The Wasteland...

Who was Joseph Campbell? What is a myth? What does "Follow Your Bliss" mean? If you are new to the work of Joseph Campbell, this forum is a good place to start.

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Post by Overmanwarrior » Fri May 14, 2010 10:19 pm

This is fantastic, and exactly why I rejoined this Foundation. I've been on a reading binge for the last 10 years, and decided it was time to socialize a bit.

The concept of the WASTELAND is how I became so enchanted with Campbell in the first place. He seems to be the primary portal in this century, and the last, to dare discuss it. And nobody discusses it in the economic world, because such thoughts can have disastrous results to the stabilization of humanity!

But it is great to see people talking about it! Glad I signed up again. :wink:
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Post by CarmelaBear » Fri May 14, 2010 11:26 pm

Welcome back, Rich Hoffman.

Your energy is invigorating.

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Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by rocket7 » Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:19 pm

How about the idea of duality? Doesn't there have to be a wasteland in order for vitality to exist?

I was once thinking about all the poor homeless dogs. Take them all to a shelter and feed them. Right? But then they'd start to massively procreate since they are in such perfect conditions, which would create too many dogs to handle. We could of course castrate them, but then none would procreate and outside, even though their conditions are worse they have a chance to continue their species.

So is there are a right answer? Whatever we do, we interfere with the universe. I like eastern philosophies in that they help us accept the world, the fact that we're merely a part of it, not its masters.

Can we all be spiritual? Is it a good thing? Why do we so badly want everyone to be spiritual, good? There is probably a greater and dynamic balance in the universe than we can imagine, that needs both good and bad.
I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.
It's childishly romantic, but then again I'm too :) I'm sure there is a practical materialist out there to balance me.

Ah, I love an intelligent, philosophic conversation, it somehow brings my appetite for life and mysterious adventure. If only you lived somewhere near :)
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Post by Wozrep » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:50 pm

Wasteland for me is the unconscious life. The life of a sheep. A narrow view. A small world. The road MOST travelled.
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Post by Persephonespring » Sun Sep 02, 2012 10:57 pm

Great conversation.

What I am realizing in the situation I am in, by choice, is that somedays, before I reach the rehab center, I feel as if I am in a wasteland. I have chosen to stay here and be with my mother in the last act of our drama, leaving my "real" life.

The elderly patients here are significantly challenged. Some appear hopeless. All speak to me and look into my eyes, making real contact. When I answer them, when we have a brief interaction, they brighten, and so do I.

Little children tend to really look at others, perhaps hoping to be mirrored, hoping to be seen. Perhaps we never outgrow our need to be seen, to be heard, to be acknowledged as a fellow human being,to know that we are in this together, that we are not alone. That perhaps my real life means showing up for whatever is showing up for me.

Just some random thoughts at the end of the day.

Jan
Might be a drop in a bucket, but, as I like to say, no drops, no ocean. :-) Clemsy
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Post by JamesN. » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:28 am

Hello Jan,

That is very thoughtfully stated. Perhaps I may be misinterpreting and if I am please be assured I mean only to be helpful. One thing I find useful is trying to distinguish the life I am living from the situation that I am in. The two can be difficult to seperate sometimes. One of the things Joseph Campbell mentions is our lives are played out within the contex of a system; and that system can consume you. Some of his remedies include not only using the system for human purposes; but also incorperating certain helpful tools like a sacred space to find what your individual center is and the nurturing of it. Or using it to reconnect or recharge those spiritual or emotional batteries. But the way you interprete the engagement may also provide an insight as well. And here is where the distinguishing factor might be useful.

If you see your envolvement with whatever place you are in as a negative encounter your experience will more than likely be the same as well. But if you see your participation with those people as a compassionate way to serve others instead of a hopeless or depressing encounter or engagement then that may give you a clue you may be missing something you are looking for. The point here is that you make the decision of defining what the experience is going to provide as far as it's value or meaning to you.

( Now of course I'm saying this in an abstract contex without knowing all the dynamics or particulars that pertain to you. ) And it may be that you do not desire to get involved at any other level than observation while you are there. But you could also utilize this observation as a signal that something inside you is longing for some sort of connection. Maybe volunteer work helping others or some outlet that has a connection with service or some sort; or maybe something else entirely; whatever is calling to you. But by listening to what is going on inside you and following that; you are not giving in to being consumed by " The Wasteland ".

These distinctions are to me the difference between living an inauthentic life or an authentic life of not capitulating to the sense of helplessness or depression; of not just reading the symbols around you ang going along for the ride; in other words : " The Wasteland ".

This is a situation that Joe refers to: " We all face it. " And this is where he also says " Follow your Bliss; and by Bliss I mean the deep sense of being in it. " ( Now I personally interpret that as living from your center. But the trick is you have to find what that center is for you. ) In short this is what he means by the "Hero's Journey ". At least that is what is has been for me. All the time; every day; like you said; " Showing up. " ( That is if I understand what you were saying. )

I don't know if this addresses what you were getting at. Much of what I have been saying you may already be aware of and have worked out for yourself. You may be just pondering on your impressions of where you are. But I think you have to be kind of like a detective sometimes; following little clues and asking yourself: ( " Is this what I'm looking for? " ) People get depressed and frustated; ( at least alot of the people I know ). That's one reason I come here alot. Smart, intelligent, caring folks of like mind to hang out with where I know I'm valued and can find the tools that will help me straighten out my own life. ( I feel lucky to be here. )

Hope this was useful. :)
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
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Post by Persephonespring » Tue Sep 04, 2012 12:41 pm

James,

What a beautiful reply.

