Bliss, etc.

Joseph Campbell formulated what became his most quoted dictum, "Follow your bliss" in the decade before his death. Join this conversation to explore this idea and share stories.

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CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:03 am

8)
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:47 pm

The money classes mix a lot.

Poor people are trusted to avail themselves of public institutions.

Rich people are trusted to drive fast cars.

The ones in the middle are trusted to take credit card information over the phone.

Remarkable.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:00 pm

When we work heart-first, the daily hassles are tolerable.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:09 am

My entering class at Harvard Law was the Class of 1977, which included Congressman Barney Frank, who was a friend. My graduating class was 1979, which includes Chief Justice John Roberts, whom I have never met.

» This fall, the '79 class reunion is scheduled. I am tempted to find a way to make it to Boston for the gathering.

It is complicated. I was a pariah after I graduated on account of an emotional period of personal changes in 1980, when my mother died. When the grief was awful, I am sorry to say that I behaved very badly back then. Going to the reunion would be interesting, to say the least. I am honestly not sure I would be welcome. If I do manage to show up, I am resolved to be on my best behavior, because the negative attitude I had in 1980 is something I hope I am successfully removing from my life. I want to enjoy life and share the bliss.

So sayeth CarmelaBear.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:20 am

Well, it was okay to be a Harvard student who was broke and on scholarship, but it is not okay to be a graduate who has not made a significant contribution to the world. Being here at the Conversations of a Higher Order is nice, but it is not important. Reading Campbell has enriched my life, but I am not interested in becoming a recognized expert on his work. I am familiar with it. That is all.

Climate change is important. In the 1970's I thought the cleanup of the earth had started. Now, I know we are in deep trouble as the oceans rise and the denial continues without any effective challenge from smart people at Harvard or smart people any place else. The myth-promoters are melting polar ice by the ton.

Our wanting to be part of the world is nice, but the world is for those who believe, and we who are at the top of the academic pyramid do not believe. We do not. What we do believe is that there is no rescue for the warming earth. There is no way to safeguard the world and the global economy. The earth and humanity are lost not only for me, but for the needy 1%, too. They are too poor to participate in the politics of big things. Poor Harvard! Poor 1%!

Neither Obama nor Roberts have produced any results worth crowing about. To me, they seem impotent to fix what is broken. They look small and frail before great problems that need gigantic solutions.

Ahhh...***sigh***

I and all my classmates write and write and the words enter the great vacuum cleaner of the internet and the media, leaving the world cleansed of our influence. My alma mater is not noticeably proud of me. I did nothing big or important. Social stigma just continues to grow larger with the years.

I will not be able to go back to Boston. I need to relegate all that confusion and pain to the far past, where the people are far, far away. Here and now, they do not exist at all. Phantoms. The celebrities are names on a list of names. There was the eldest of the eleven children of Attorney General Robert Kennedy. She made an effort to befriend me, and she concluded that I must be mentally ill. (Maybe I am. Maybe Cindy agrees. I do not know. Am I nuts?) Gloria, the author celebrity...too busy being famous and sane to bother with someone as insecure and confused as me. It is a short list, and I have clung to it for dear life. Letting go is difficult, but I feel like I have to let it all go.

Harvard has money, and they seem to feel poor and insecure and needy. They beg people like me for contributions like the the scruffy panhandlers with cardboard signs. Seriously. It is strange. Richest of all the schools, Harvard cannot afford to give me the time of day, except to beg for money or information. It is strange.

My name appears on a list for the class of 1979. Not one member of my class ever spoke ten words to me as an individual. I am just part of a formal mailing list. The snail mail and email are like the items addressed to Resident.

Personally, I use the work of Campbell to keep myself from feeling confused and pitiful and sad. It works, you know. Joe is my full time 24/7/365 true "friend". The foundation associates make me feel happy and appreciated. Here I am safe and whole and lucky. There, in Boston, I have a target on my back. So strange.

Not one human being in the Class of 1979 would seem to want to know more about me than what was whispered in rumors in 1975 and in 1980. They heard that in a 1975 issue of Ms. Magazine, I wrote truth (instead of schmaltz) about my mother....unforgivable! In 1980, they heard I was an evil racist who went to prison for being a violent threat to Blacks in Boston. Folks assumed I was a card-carrying, armed member of the KKK! False rumors grow like weeds. They heard rumors that I was an evil tease. The assumption was that I had a career as call girl. (Don't all poor girls work as prostitutes?) Amazing lies. Lies sting. I cannot allow myself to internalize the nonsense. (For those who might have been spared the gossip, I did not exist at all.)

