What do You Lose When You Lose Your Myth

Do you have a conversation topic that doesn't seem to fit any of the other conversations? Here is where we discuss ANYTHING about Joseph Campbell, comparative mythology, and more!

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Post by wags » Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:29 pm

hello cellophaneflowers,

sounds like you are stepping in the direction your soul is needing. there is nothing like following your own beliefs found out through sound judgments of your experiences!!!

as a step.....
may peace preceed your every step, wags
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Post by noman » Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:50 am

I cannot help but wonder what I lost when I lost my beliefs, when I lost my myth.

- Sladeb

* * * * * * *

It's been my experience that you can bury your religion but not your myth. Never. You are it, and it is you. The myth is ingrained somewhere deep down, much deeper than conscious thought and even subconscious images. It is where the conscious and subconscious originate.

- Nandu

* * * * * * *

When my myths failed me it took some time of exploration and tragedy for me to find a way to replace them. At present I'm into Zen. Not Buddhism, just experiential Zen, along with an eclectic set of myths I've drawn from here and there.

- Satoriswings

* * * * * * *

I do not believe the myth is lost. Neither do I believe it is the only valid myth. Our perceptions of this Divine Force differ with our experiences. Underneath all these myths lies the same archetypal power. That is what we all respond to at Christmas, as well as at other times, in other myths and practices.


* * * * * * *

…if myth is lost it’s not the myth that is gone but our ability to relate to it…How does one navigate in life without having a compass…?

- Evinnra

* * * * * * *

Campbell remarks often on the need to bring the myth forward, to allow it to breathe in our own times so we can relate, through our actual experience of it, rather than attempting to shape ourselves to suit something that cannot sing in our age.

- Vissi

* * * * * * *

Maybe we need to lose our myth, in order to find our myth.

…there was a time, as I struggled past the constraints of the fundamentalist cult in which I was raised, that it felt like I was losing something important - like I was losing my myth. The years after leaving the confines of the Church were years of inner turmoil and outer catastrophe for me, as I felt lost and had no firm ground on which to stand.

I haven't lost my myth - I've found it - so I'm free to celebrate it in any of its multiple manifestations.

I enjoying playing with, honoring, worshipping, celebrating, and putting on and off the many Masks of God

- Bodhi

* * * * * * *
“They thought it would be a disgrace to go forth as a group. Each entered the forest at a point that he himself had chosen, where it was darkest and where there was no way no path.”

- La Queste del San Graal
- pulsarzen

* * * * * * *

I picture a vast expanse, dotted with big cardboard boxes. Each box is a religion. …I can climb in and out of boxes at will whenever I want. And this isn’t emptiness out here. There are others out here with me. I thought it was empty, but it’s really just big.

- JadeBuddha

* * * * * * *

I'm glad I left the Mythology I was reared in, because that gave me the opportunity to truly find Mythology

Hello All,

and welcome Pulsarzen, CellophaneFlowers. JadeBuddha, and Davidh,

it’s always nice to hear new voices.

I hope ya’ll don’t mind my hacking up and piecing your words together like this. It’s my way of getting a handle on the theme of the thread. I agree with everyone here. I compare the concerted answer to Sladeb’s question to Mathew 10:39:
"He who finds his life shall lose it. And he who loses his life for My sake shall find it."

- Matthew 10:39

Restated to express the modern zeitgeist:

“She who holds fast to her myth shall lose it. And she who loses her myth, for the sake of the grail quest and philosophy of Joseph Campbell, shall find it.”

The concerted answer, as I interpret it, is nothing less than the definition of our shared mythology. One can look back to something obsolete or forward to the anticipated, but not yet formed great new mythology. But when one looks at our mythology – here and now – I see it in the answers given in this thread.

I try to be concise with my quotes but I couldn’t bear to reduce any further what sociologist Peter L. Berger wrote in 1963. It expresses so well the myth/rite of our time:
P50 In view of this overall fluidity of world views in modern society it should not surprise us that our age has been characterized as one of conversion. Nor should it be surprising that intellectuals especially have been prone to change their world views radically and with amazing frequency. …Psychoanalysis, in all its forms, can be understood as an institutionalized mechanism of conversion, in which the individual changes not only his view of himself but of the world in general.

