Nietzsche on Mythic versus Conceptual Thinking

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Post by JamesN. » Mon May 02, 2016 1:34 pm

Tonyd:
Similarly as we try to frame a consciousness adequate to our time with which we can move into the future we, following Campbell and Jung, have to harmonise with what has gone before and which, for better and worse, constitutes what we are.


My original post was merely meant to be a useful reference to those who are sifting through the 'terminal moraine of myth' mentioned by James, trying to uncover useful insights which help us move forward while connecting ever further backward to our forebearers.

Tonyd; thank you for your kind clarity and insightful offerings to these recent discussions; which speaking for myself; have been most helpful. I particularly appreciate the way in which you are able to summarize much of Joseph's thought into fewer lines while still maintaining the original integrity of his ideas. (This approach is something I need to work on.) On a side note I took up "Yang Short Form" Tai Chi for several years but have since fallen out of practice and have been meaning to start back; (another reminder to self). Please disregard my request for ideas concerning Jung from my last post unless you feel enjoyably inspired to do so. :)
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Post by tonyd » Mon May 02, 2016 7:15 pm

Hi James,
Just the way my psyche functions I tend to use Campbell's terminology rather than Jung's. In regard to the modern situation, the personal myth and the artist (creative individual of any kind); I like this quote from p4 of Creative Mythology:
the individual has had an experience of his own - of order, horror, beauty, or even mere exhilaration-which he seeks to communicate through signs; and if his realization has been of a certain depth and import, his communication will have the force and value of living myth-for those, that is to say, who receive and respond to it of themselves, with recognition, uncoerced.
Also I support Hillman (p103 Re-visioning Psychology) when he says:
Far more important than over simplified and blatant self-recognitions by means of myths is the experiencing of their working intrapsychically within our fantasies, and then through them into our ideas, systems of ideas, feeling-values, moralities, and basic styles of consciousness
Ps: Humorous anecdote: my son and I arrived at an empty airport in Carcassonne, France, to discover that there was a strike and the next flight we could catch would be in five days. Ended up having to drive to Biarritz to catch a plane, so a bit distracted and initially missed your question.
Last edited by tonyd on Wed May 04, 2016 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by JamesN. » Mon May 02, 2016 7:40 pm

Tonyd how beautifully and thoughtfully rendered; just grand! ( I'm trying not to over state here; but wow!) Hope your extra few days with your son turns into something special instead of an inconvenience because of the airport delay. Thank you most kindly for what you shared! :)
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Post by JamesN. » Thu May 05, 2016 4:57 pm

tonyd wrote:Hi James,
Just the way my psyche functions I tend to use Campbell's terminology rather than Jung's. In regard to the modern situation, the personal myth and the artist (creative individual of any kind); I like this quote from p4 of Creative Mythology:
the individual has had an experience of his own - of order, horror, beauty, or even mere exhilaration-which he seeks to communicate through signs; and if his realization has been of a certain depth and import, his communication will have the force and value of living myth-for those, that is to say, who receive and respond to it of themselves, with recognition, uncoerced.
Also I support Hillman (p103 Re-visioning Psychology) when he says:
Far more important than over simplified and blatant self-recognitions by means of myths is the experiencing of their working intrapsychically within our fantasies, and then through them into our ideas, systems of ideas, feeling-values, moralities, and basic styles of consciousness
Ps: Humorous anecdote: my son and I arrived at an empty airport in Carcassonne, France, to discover that there was a strike and the next flight we could catch would be in five days. Ended up having to drive to Biarritz to catch a plane, so a bit distracted and initially missed your question.

Tonyd;

These insights you shared have been very helpful and caught me quite by surprise; (hence my initial startled response). I have since had a chance to mull them over a bit to try and better understand why they affected me so much. I'll try to explain since for me this illustrates a connection with the question about the Jungian Archetype I mentioned earlier.

