General Crosstalk - A Spot for the Odd Comment

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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JamesN.
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Post by JamesN. » Tue Jun 28, 2016 3:12 pm

Ron:
So what should we old ones do?
(I originally had misgivings about posting this reply but from Ron's question perhaps it may have something to offer after all; so I have reworded some of the text to broaden it out for this issue is one of Joseph's most important concern's.):

For anyone facing such later life issues concerning Ron's question it might do well to consider the perspective and outlook changes within the aging process one may be experiencing now. (And you are not alone here; especially when you consider how many "Baby Boomers" are now in process and will continue to be for quite some time to come.) This concerns one of Joseph's points of insight that he shared; (particular in referring to Carl Jung). Fortunately there is quite a bit of information relating to the stage of life perspectives that he focused on throughout his work. This problem for most of us is that the mental and emotional dimensional changes often times take us by surprise and it takes awhile for the adjustments to fully take hold. It's not all just about the body wearing down; but much of our emotional baggage as it were; as well as much of our "undeveloped" potential starts to surface and demands attention and needs to be integrated within the rest of our already overcrowded and somewhat confused mental outlook. In other words this new focus is not concerned with looking back at landscapes outside but turning inward to meet ourselves and what within us is asking to be addressed. (This adjustment stage is part of the "new" journey we are called to address; and it is just as challenging as the other life stages; only the issues begin to change.) Instead of finding out what you want to do in life and making some sort of a career or life direction or raising a family; we now must turn our attention to other matters of concern like retirement for instance. But what is that? Does life just stop and end there? (Of course not!) One of the most important aspects is the assimilation of our life experiences and the "finding of meaning" that demands not only the past reflections; but the demand for "new growth" as well. If you only see loss you will deny yourself the possibility of a new life which can potentially be the best part; but you have to be willing to change to meet it's demands for it is nothing less than the later life quest or call to adventure of the next stage of your own individual journey.

Yes the "evening news" is full of depressing and frustrating issues that we all have to deal with; but "your life" is about what "you" determine it is to be and not what is going on out there in the world at this stage. Not only what is going on inside you but how and what you are going to do to meet the call of these new horizons and requirements. (I might also suggest it is not a simply a matter of taking some classes or living a healthier lifestyle; but inside of you there are going to be issues and concerns that demand to be heard and addressed and it is the working through them that much of this new growth is going to take place. And much of this is what Joseph refers to concerning Jung's: "Individuation" process.)


As an aside for anyone unfamiliar with Carl Jung I would strongly encourage spending a some time looking at the "Jung in the Weeds" thread here on the forums that Cindy so painstakingly put together since so much of Joseph's work is so deeply influenced by his ideas; but that of course is up to you. I can only say that in my case so much of this material truly has been life changing in helping me to make some of these adjustments in my own life and the effects have truely been profound. Going through it takes time and hard work; but anything of real worth usually does. We all have our own paths to follow and this is what has been helping me; and I'm sure I'll be dealing with many of these themes for a long time to come. There is more of course concerning Jung's themes and I offer these only as my own particular thoughts and suggestions so I will stop here for the moment and say no more for the now.


(To sum things up I'll add a few short clips from the JCF YouTube channel I mentioned from a few posts earlier as references to a small portion to what I have been describing. The link of course contains many many more of these clips which cover a great deal more of Joseph's vast landscape of scholarship.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWICd_ZD9MI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKbOY5yg8-A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJu5oWThHx8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WP_Sp11dYgE


Namaste
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
Roncooper
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Post by Roncooper » Thu Jun 30, 2016 2:14 pm

James,

Thank you for the links. I lived the third talk. That is exactly what drove my image of a new myth. Honoring all the functions of the psyche as equal.Not honoring intellect over emotion, etc.

I also found another talk that explains a point I was trying to make about being driven by transcendent values. I will post it in he transcendence thread.

Thank you again for the insights.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
JamesN.
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Post by JamesN. » Thu Jun 30, 2016 5:33 pm

Ron I'm glad if that was helpful. I really like the Abrahamn Maslow clip you quoted and Joseph refers to this value system in "Pathways to Bliss" as a major tenet in determining what one's own (personal myth) is and what they live for.