It is hard to resist developing a low opinion of myself, if only deep inside the subconscious, where insecurities multiply like a hidden cancer.

Many years ago, one classmate suggested I commit suicide. Back then, he thought it might have been a solution to his problem, not mine. Death cannot resolve any unhappiness of mine, because I rarely feel particularly unhappy. There are sad things in life, but they have precious little power over me. I may still be a misfit who is forgotten and invisible among the illustrious and world-renowned and wealthy grads from HLS. Such things merely make life interesting and challenging and all the more wonderful.

I have no plans to visit Harvard. It is just on my list of past names. It is a pretty, sweet name, but it is meaningful only to me. Acquaintances keep repeating two sentiments. First, they say that no one can take my education away from me. Second, they say that my degree, plus a dollar, might buy a cheap cup of coffee.

Now, in the present, I experience bliss and that is enough. I know the work of the master of the tales about God. I know love, truth and beauty. The rest is just part of the list of names. Long and shiny lists of names.

~
Last edited by CarmelaBear on Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:27 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Post by CarmelaBear » Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:18 pm

Absent a career, the young school girl I was from 1955 to 1979 dominates my life as if she never stopped trying to find herself in a place that has nothing to do with anything important. A more artificial and irrelevant experience could not be devised by the keenest mind. It just happened for no reason.

I feel like the captive of a dream.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:01 pm

I know I feel both aware of being frustrated by my own self and my life, and yet, almost completely oblivious to misery. This means I am aware of my suffering, and it does not make me particularly unhappy. It makes me feel real and it makes me and my life seem funny. For example, physical pain is unpleasant, but it enlightens. Emotional pain may be the key to unlocking compassion and empathy. Faults and frailties may be our greatest teachers.

Happenstance is kept at some distance from my core experience.

~

In the 4th century A.D., there was published a Greek book of jokes called Philogelos. One of the jokes went like this:

"Doctor, when I wake up in the morning, I feel dizzy for about 20 minutes."

"Wake up 20 minutes later, then."

~

I do not believe in Hell, but I am way open to the idea that there might be a Heaven. This breakfast combo may contribute to my sense of well-being, and studies seem to bear this out. http://www.mindpowernews.com/HellVsHappiness.htm

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Thu Apr 17, 2014 4:37 pm

In my imagination, I can "see" everything I might wish, for myself and for others. Every dream can become real.

For a time, it would be nice, and then, the results of success would lead to problems that would rival every single thing that led me to devise my original wish list. The happiness would be great. I would have no regrets. I would feel gratified, and the next set of issues would ensue.

Next chapter. New challenges, later stages, more items on a new wish list.

So, I build a set of ideas that stand a body in good stead, from one list to the next. The ideas will eventually fail, because surviving makes us old, and aging is, at this time, the last impossible obstacle to physical survival. It is not clear that any other form of survival exists, at least not the way I think of "surviving".

I am finding that there are perks to staying alive in spite of whatever might draw us close to the edge of the abyss. I may have less energy to do what I would like, but the demands on me have relaxed in response to this fatigue and stiffness that threatens to overtake me from time to time.

From the earliest years of life, there have always been the stories of the ones who fell over the edge, and I was always aware of the dangers as well as the protections. Those who came before us had wishes, too, and their dreams came true, and here we are.

Like all my predecessors, I have become a spectator, and I am becoming more passive every day.......just to survive. I finally join those who will ignore the clamor and the din. I will choose the music that allows me to feel safe and young and glad to be here.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Fri Apr 18, 2014 11:40 pm

Waking up happy is a common thing with me, but it is a low and slow cloudy evening....and I feel great. It was a restful, relaxed day. What a cool thing. :D Wow!

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:10 am

Ignoring things....especially big things.....is bliss.

Since I am outside the power structure, I am not remotely responsible for the way power is used. Slavery, violence, carbon emissions, the great garbage pile in the ocean, and a million other big things are not my problems. Oh, I have opinions, but my words are lost in a vast media whirlwind. My vote is lost between financially corrupt major parties and the absolutely unelectable minor parties. Nobody is helping with any problem bigger than mowing a lawn.

Bliss is never having to feel connected to a world where billions are spent tracking one airplane black box, and not one red cent is used to protect the ocean from enormous contamination and carbon emissions.

I am just one person. All of the most super powerful people on the whole planet cannot do big things.

That is the secret to bliss. Ignore the big stuff. Concentrate on the little things. Brush your teeth, move more, say please and eat lots of veggies.

There is no God of big things. The gods of little things are helping us work out our individual moods and interpersonal issues. The gods for individuals are answering our prayers for personal concerns that do not go beyond our own bite size lives.