I retired 2 years ago from a 45 year musical life because it was no longer doable at the level that provided the Bliss I had always sought. Many reasons were contributing factors in my decision such as the physical realities of age and execution; the changing landscape and loss of connection; but more than anything it was the realization that a chapter was closing that demanded the call to a new phase of personhood. So while I have been making these necessary adjustments within this aspect of this personal individuation process; part of my journey has been to assimilate the experiences of this part of my life to try and learn where this may be pointing. One of the things I did while making this transition was to find another creative field; photography; which became an avenue where I could still experience a communion with my sense of self-expression and satisfy my inner connection to my sacred space and help provide the spiritual connection and meaning I had formally experienced. So far this has been an important resource and a way to open up an aspect that informs both my inner personal life as well as my creative life. All the things that come with this new endeavor not withstanding; there is for me these Jungian elements that come into play within this process that Joseph mentions that have to do with one's inner emotional life which brings us back to your quotes.

A conversation with a friend of mine recently helped to point out that one of the main things any artist within any field enjoys is the actual "creative process" itself. And one of the aspects that is contained within this process for me is this experience of "being-in-being". This for me helps to provide this sense of inner connection within the timeless world of the mythic; or as your quote put it: "living myth"; (not only "a myth" but one's own deep individual "personal myth or story"); along with one's sense of: as Joseph also put it: "aesthetic arrest". Your quote from "Hillman" described to me it's interconnected effects on one's total being within the term: "intrapsychically" and for me these quotes "nail it". An older term that use to be used back in the day would have been: "Soulfood".

I have been trying for quite some time to put my finger on not only this particular element; but also what the inner-workings are of how this connects them and what is it's source. In essence this to me is a realization of Joseph's favorite term: "Tat Tvam Asi". And the connection of this experience in this sense I think is what helps to bind and illuminate all of humanity together and in a larger sense is the story of the whole human race that is recognized in it's various forms by this vehicle of art; (also perhaps known as the realm of the: "collective unconscious").

I have been trying to understand what this "stimulation of archetype"; or psychic connection is that draws me to it; between the various forms not only of music and the visual; but also to try and recognize it when I see it played out in human life as well as within my own life. For instance when I experience the pristine moment of a sunset or an animal's affectionate caress; of an old friendship renewed or the sorrow of another's passing; I try to understand and appreciate these realizations and the depth of their import. In the hundred different moments throughout one's day when the awe and mystery of life reveal's itself to remain grateful for it's message through my sometimes awkward and humble attempts at growth. As is often said here on the forums: "it's all about the journey and what happens along the way"; and as Joseph also use to say: ("About finding out what ones' next step is").


Again that was a very nice and helpful post.)


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Post by tonyd » Fri May 06, 2016 9:05 am

Hi James,
Delighted the quotes struck a chord and I now see where you are coming from. I agree the 'creative process' is the thing.

I think Hillman maybe 'your man' but Eliot encapsulates many of your observations in his lines:
… As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.
But mostly your words brought to mind this 3 minute clip of Hillman:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99Zo2PxPXx4

He has other longer talks in a similar vein where he talks of not waking in the night but waking to the night.
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Post by JamesN. » Fri May 06, 2016 12:14 pm

Thanks Tony; (do you mind if I call you that?); indeed you are "right on it". The James Hillman clip you shared is a favorite of mine but I was not familiar with the Eliot quote from; "East Coker" from "The Quartets"; (powerful). The "Sennex/Puer" is definitely a clue for me. (Insightful).
… As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.

Back to Hillman; I really like him and need to spend some more time with his material. He mentions the greek "Daimon" in one of his lectures but I can't recall which one. I had forgotten about this and it seems to fit quite well. Great suggestion. I have seen a number of his clips including the one you mentioned about (coming "to" the night) and had checked out some of his books before; but I was a bit preoccupied with some pressing personal matters and wasn't able to get deep enough into it at the time. Maybe now is the right moment.

(Thought you might like this.):


http://richarddagan.com/daimon.php


Thanks again for the kind offerings; they are most appreciated. :)


____________________________________________________________________


Addendum:

Tony I just came across a link to a (PDF) article by Pete Williams contained in a delightful discussion we had in your "Cultural Philosophy" thread back in 9/17/14 that seems to fit very well here. Here is the addendum; see what you think.



Addendum: Since you mentioned Carl Jung here is a link to an article I liked a lot that you might enjoy that talks about Jung's ideas and how some of Joseph's thoughts match up.