On page 88 he asked several questions: (" You might ask your self this question: if I were confronted with a situation of total disaster, if everything I loved and thought I lived for were devastated, what would I live for? If I came home and found my wife murdered, my house burned up, or all my career wiped out by some disaster or another, what would sustain me?.....What would lead me to know that I could go on living and not just crack up and quit?....Now what do you have in your life that would play this role for you? What is the great thing for which you would sacrifice your life? What makes you do what you do; what is the call of your life to you - do you know it?)

He then goes on into Maslow's 5 values that is covered in the clip you shared which are: "survival, security, personal relationships, prestige, and self-development" where he says it occurred to him that these are exactly the kinds of values that a mythically inspired life (does not) live for because this is where myth transcends this range of human experience. He then goes on from there to repeat much of what is in the clip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2orzew5j4QY

At the risk of repeating myself; I love using the JCF YouTube Channel which is a great resource for accessing many of these insights that can be referenced at will:


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtsNRw ... m6w/videos
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Tue Jul 05, 2016 9:09 pm

Roncooper wrote:Carmela wrote,
Have been reading about repressive governments that censor and punish political speech and dissent. Maybe, we have that sort of Orwellian regime internalized. Not sure.

Maybe this forum is like us...old.

Don't know.
Why do you single out political speech? It seems to me communication of any kind is difficult. I don't paint it in some sinister way. It is just a reflection on the state of the human race at this point in evolution. I hope for a brighter future even though I won't be here to see it.

So what are we old ones to do? I am too old to hold up a banner, and besides I did that many years ago. Spent time in jail and all that.

When I came to this site I thought we could create the new mythology that is so badly needed, but that go shot down.

So what should we old ones do?
Repressive governments are an example of socially dysfunctional violence, and political speech is a particular class of speech that such governments often single out (e.g., the assassination of Anwar aL-Awlaki and his teenage son). When governments were inseparable from imposed and taxed religious practice, politics and myth were all of one piece. People were executed by the thousands for expressing any contrarian idea. Now, in the U.S., incarceration and political ostracism is what we mete out to certain status groups (the poor, the young, and the dark males). Speech is just one thing the most violent societies single out, but it sticks out, because speech terrifies people who hold power.

Creating a new myth carries a twist. Serious myths do not start out as metaphors. That is what we call somebody else's outdated and inaccurate beliefs...someone else's religion. As a card-carrying Unitarian Universalist, I can attest to the fact that liberal religious belief can be a search for truth rather than a set dogma or creed. An individual's truth is the result of what one can claim to know for sure and believe to be likely and hope may be true. UU's accept much of what scientists agree is most probably true. If science has led us down the primrose path, then some day our current beliefs will be called "myths"--and not before. Our history and science may some day be superseded by a more accurate view of the universe and our human experience. Then, it will be called mythology.

Now, it is our story and we are sticking to it. They used to count the lights in the sky and give them names. Now, we count genes and quarks and describe them as if they were characters in a drama. That's the new "mythology". In the liberal religious tradition, the idea of the soul is as artistic and individual as snow flakes, and the common elements of that concept constitutes a kind of metaphor that is as much a myth as the notion of being born into the chosen tribe of the one and only G-d or the idea of an afterlife or a last judgment or the divine right of kings.

We call the grey cells "the brain" when it sits in a jar of formaldehyde, and while we are alive, it does not feel like what we know it must be. Our senses filter our experience, and that means we are aware of what we call "self". That awareness is shallow and fragile. Our current descriptions of self, with relatively new words like "ego" and "abnormal" are myths that are obviously metaphors for what we are only beginning to comprehend. We treat our current version of the universe as factual, but there is close to a 100% chance it will be thrown over for greater detail and nuance. Then, the old story will be called "myth".

Myth is one step removed from history and science and philosophy, etc. It is the created version that goes unquestioned and explains things for which there is no direct access. We can assign numbers to many things we will never understand, and those numbers are doorways to the mythology or metaphor or the artistic version of that experience.

We experience consciousness, time and space. There are scientific descriptions of all these things that we agree are true, and yet, they remain mysterious. The science is the metaphor, the symbol, the current story, the myth. The names change, and the unknowable elements are as strange today as they ever were. Gods are not necessary for myth, but mystery is absolutely central. Explaining and naming what we experience, but do not understand, is how we locate myth among the thorny brambles of human knowledge.

Here's part of the cosmic connection of today's accepted science:

"Human beings are made of star dust."