I am indeed in it. It is a choice I've made...to be in it. I've found great compassion surrounding my mother, as well as myself. Wonderful, caring, gentle people are everywhere, and people are surprising me by the subtle acts of caring by what they say and are willing to do.

In this situation, which I've been in many times, over the years, exhaustion is a companion. You are absolutely right about finding space where one can rest and come back to center. Mine is surprising to me, and it has changed an old adversarial relationship, and opened a door in my heart that slammed many years ago. There is a lot of healing going on, in places where I despaired.

Coming back to this forum has also been wonderful. As you said " Caring, intelligent people of like mind" is also a soul balm. I've been reading the posts when I have some time of quiet. That is also sacred space....quiet time when all of me can show up and be nurtured.

Thank you so much, James. This was a wonderful way to start this day.

Jan
Might be a drop in a bucket, but, as I like to say, no drops, no ocean. :-) Clemsy
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Post by JamesN. » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:59 pm

Jan,

Your response was also to me very moving and illuminating. Truely a exceptional example of transforming what could normally be interpreted; ( from what I could gather ); as an emotionally and mentally straining and possible negative experience into a positive, enlightening and uplifting one by your approach. How touching and inspiring. ( A lovely light in the dark. ) 8) .

Thank you so much for sharing this. :D
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
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Post by CarmelaBear » Tue Sep 04, 2012 8:50 pm

I look after a disabled person, and this forum is, indeed, a "soul balm" for me, too.

Special thanks.

Here's lookin' at you, kid.
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Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Persephonespring » Tue Sep 04, 2012 9:33 pm

Thank you, James. I cherish both the dark and the light....they define each other.

Carmela, here's looking at you, too.

Jan
Might be a drop in a bucket, but, as I like to say, no drops, no ocean. :-) Clemsy
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Post by Luxetspes » Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:20 am

CarmelaBear wrote:I look after a disabled person, and this forum is, indeed, a "soul balm" for me, too.

Special thanks.

Here's lookin' at you, kid.
:)
I wonder if this might be appropriate for a new thread, but both living with disability or different ability and caring for the same presents a unique handle or grip for entry into the discussion of myth, I think because myth so often illuminates the common denominators of experience, while disability (and caring for one who is differently able or disabled) presents such a constant reminder of difference and "other."

Do those of you who live with these circumstances or experiences agree?
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Post by JamesN. » Tue Jan 15, 2013 1:15 pm

Hey everyone.

I'm wondering if this fits within the context of the original theme of this thread.

I came across this article and I think that it indeed expresses an aspect of the wasteland that is reflective of the antithesis of hope.

This particular situation of the US military's efforts towards mental health treatment has been evolving to a much more intense level as of late and concerns reconciling the idea of military service with the hard cold reality of war itself. It also points to another more darker trend of the lack of ability to cope; both within the confines of the military order as well as the individual's skill at maintaining a healthy mental balance. While existing within the perception of his reality in performince of his gruesome responsibilities; the soldier must also claim hold of his humanity as he constantly walks the tightwire between the chaos and death of horrific violence; while balancing this with his personal understanding of duty, bravery, and compassion.

To be locked into a mental position of this intensity, ferocity, and magnitude over time without the promise of a positive outcome or at least support in the reconciling of it's various elements of polarity would seem to lead to the inevitable loss of the will to struggle on. ( This article about suicide is not an encouraging picture of this situation. )

However although an extreme example; I think it is an important illustration of many of the mythic themes Joseph Campbell draws upon in the clarification of the fine line that exists between the mental landscape of the wasteland and the reality of living that lie just below the surface; and must be dealt with if man is to grapple with the " Furies " of his own nature. If they are not acknowleged, harmonized, and reconciled to these conditions; then disaster surely follows. ( There are many possible manifestations of this as shown throughout history and literature. Think: " The Greek Tragedies " and " William Shakespeare's: " Hamlet ", and " MacBeth " as just a few examples. )

Here is the article: :

http://news.yahoo.com/suicides-military ... itics.html

This was an interesting insight as well:
That study also found that most service members who attempted suicide — about 65 percent — had a known behavior disorder such as depression, whereas 45 percent of those who actually completed the act and killed themselves had such a history.
Seems like " The Wasteland " at it's worst to me!
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:41 pm

Many years ago, I read a study explaining that the most effective lawyers were the most pessimistic ones. Unlike other kinds of work, a lack of hope allows the courtroom warrior to prepare for the worst case scenario like a scout in the most desolate wilderness who can formulate a survival strategy against the worst odds, and keep soldiering on, no matter what happens.

Life usually rewards optimism, hope and the vision of a silver lining. There are circumstances that call for a more pessimistic, hopeless and depressed way of looking at the world.

It is important to note that suicidal people are looking for a positive outcome. The end to suffering is the anethesia and peace they long to achieve, once and for all. It is extremely optimistic, expecting others to survive and carry on after they check out.

The aftermath of a "successful" suicide is depressing for us, but not for the person who scuttles off to the Netherworld to end all the pain of living all alone in the Wasteland.

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Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Nermin » Sun Jan 27, 2013 10:59 pm

What you do when you feel that you have some of the answers?
Are-we truly entitled to help others? Or, isthis a game that we
all have to solve the riddles for ourselves?
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