Tony:

Quote:

The difference in my opinion between the Jungian and the Campbellian is that the former is concerned primarily with the individual and their development and the stress is on process whereas the latter is concerned primarily with community and the stress is on narrative. The two are complementary but not identical.


http://www.jungatlanta.com/articles/sum ... eaning.pdf
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Post by tonyd » Wed May 11, 2016 8:37 am

Hi James,
I wrote a couple of replies continuing the thread but then deleted them. The two articles by Pete Williams and Richard Dagan are indeed insightful and generally excellent.

I jumped back to the Cultural Philosophy thread to recap on what we discussed there.

It occurs to me James that you have more than enough knowledge and experience to fathom the meaning of one or more of the many of the myths or fairy tales that lie quietly in repositories, unexplored and unknown. This is very hard work but it does carry the explorer's reward of seeing for the first time, and making visible, meanings and senses that have been lost to modern humanity.

I for one would be a bit disappointed at the dearth of excellent work carried out based on Campbell's works over the last twenty five years. For instance a person like yourself would have a unique insight into music. The oldest flutes (in Europe) you may be aware are 35,000 years old (made from hollow leg bones of vultures and mammoth ivory) and the melodies would probably have been played in dark caves by firelight.
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Post by JamesN. » Wed May 11, 2016 7:17 pm

tonyd wrote:Hi James,
I wrote a couple of replies continuing the thread but then deleted them. The two articles by Pete Williams and Richard Dagan are indeed insightful and generally excellent.

I jumped back to the Cultural Philosophy thread to recap on what we discussed there.

It occurs to me James that you have more than enough knowledge and experience to fathom the meaning of one or more of the many of the myths or fairy tales that lie quietly in repositories, unexplored and unknown. This is very hard work but it does carry the explorer's reward of seeing for the first time, and making visible, meanings and senses that have been lost to modern humanity.

I for one would be a bit disappointed at the dearth of excellent work carried out based on Campbell's works over the last twenty five years. For instance a person like yourself would have a unique insight into music. The oldest flutes (in Europe) you may be aware are 35,000 years old (made from hollow leg bones of vultures and mammoth ivory) and the melodies would probably have been played in dark caves by firelight.

How interesting and helpful Tony.

Indeed I most certainly agree about "dearth" and Joseph's work; although my path at this point has really been more concerned with Joseph's term: "Marga" or the animal path back to it's liar; which in this instance is referred to as the (individual human heart). These symbols or signs that constitute the navigational clues; such as the "Adrianne Thread" through one's own individual "Labyrinth"; which have to do with one's life course and their "personal myth"; are to me where: "the rubber meet's the road" so to speak; of Joseph's "knock, knock" principle of the upcoming of shadow and it's integration in the later life stage within the individuation process. Reading this inner dialogue between the personal conscious and unconscious; such as revealed for instance within one's own dreams as well as any outer encounters that stimulate archetypes and archetypal images; and assimilating or relativizing their contents is where this process becomes more difficult and nebulous to steer through.

I've been reading Jeffrey C. Miller's: "The Transcendent Function"; which goes more into detail about this dialogue along with James A. Hall's: "Jungian Dream Interpretation"; which uses the term: "Personal Sphere" as the reference to this particular (mind-space; think "mandorla" here); where this alchemy of tension between opposites; so to speak; takes place and resolves the conflict of transforming it into a new enlargement of consciousness. (My interpretation.)

But integrating these new realizations from a metaphoric or comparative concept if you will; into a more concrete workable later life existence is the trick; especially if dealing with anything traumatic from one's own personal past.

Your kind suggestions concerning music and myth may be more of a challenge than my humble musical background can attempt; but perhaps there may be some avenue of address which may manifest itself at some point further down the road. Also I hope you will pardon my rather inarticulate attempts at describing many of these concepts for I am certainly no scholar. (Again your thoughts on my behalf are most appreciated.)

(Here is an interesting quote concerning: "one's own day" that seems relevant to this discussion that I just came across on the JFC Facebook page that illustrates something else to be considered.):

"When I bought my computer––anyone who has tried to work a computer knows what my experience was––I thought, well, I wonder what god it is that is there? Being somewhat an expert on gods, I lived with this computer a couple of months, and then I recognized the god. It was Yahweh of the Old Testament: a lot of rules and no mercy! But then, when you get to know the rules and your fingers obey them, it is fabulous what the thing can do!