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Tue Jul 05, 2016 10:13 pm

JamesN. wrote:Ron:
So what should we old ones do?
(I originally had misgivings about posting this reply but from Ron's question perhaps it may have something to offer after all; so I have reworded some of the text to broaden it out for this issue is one of Joseph's most important concern's.):

…For anyone facing such later life issues concerning Ron's question it might do well to consider the perspective and outlook changes...Instead of finding out what you want to do in life and making som must turn our attention to other matters of concern like retirement for instance. But what is that? Does life just stop and end there? (Of course not!) One of the most important aspects is the assimilation of our life experiences and the "finding of meaning" that demands not only the past reflections; but the demand for "new growth" as well. If you only see loss you will deny yourself the possibility of a new life which can potentially be the best part; but you have to be willing to change to meet it's demands for it is nothing less than the later life quest or call to adventure of the next stage of your own individual journey.

Namaste
Sociology teaches that every individual journey has a social context. Right now, the most dangerous nation on the planet is a singular military power that creates its own global law (assigning its own executive the exclusive right to kill anyone anywhere), and men are in charge of the social environment (a symbolic female leader will have little effect on that). The alliance of science, military might and the mythology of power and wealth and success or effectiveness conspires against the health and well-being of humanity, nature and the individual.

Our personal adjustments are funneled by the social context. Females, dark people, the poor, the disabled....anyone with multiple life challenges....are the first to be overstressed and will be the first to suffer, to die and to be left to their own devices. Women live longer than men, and this may be due to our relative lack of power. Hispanics with strong social networks live longer than other ethnic groups.

Some social goals (like power and money) are not conducive to better health and happiness. If I enjoy a blissful, healthy life, (and I do), it is partly due to not being able to fulfill liberal ambitions to participate more fully in the financial and political aspects of my society. The irony is not lost on me.

Understanding the societal context makes us accept the otherwise unacceptable, because societal conditions appear to be too big to influence. Right now, mommy Hillary and daddy Donald are fighting. The children are powerless to find another set of parents and scared of having to choose between them. Many of us wish we could call the authorities and report abuse and neglect.

The inner journey is partly about hating how we are feeling like kids in an awful family after having spent most of our lives trying to become grownups.

~
Last edited by CarmelaBear on Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:34 am, edited 3 times in total.
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
JamesN.
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Post by JamesN. » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:28 am

Carmela:
Sociology teaches that every individual journey has a social context. Right now, the most dangerous nation on the planet is a singular military power that creates its own global law (assigning its own executive the exclusive right to kill anyone anywhere), and men are in charge of the social environment (a symbolic female leader will have little effect on that). The alliance of science, military might and the mythology of power and wealth and success or effectiveness conspires against the health and well-being of humanity, nature and the individual.

Our personal adjustments are funneled by the social context. Females, dark people, the poor, the disabled....anyone with multiple life challenges....are the first to be overstressed and will be the first to suffer, to die and to be left to our own devices.

Understanding the societal context makes us accept the otherwise unacceptable, because it looks too big to influence. Right now, mommy Hillary and daddy Donald are fighting. The children are powerless to find another set of parents and scared of having to choose between them. Many of us wish we could call the authorities and report abuse and neglect.

The inner journey is partly about hating how we are feeling like kids in an awful family after having spent most of our lives trying to become grownups.


Carmela this is all I know to suggest in response to your post.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Qw-NOdGQxk
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
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Post by Roncooper » Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:57 am

Carmela.

I was trying to determine which of Dante's circles of Hell you were describing and I decided it was the 4th level, greed. All I can say is that reality is both much better and much worse that that level.

I was reminded of a song from my youth and thought it was a fitting tribute.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4irXQhgMqg
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:40 am

I revisited my post and made changes before noticing your replies. Do my edits make any difference?

:?
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:46 am

Roncooper wrote:Carmela.

I was trying to determine which of Dante's circles of Hell you were describing and I decided it was the 4th level, greed. All I can say is that reality is both much better and much worse that that level.

I was reminded of a song from my youth and thought it was a fitting tribute.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4irXQhgMqg
I listened to the song again, and you're right. It's a good fit. The singular reality of my life experience complicated the picture to no end, and in so many ways, painted it black. In this case the color represents both the awful sadness of particular events and the terrible reality of a people caught in associations with what is negative and evil. It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:50 am

JamesN. wrote: Carmela this is all I know to suggest in response to your post.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Qw-NOdGQxk
I listened to the lecture once, and I will have to go back to figure out how it applies. I'm sure it does, and it may be a message that needs more listening.

