort out being a " Southerner " while investigating my cultural and family history. There was a lot of " baggage " containing many conflicting ideas concerning just what that identity meant and represented; and some of those images that were idealized were extremely dysfunctional and not very humane. Then there is this whole ( separate but connected ); immigration from the " Mother Country " concept that further convolutes the definition; along with the multiple families of divergent backgrounds. All of that is rich and important material; but in the end it is your " character " I think that defines who and what you are that is the important thing to remember. Not some nebulous and concretized cultural image that is promoted as a symbolic representation of identity. Heritage used as a concretized identification standard; ( especially when paired with religion ); can be a very manipulative; dangerous; toxic; and deadly influence on people. ( Although extreme; " Genocide " is a term that seems to have a connection in this frame of reference. ) It would be interesting to know just how many wars and conflicts have started right from this point. ( Many of them as we speak. ) :roll:

The main point for me now is I try to look at this as a ( component ) of a much larger overall process of the search for who I was; or to put it another way metaphorically speaking; ( one aspect of the individual hero's journey, search, or quest to find themselves ). Again; each person's path is different; but for me it is in the process of the search itself that this particular aspect of culture can be so special, unique, informative, and helpful; ( in the proper perspective :wink: ).

This particular area of focus I think resonates well with the topic of this thread. The examining of the individual's " personal mindset " is one way of how we all understand our place in relation to the larger society as a whole. The technology of modern life is rapidly changing much of humanity's perception of the world; thereby affecting the way we connect; whether by the internet, bio-technology, space exploration, or any of the other multitude of facets or dynamics involved. Navigating through the laybrinth or maze of complexity that a modern individual is constantly faced with in having to consider their role; their identity; and most important: ( to find meaning ); is a task requiring all their mental and emotional resources available at their command. And this is why; ( IMHO ); Joseph Campbell's themes are so important. ( To put it another way: it gives you a compass by providing a sense direction. ) And in so doing inspires you to find and decide for yourself what the things are that you will need that will aid you in your own individual " voyage of discovery "; instead of the resignation of being defined by the " societal order and conditions " out of which you make your life. " Suffering " may be part of the journey; but that journey has a purpose and a destination and a meaning for each individual. ( The trick it seems to me that is implied from Joseph Campbell's work is in " identifying " what that definition and meaning is to you ); and keeping a sense of balance and engagement at the same time. :idea:

I think in the end for most of us here; this is where the real struggle resides; ( I know it is for me. :!: ). And as we all " soldier on "; I certainly wish you good luck and good fortune in your next steps. :)

Cheers
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:04 pm

Culture is nicely complicated in our "melting pot" of a country, and some of the tendency toward hierarchy in a meritocratic republic can set us all on a path to competitive wrangling amongst ourselves. Those who remember and identify with only one home country are lucky. Mutts like me are surrounded on all sides by a variety of cultures. It can be a source of real confusion. Because most of my family is descended from folks who arrived in this area well over 400 years ago, we're still using a Spanish language spoken in the 1500's! I joke with you not. Some of our current law is a reflection of 16th century ideas that, by the way, turn out to be useful to this day.

The hero's journey for a Mexican Indian with no knowledge of any specific culture is never ever going to be comparable to the guy whose family just arrived in the states from a country steeped in a whole host of Mexican Indian cultures. I know America a little differently, and my expectations are a bit skewed, for good or ill.

I am especially fascinated by the southern families on account of their relationship to the northern and midwestern regions of the U.S. Like so many of our countrymen, we have to learn to find our own role in all the hodgepodge of influences that "come rapping on our chamber door". Thank you for your candid analysis of how regional influences affect our own personal journey. There is a search quest and a quest for definition or identity or a place to feel free and whole.

I am struggling for a freedom that eludes me. The closest I ever get is the transcendence that occurs in the process of learning and envisioning. I get so caught up in the process, I forget the family, the culture, the nation and the world. I have a life that is soulful and feels entirely untethered. Then, I am as I am, and I am wanting for nothing.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Feb 27, 2013 11:08 pm

P.S. Special thanks for such a thoughtful response.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by JamesN. » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:29 am

Carmela said:
The closest I ever get is the transcendence that occurs in the process of learning and envisioning. I get so caught up in the process, I forget the family, the culture, the nation and the world. I have a life that is soulful and feels entirely untethered. Then, I am as I am, and I am wanting for nothing.
This reminds me of something Joseph Campbell said: " The priviledge of a lifetime is being who you are "; ( I think part of the journey indeed is finding that light or seed that is inside each of us and bringing it forth ). Not only in the discovery of identity; but in it's implimentation and fulfillment in the experience of living itself.