"That is the way it is with the rules in art. You have to learn to know them, and if it is a proper, up-to-date local art, the rules will have something to do with the life of people here and now, not a big smoochy general thing about life, but how it is here and now, what our problems and our mysteries are, here and now. You have to know your own day. You have to know your own relation to your own day, and then forget it! Let the thing build into you, the way my knowledge of my computer is built into me now. And then each of you can sing."

Joseph Campbell, The Mythic Dimension: "Creativity"
(courtesy of the Joseph Campbell Foundation)

It must be remembered that when Joseph Campbell wrote this; (he died in 1987); that the pc and the internet; much less tablet and smartphone technology or the human genome or any of the other ever increasing new developments now taking place; had really not even come into existence yet; (but his point IMHO is "rock-solid" and still stands).

I had some more things to add but I've gone on enough for now. BTW I hope your trip with your son went well.

Namaste :)


_____________________________________________________________________


(Addendum):

Also I wanted to add this well known quote of Joseph's; again from Facebook just now; because I think it best combines with the above and identifies the main push and purpose behind why we strive for anything beyond just mere existence.


"What is it we are questing for? It is the fulfillment of that which is potential in each of us. Questing for it is not an ego trip; it is an adventure to bring into fulfillment your gift to the world, which is yourself. There is nothing you can do that's more important than being fulfilled. You become a sign, you become a signal, transparent to transcendence; in this way you will find, live, become a realization of your own personal myth."

Joseph Campbell, "Pathways to Bliss"

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Post by tonyd » Thu May 12, 2016 3:26 pm

Hi James,
Yes, I see you're applying what you know against your experience and indeed looking for more knowledge to better explore and assimilate such experience, which is sort of what I was talking about, namely the application of knowledge.

Ps: My son and I had a grand, if on occasion slightly stressful, trip.
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Post by JamesN. » Thu May 12, 2016 5:23 pm

tonyd wrote:Hi James,
Yes, I see you're applying what you know against your experience and indeed looking for more knowledge to better explore and assimilate such experience, which is sort of what I was talking about, namely the application of knowledge.

Ps: My son and I had a grand, if on occasion slightly stressful, trip.

Yes Tony; your insights are pretty close. Metaphorically speaking you may already be familiar with the term: "Chrysalis" which moderator Cindy sometimes used for the Jungian description of the individuation process; another was "the bed on the road to Athens"; (or something like that as I seem to remember). I hope you'll pardon any overindulgence on my part in my posts concerning all of this as it has been a very all-consuming affair dealing with the untangling of many deep emotional concerns from my past along with the retirement overhaul of aging forward. And without getting too personal the last several years have seen some pretty dramatic life changes; both inner and outer; but the growth has definitely been worth it.

Your very kind words gave me much to think about; but as I said I'm not sure exactly what lies ahead for me at this point. I'm still in the middle of sorting things out and making adjustments while trying to access where I am as you surmised. When I found music earlier in my life I was deeply searching for something as a life course; and who knows what this next phase of my life will bring. But like in the approach of "Wu-Wei" I'm trying not to force things while at the same time remaining watchful to see what presents itself; (sometimes a road appears).



Thank you again for your thoughtfulness. :)
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Post by Roncooper » Mon May 16, 2016 1:42 am

I have been very busy for the last month and I see there is a lot of good stuff to catch up with. There are several questions I have about the special world of artistic creation but first I wanted to comment on and ask about this article James posted.
I had an interesting response to reading this. There are parts I agree with wholeheartedly, and there are parts where I thought,"you've got to be kidding."

I completely agree with Jung pointing out the necessity of "An intentional and conscious dialog with the Self (capital S)

IMHO this is the beginning of the intellectual path of individuation. A major step that is needed to go beyond society's programming of the intellect.

Just as the Hindus and Buddhists developed a meditation practice for our intuitive consciousness, I feel the "dialog" as Jung calls ir, is the meditation practice for our intellects.

The part I have trouble with is the claim that before 800 BCE the individual did not exist. This seems like a very strange claim to me. How do they prove it? Hunting may be a team effort or a solo effort, and even within a team individual skills are important for success. They had large brains. I say this claim of no individuals is inconsistent with the core principles of evolution. Individual action is needed for survival.