Thank you, James. Your lecture links are amazingly helpful.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by JamesN. » Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:39 pm

Carmela no one can tell another how to live or what they should live for; but Joseph's point is that within each person there is something that speaks to them and the task is to find what that special something is. Most people have a religion or spiritual system that serves this purpose but Joseph also points out that for many organized religion just doesn't work; but that does not mean there is not value in these various doctrines; just not for those in this particular case. Realizing one's own "Personal Myth"; finding and recognizing it; knowing what it is saying and it's relevance is the understanding that he is trying to illuminate here and this link delves even further into this issue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cM8T9vL_nQ

I hope this helps. :)
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Post by Roncooper » Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:29 pm

James.

That was a great talk. I must go but more later.
If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. -Isaac Newton
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Post by JamesN. » Wed Jul 06, 2016 3:52 pm

Roncooper wrote:James.

That was a great talk. I must go but more later.
Glad if it was helpful Ron. Speaking for myself this point has been a tremendous aid in sorting through a lot of the confusion in my life; (and still continues to be).

Incidentally in the book: "Pathways To Bliss"; the understanding of (Personal Myth) is covered with a full chapter in great detail along with the "Hero's Journey". (Very highly recommended.)
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Post by CarmelaBear » Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:40 pm

JamesN. wrote:Carmela no one can tell another how to live or what they should live for; but Joseph's point is that within each person there is something that speaks to them and the task is to find what that special something is. Most people have a religion or spiritual system that serves this purpose but Joseph also points out that for many organized religion just doesn't work; but that does not mean there is not value in these various doctrines; just not for those in this particular case. Realizing one's own "Personal Myth"; finding and recognizing it; knowing what it is saying and it's relevance is the understanding that he is trying to illuminate here and this link delves even further into this issue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cM8T9vL_nQ

I hope this helps. :)
I was born into the Catholic religion and although I identify myself as Unitarian Universalist, I no longer participate or stay in touch with the my adopted religion, because neither the people nor the shared rituals can sustain me (with occasional exceptions). I rely heavily on this forum and a few people for everyday conversation, and much of my life consists of maintaining an interdependent urban life that is under some pressure, but makes room for the slower pace of aging.

The mythology of childhood was spelled out for me, and in my enthusiasm for it, I was too fanatical for my own good. In my early teens, I began to learn more about the dogma and by the time of high school graduation, I rejected much of the church's teachings. Though the UU religion and the writings of Campbell have been helpful, I am at a stage in life where I am not sure whether the things that feel most important have any relation to the reality of my life. If I care about the welfare of society, it is not clear that anything I can do would make enough difference to be worth my attention. If I care about my own welfare, it is not at all clear that I can cope with oppressive stressors well enough to make significant progress toward my personal goals (beyond the minimum required to maintain health and happiness). Fulfillment, realization, ambition and creating a legacy or making my mark seem difficult, if not impossible to identify...never mind achieve.

As a law student and a lawyer, my primary personal relationship was with my Dad. He was well-educated, intelligent and informed, but he was influenced by some very conservative religious mythology and populist Republican ideology that was not helpful to me. Our conflicting loyalties made our communications complicated by a trusting, but emotional atmosphere of mutual challenge. It was never boring, and when he died, I was lost for a long time.

A similarly challenging relationship existed between me.and my former patient, although the issues were radically different. Again, as I moved on from caregiving, I began to struggle just to figure out how to proceed. The easy path is stultifying boring to an extreme. This is the path that garners the most support from those upon whom I have come to rely for moral support. It leaves me feeling alienated, isolated and disappointed. I'm not doing the easy stuff with any enthusiasm and the hard stuff requires me to find new resources that may exist, but may not be in reach. I worry that my personal myth may turn out to be the fantasy of an eccentric rather than a realistic and exciting prospect. Furthermore, I am not sure that the relationships society rewards are ones that meet my needs. It puts me at odds with the social environment, and it can feel like I am fighting a losing battle.

My important relationships are very few and ruled by respectful boundaries. For example, I have developed an emotional attraction for a man, (which has proven to be impossible to shake off or dismiss), but I am unable to overcome a fear of testing the possibilities for relating as acquaintances, (never mind friends). The internet is how my words pour out of me like waterfalls, and for some reason, it's okay. He is respectful and dignified. I am not sure that we will ever get past just wanting to observe from a safe distance. Our mutual contact is only in one location, at a restaurant. Communication is almost Victorian. Eye contact and proximity and bridge-building is like a dance. The unspoken rules reign supreme. It is formal and slow, and oddly, remarkably sensible. Age has changed the way we act.