The popularity of a multitude of new cults and creeds, presented in different degrees of intellectual refinement depending upon the educational level of their clientele, is another manifestation of this proneness to conversion of our contemporaries. It almost seems as if modern man, and especially modern educated man, is in a perpetual state of doubt about the nature of himself and of the universe in which he lives. In other words, the awareness of relativity, which probably in all ages of history has been the possession of a small group of intellectuals, today appears as a broad cultural fact reaching far down into the lower reaches of the social system.

P60 American society having been one of high mobility for quite some time, many Americans seemingly spend years of their life reinterpreting their own background, retelling over and over again (to themselves and to others) the story of what they have been and what they have become and in this process killing their parents in a sacrificial ritual of the mind. …It is no wonder, incidentally, that the Freudian mythology of parricide has found ready credence in American society and especially in those recently middle-class segments of it to whom such rewriting of biographies is a social necessity of legitimating one’s hard-won status.

P63 The experience of conversion to a meaning system that is capable of ordering the scattered data of one’s biography is liberating and profoundly satisfying. Perhaps this has its roots in a deep human need for order, purpose and intelligibility. However, the dawning recognition that this or any other conversion is not necessarily final, that one could be reconverted and re-reconverted, is one of the most terrifying ideas the mind can have. The experience of what we have called ”alternation” (which is precisely the perception of oneself in front of an infinite series of mirrors, each one transforming one’s image in a different potential conversion) leads to a feeling of vertigo, a metaphysical agoraphobia before the endlessly overlapping horizons of one’s possible being.

It would be most gratifying if we could now produce sociology as the magic pill that can be swallowed so that all these horizons promptly fall into place. If we did that, we would simply be adding one more mythology to all the others that promise relief from the epistemological anxieties of the “alternation” sickness. The sociologist, qua sociologist, cannot offer any such salvation. He is just like any other man in that he must exist in a situation where information about the ultimate meaning of things is sparse, often clearly spurious and probably never overwhelming. He has no epistemological miracles for sale. Indeed, the sociological frame of reference is but another system of interpretation that can be applied to existence and that can be superseded again in other attempts at biographical hermeneutics.

Invitation to Sociology, Peter L. Berger, 1963
Like it or not, this is the ‘mythology’, if you can call it a mythology, that we are stuck with – finding contentment in climbing in and out of boxes as JadeBuddha puts it, and in sharing that experience with others, every now and then being lured into a false sense of security that we have a mythology. So one can be a Zen Buddhist today, an Islamic fundy tomorrow, the next day strictly into Jungian psychology, and then Neopaganism, and then Scientology, and on and on and on…

Life is good.

- NoMan
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Post by davidh » Sat Feb 09, 2008 4:00 am

I posted this in the favorite poem section and thought of this group. I think it is a beautiful poem with much to say about the present subject. Enjoy!

The Long Meadow

Near the end of one of the old poems, the son of righteousness,
the source of virtue and civility,
on whose back the kingdom is carried
as on the back of the tortoise the earth is carried,
passes into the next world.
The wood is dark. The wood is dark,
and on the other side of the wood the sea is shallow, warm, endless.
In and around it, there is no threat of life—
so little is the atmosphere charged with possibility that
he might as well be wading through a flooded basement.
He wades for what seems like forever,
and never stops to rest in the shade of the metal rain trees
springing out of the water at fixed intervals.
Time, though endless, is also short,
so he wades on, until he walks out of the sea and into the mountains,
where he burns on the windward slopes and freezes in the valleys.
After unendurable struggles,
he finally arrives at the celestial realm.
The god waits there for him. The god invites him to enter.
But, looking through the glowing portal,
he sees on that happy plain not those he thinks wait eagerly for him—
his beloved, his brothers, his companions in war and exile,
all long since dead and gone—
but, sitting pretty and enjoying the gorgeous sunset,
his cousin and bitter enemy, the cause of that war, that exile,
whose arrogance and viscious indolence
plunged the world into grief.
The god informs him that, yes, those he loved have been carried down
the river of fire. Their thirst for justice
offended the cosmic powers, who are jealous of justice.
in their place in the celestial realm, called Alaukika in the ancient texts,
the breaker of faith is now glorified.
He, at least, acted in keeping with his nature.
Who has not felt a little of the despair the son of righteousness now feels,
staring wildly around him?
The god watches, not without compassion and a certain wonder.
This is the final illusion,
the one to which all the others lead.
He has to pierce through it himself, without divine assistance.
He will take a long time about it,
with only his dog to keep him company,
the mongrel dog, celebrated down the millennia,
who has waded with him,
shivered and burned with him,
and never abandoned him to his loneliness.
That dog bears a slight resemblance to my dog,
a skinny, restless, needy, overprotective mutt,
who was rescued from a crack house by Suzanne.
On weekends, and when I can shake free during the week,
I take her to the Long Meadow, in Prospect Park, where dogs
are allowed off the leash in the early morning.
She’s gray-muzzled and old now, but you can’t tell that by the way she runs.