I agree that there was a major change from 750 to 0 BCE,, but I see this as a branching out of the human species. This was the period of the Buddha, Jesus, Thales of Miletus, and the creation of the Hebrew Bible. Each of these was a bud that became a new branch of humanity. The intellectual school that flourished in Greece was one branch and I can see how an intellectual my claim that this was the beginning of a new consciousness, but for me it is instead the creation of an organized school for intellectual pursuits that let people specialize.

I think this branching expanded our possibilities and gave us on inner diversity.
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Post by Roncooper » Mon May 16, 2016 6:02 pm

I wonder if the belief that early humans were not individuals came out of the Genesis myth where there is Eden before the tree on knowledge? In this myth Eve and Adam become self aware.

Anyway, I am not a scholar of this material and would appreciate any clarification.
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Post by JamesN. » Mon May 16, 2016 7:01 pm

Roncooper wrote:I wonder if the belief that early humans were not individuals came out of the Genesis myth where there is Eden before the tree on knowledge? In this myth Eve and Adam become self aware.

Anyway, I am not a scholar of this material and would appreciate any clarification.
Ron; I think Tony is more qualified on this subject than I am; and since this is his thread he probably should be the one to answer your query. ( Concerning his eastern point of view I took the liberty of borrowing a quote of his from the "Validity" thread which in the meantime may also be of some help. (On a side note his massive 5 volume "Historical Atlas of World Mythology" as well as many of his other works are listed in the bookstore should you want to look further. This topic is Joseph's "home turf" so to speak; and he had few peers.)

http://astore.amazon.com/josepcampbf05-20?node=1&page=3

Campbell was a rigorous scholar and all his formal texts are impeccably punctuated with his sources. Campbell's works are always my mainstay when writing on any matters of cultural history. I completed an MPhil thesis last year in Trinity College Dublin and the assessors had no issue with Campbell or Jung.

James is correct, Heinrich Zimmer's 'Philosphies of India' and 'Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilisation' (both edited by Campbell) are excellent texts for your area of interest. Equally parts of Campbell's Mythic Image and Oriental Mythology.
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Post by Roncooper » Mon May 16, 2016 7:54 pm

James,

Tanks for the link to the bookstore. The link I received in my e-mail didn't work.

You made me wonder whether the idea that there were no individuals before 800 BCE came from Campbell. I have a copy of "Primitive Mythology," I should read it.

I read "Creative Mythology," and it is one of the best books I have read. Right up there on the top.

As I have stated, I have a problem with this no individuals before 800 BCE idea. Instead I would say no organized paths before 800 BCE. No schools of inner development before Jesus, the Buddha, and the Greeks, etc.
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Post by tonyd » Mon May 16, 2016 9:34 pm

Hi Ron and James,
This is a tricky topic but one covered fairly well by Campbell. In general Campbell considered that Europe's (and by extension the West's) high regard for the individual can be traced back to the Palaeolithic hunter.

The Garden of Eden type of tale may have its origin in the tropical jungles of Central Africa and a rather shocking, but psychologically sophisticated, mythologem that sees sex (procreation) and murder (death) as complementary. This is then overlaid with the mythic world view of Semitic herding peoples which, mediated through Greece in the Roman period, becomes grafted onto the European psyche as Christianity. In comparison with the original Germanic, Celtic or Greek myths this does not place great value on the individual.

In one of his lectures,(no idea which one) Campbell discusses a North American myth that shows the triumph of the gods over the great medicine men - which in Europe is echoed in myths showing the triumph of the gods over the titans. The rise of civilisation and the resultant specialisation means that the community becomes far more powerful than the pluri-talented individual and this is reflected in the myths. The problem then becomes that priests may peddle a doctrine of which they may never had personal experience whereas the original shamen were typically marked out for their vocation by having a kind of mental breakdown in their youth that marks them out for their difficult vocation.

My view is that Primitive Mythology is perhaps Campbell's most important work as he outlines his views on mythology as a science. The Hero with a Thousand Faces is really an introduction to the four volumes, The Masks of God.

Tony
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