If there is such a thing as a cool crush...safe and intriguing and motivating...this is it. I'm the verbal one, and he's the more real, more practical, more grounded one. I have dreams that he would not even dare to imagine starting to dream, and he's got a life that appears to be more secure and predictable. We are both enjoying the benefits of being on the fringes of elite status. It's not hard to imagine that we are emotionally attracted, but we are under tremendous pressure to be cautious.

It's privately public. The possibility of simply making eye contact and saying "hi" is actually an emotional hurdle, but being in the same room at our favorite restaurant is easy and it involves this weird chess game of musical chairs and surprise guests and awkward moments punctuated by passive aggressive retreat. It is mediated by those around us, and our relationships with "third parties" are different. I think the novelists would call this love, but fiction has a way of ending badly even when things work out. "Happily ever after" is supposed to start with the more realistic words, "til death us do part". The best case leads not only to a final separation through actual death, but the possible end of a relationship that is usually too risky for words.

It is hard to see an upside to our becoming friends or lovers or marital partners or anything beyond two respectful people who find ourselves compelled to be fascinated at a safe distance. There is something to be said for just living in the other's orbit. It's gone on for a long time and it could continue as long as we both keep showing up, which we invariably do.

As an archetypal relationship, my crush on one man describes how I feel about the personal myth of interchangeable status. Men and women live in a kind of orbit, going around the earthbound ideas of inclusion and recognition, equality and acceptance. The ideal would be creating something so unique that it is in a class by itself and acknowledged by everyone, without question. It only settles down into permanence when it is determined who is playing the dominant role. Where there are two, there is a first and a second. It's the math myth! It can be denied vehemently, but it exists. One as part of a twosome is ultimately either dominant or subordinate, and that's where all the tension resides.


My personal myth is tangled up in archetypes, and relationships are at the core of the human archetypes. As individuals, we have to live with some degree of trust, and then, we have to balance that trust with a healthy respect for what we can reasonably expect or fear. I expect that if I keep most of what I have now, I can be safe, and my personal history dictates that safety can never be taken for granted. So, the myth of my life is a guarded one, with solid defences that are rarely tested. Once a person steps beyond a set of sometimes invisible boundaries, the alarms go off and lights turn on. Folks just know they are in for a bad time if they continue.

Like Janis Joplin sings in the Bobby McGee song, "freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose". Like it or not, I've got something now, and I don't want to lose it. I do not feel free or confident. Ambition is in the process of morphing into something unexpected and, as yet, unidentified.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by JamesN. » Thu Jul 07, 2016 4:46 pm

Carmela:
I rely heavily on this forum and a few people for everyday conversation, and much of my life consists of maintaining an interdependent urban life that is under some pressure, but makes room for the slower pace of aging....

....I am at a stage in life where I am not sure whether the things that feel most important have any relation to the reality of my life.
Carmela I will mention a couple of things that have been very helpful to me as I have gone along within my own reflective process.

1.) Along with using the forum resources as you already have been to constantly compare your insights with other points of view to refine your perspective I would suggest thinking of this as a kind of continuing analytical evolution and not some sort of destination of achievement. "Wu Wei" might be one approach to look at this psychological position; (a kind of removed or detached: "watching or observing but not forcing"); and also to be more forgiving of yourself. As you reflect insights may come to you that might not normally be available if you put too much emotional pressure on yourself; and getting some distance or space from certain kinds of judgmental overviews might also be of benefit.

(Also):

2.) Associate Tonyd in another forum mentioned something I think that might serve you well here while you are in quest of the answers you seek:



Tonyd:
It is useful to have some creative engagement ('playing') to complement deep introspection. You will remember that Jung, at a time of crisis when he could not find direction, started if I remember correctly, making things from stones he found on the lake shore like he did as a child. Later he went on to build, providing an outlet for the energy generated from internal ruminations, the house at Bollingen. His initial steps in both endeavours were simple and primitive. It was play.

If you don't already have one engaging in some sort of hobby or outside activity that is just plain fun and enjoyable in and of itself; or perhaps some sort of volunteer work in giving to others is also a possibility. (Photography has been my new endeavor so perhaps you might consider some sort of new interest or activity.) But the point here is emotional distance and "Play"!


I'm no analyst but these are just some suggestions that might be useful. Hope they help.



Namaste
:)
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
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