Copyright 2004 by Vijay Seshadri. All rights reserved.
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Post by boringguy » Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:29 am

Hi all,

Hope you won't mind if I back up a bit here.


I'm not studied on the advent of satan in religion and am only an arm chair philosopher, in the respect that it helps with my own understanding, but can give you my thoughts from there as to your questions.
If God is indeed a God of love, infinite love, capable of forgiveness of all our personal foibles, sins, and transgressions, why is God not capable of making an infinite and eternal rapprochement with His/Her own shadowed, temporal emanation in the form of the character of Lucifer/Satan/Iblis/Shaitan?

Now I realize this is putting God into the box of christianity, but thats the question right?

So first, I can see God, as to the answer of the why of existence (creator) and also in existence itself (player). As in this existence isn't aside from God, but of God. Still with me?

Ok, so if I were going to make a game of my own concoction, and also immerse myself in the game itself, I would want to establish the rules, guidelines, bounderies, into the game so as not to have to constantly do that as the game progresses. Otherwise the game has no freedom of potential, and such a game, it seems would be very uninteresting to me as the creator and the player.

Think of, say Monopoly. Very simplistic compared to existence as we know it, which I will lump under the term Nature, but the idea is the same. The game has potential to flow and meander and change, within and because of the rules of the game, just as existence does within the parameters of Nature. And so it seems to me that satan, ego, shadow, ect. are part of the game that creates its potencial to flow,progress, to be dynamic within the parameters, otherwise, again, the game is not very interesting, right?

So I'm agreeing with AJ I think.
As long as we have a Shadow personality, God will have one as well??
It's a key part of the game.

Or maybe another way of looking at it might be that, if a hallmark of Love is giving opportunity, freedom of choice, then why would a loving God take that away? And then also in doing so, creating certainty, doesn't that also take away Faith and Hope? So severly limiting Faith, Hope, and Love wouldn't leave much room to be Christ-like IMO.

Secondly, is the martyrdom of Jesus truly the central point of Christianity that one should focus upon? Is martyrdom a noble sacrifice and why does God who forbides Abraham's sacrafice of Isaac, require Jesus's death?
First I have to establish martyrdom to me as, sacrafice for what one believes. Is that noble? I think it can be. One of many of Jesus's messages, but an important one IMO.

Secondly, if Abrahams willingness to sacrafice Isaac is a story of faith, of willingness to move ahead without certainty, then it's Abraham's willingness not Isaac's death that is the point all along. However if the purpose of the life of Jesus is to teach how to be Christ-like, the the symbolism of death as martyrdom and resurrection as rebirth, are necessary I think, again as AJ states, for the sake of the players of the game. All this of course in my own version of Christianity at the moment.

...whether the personal examination of a myth vivifies or eviscerates belief?
This makes me think back to the DiVinci Code when the Robert Langdon charactor askes whether a living descendent of Jesus would destroy faith or renew it? And I have to agree when he said " depends on what you believe".

I think, as Campbell claimed to have found among his students, that most people, given permission (understanding of the symbolism) could begin to see truth no matter which angle (religion) they come at it from. A key I believe is then to understand that work as an individual responsibility which can not be given away. And so that "personal examination" ? I find it a necessity rather than a luxury.

And yes I realize of course thats a bit like "preaching to the choir" here. :)