I think one of the things that seems to get in the way for many of us understanding this are many of the intense projections from the society we live in and of those around us. Achievement or fame defined as " success " for instance may become more important as a vehicle for accomplishment than for the actual raising of your own consciousness to meet your " inner life's quest ". One of the questions that usually comes into play might be something along the line of: " What do you want to " be " when you grow up? ". Then there is: " What nationality are you? "; " What religion are you? "; Are you a conservative or a liberal? "; and it just goes on from there. But " Who am I ? "; addresses this issue from a different psychological perspective. Also another even more subtle dimension that affects this inner drive of ( answer seeking ) has to do with the particular stage of life that your are in and what it's requirements might be. ( Now for later life the question might be something like: " Why did I pursue this? "; " Is that all there is? "; " What do I do now? "; " What did I accomplish? "; " Is this who I really am? " )

In the earlier stages one might be looking for something like a career as a " vehicle " to address whatever the " inner needs " seem to call for. The later questions may be asked to address the issues of assimilation as to the ( why ) and it's relationship to meaning. ( Then there is the subject of having children which raises a whole other dimension. )

Life stages, processes, and the " psyche " are something that Cindy would be better able to quailify further here. But as for me at this particular point or phase relating to my life; her suggestion of the term " Chrysalis " as a symbol or metphorical approach concerning individuation has helped me enormously in understanding not only much of my past; but in reconfiguring what I want to think about my future. Joseph Campbell really had a handle on these dilemmas that we all face and how to look at them in an accessible, understandable way. Not only in a realistic sense; but from a deep mythological; ( connect the dots ); kind of comprehesion. For the real point in much of this chaos concerning the human condition that gets lost I think is as he stated: " To straighten out our own lives ". And perhaps in doing that we discover some sense of the " mystery " upon which we all are riding.

I know speaking for myself that it can all become so very frustarating at times; but then if there were no rainshowers, storms, or " nightsea journeys "; how would I know or appreciate the earth with all it's wonder, and the sun, the moon, and the stars. ( And of course all the good folks here at the JCF. :wink: )

A little ragged in my response here; but hopefully it compliments your thoughts.

Cheers :)
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
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Post by CarmelaBear » Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:23 am

Read your words while watching a movie. The love song from the soundtrack sounded like a lot of my self talk. I'm the first and second person.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IA_ubhYgjAc
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by JamesN. » Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:29 pm

Carmela;

I was very moved by this song you shared. I thought that I should wait until I had seen the movie before I responded. What I was not to know was that it would launch me on a fascinating journey or quest to discover what it had touched inside and it's relevance to various themes I had been exploring. I have discribed some of this adventure on another thread here:

http://www.jcf.org/new/forum/viewtopic. ... &start=150

This is a lovely example of how we each may become vehicles or agents for others in the discovery process of how Joseph Campbell's work can be of benefit to one's life here on these forums; and how a " changing of mindset " can result from this kind of sharing. My most humble of thanks to you for the gift of this experience. :idea:
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
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Post by CarmelaBear » Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:34 pm

JamesN. wrote:Very thoughtful and beautifully expressed Carmela! :)
James, never get tired of noticing, okay? I agree with you, BTW, but I can't admit it, because people will think I'm full of myself, conceited and egotistical. Let's just keep this between us, on the QT, etc. :wink:
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by gum drop » Sun Apr 28, 2013 9:22 pm

What do you think of Joe C. saying even a squirrel can take care of itself?

Who would he be if he had children, and his views?

How did he pay for college?
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Post by JamesN. » Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:01 am

Hello Gumdrop and welcome.

Here is a biography on Joseph Campbell you can order through the bookstore on Amazon. ( This way the JCF foundation gets some much needed revenue. ) It is quite thorough and will give much insight into his life. ( On sale also. I should pick up a copy myself. ) :wink: Go here:

http://www.jcf.org/new/index.php?categoryid=123

On the panel to the right click on the catagory: " About Joseph Campbell "

Cheers

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Joseph Campbell: A Fire in the Mind
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The fascinating biography that illuminates the man whose work changed modern culture

• Gives a complete biographical view of Campbell's life and a personal perspective of who he was through the voices of his friends and colleagues

• Written by two of Campbell's preeminent students with exclusive access to his notes and journals

Joseph Campbell forged an approach to the study of myth and legend that made ancient traditions and beliefs immediate, relevant, and universal. His teachings and literary works, including The Masks of God, have shown that beneath the apparent themes of world mythology lie patterns that reveal the ways in which we all may encounter the great mysteries of existence: birth, growth, soul development, and death. Biographers Stephen and Robin Larsen, students and friends of Campbell for more than 20 years, weave a rich tapestry of stories and insights that catalogue both his personal and public triumphs.


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Amazon Sales Rank: #670375 in Books
Published on: 2002-04-30
Released on: 2002-04-01
Original language: English
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Binding: Paperback
688 pages
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
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