I can ignore stuff really well. That is why I can be so happy while I see the world as too big and way beyond my influence. There exists no collective of human potential that is effective enough to do anything decisive about anything really important or urgent. If I just accept that, then I can stay inside my own bubble of influence, blissfully talking to myself on the internet.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:20 pm

creekmary wrote:Good. You vented and now if I ever get money there will be one less person using Edward Jones and I will never put another application in with them because I tend to try to stand up for things. And I'm darn good, too.

Susan
The victims of the Edward Jones guy are old people with more money than you and I. They are targets on account of their perceived weakness.

Last night, I was watching Jimmy Carter on TV, speaking about his hopes for a Democratic Party "win" like the one we had with Obama. The symbolic win will be the first woman war hawk president, who is going to spend eight years beating off her enemies with sticks. It will be another Edward Jones kind of thing, except that we will be the old folks, and what we have to lose is our hope for an effective response to the destruction of our environment.

The old folks who are being swindled are not being impoverished. They just have so much money that a little skimming here and there is making no appreciable difference. It may just be an irritation rather than major hurt. He is not Bernie Madoff.

Are we like the old wealthy people? Are we so full of hope in a long-term future that we are prepared to allow the destruction to continue in order to avoid rocking the boat? The romance with the European American floating on a boatload of cash distracts us from the emptiness of our symbolic victories. Our fatalistic acceptance of the cash-corrupted major parties is obscene. Our disbelief in minor parties is inevitable. There is nothing else. That is the whole enchilada.

There will be better candidates in the next election, and like all their predecessors, they will be ignored by the media and they will lose in advance.

I will not vote for an empty Democratic Party symbol. I won't vote for a losing minor party candidate. Next election: I will not participate in the battle over nothing.

It will not matter who wins. The environment and the people will lose, no matter what happens.

~

America ascended the throne of a global military power in the manner of Damocles, and our sword is the precariously suspended hope for a reversal of environmental disaster.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed May 14, 2014 6:42 am

Recently had an interesting conversation about a hypothetical and highly unlikely prospect. A person asked me whether I would be prepared to safeguard the Constitutional rights of the people in opposition to those who claim that national security requires systematic violation of rights.

In addition, I was asked whether, if I enjoyed political popularity, l would be prepared to be a warrior leader.

When powerless, one can afford to be crazy brave and bold, without any hesitation. I can speak courageously, with righteous indignation. I can only imagine protecting the principles embodied by the phrase "of the people, by the people, for the people". I am not afraid of those who challenge power, because righteous principles are not personal. They are of the world of humanity as a whole. If I were in a position to do so, I would speak for the interests of three entities: the planet, humanity and the individual.

Conflict resolution is a high art. It does not start or proceed at the point of a gun.

Yes, there are those who challenge us, and this challenge is not what we have been told by the hawks in the U.S. government. The challenge is, as Johnson Chalmers instructed, a case of "blowback". We provoke violence and use violence to retain our prerogative to kill with that trigger-happy overzealousness of the paranoid post-9/11 federal government.

A warrior nation uses and abuses the military and rules by intimidation. It is massively dangerous and requires other nation states to create defences to prevent us from being a threat. We literally manufacture enemies. We destroy our own people with no remorse.

I wonder whether the American people understand freedom and want to enjoy democratic, open, secular government. I wonder whether we are too afraid to be free. If we really want our rights, we might make democracy happen. If we want to keep doing what Clinton, Bush and Obama have been doing, all we have to do is remain loyal to the status quo.

Maybe being understanding and reasonable is impossible. If that is true, then the most wealthy will remain in charge, the oceans will continue to rise and the oligarchies will keep on running the show.

Restraint requires a wisdom that can risk listening and knowing what is important. There are risks, and if we can face them together, they are not too great to wipe out our good conscience.

I know why folks are afraid, and I am not so scared. I don't need to shoot first. I can hold on and figure out how to work on problems. If somebody messes with me and mine, I am capable of defending America, but I would prefer to wait until we have no choice before I would act.

Power to kill is not real power. Real power is actively caring about our responsibility for the best interests of everyone and the planet.

Personally, I have only the power of words. Still, hypothetically, I am entitled to my dreams and thoughts. Thanks to the forbearance of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, I can express my thoughts in spite of everything.

I wonder if I would be so brave if I had real equality and could serve the public interest in the executive branch. This may never be tested, because I am far from politics.

Interesting questions, though. Fun to examine such wild hypotheticals.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed May 28, 2014 12:50 am

A couple months ago, Christopher Dodd and Barney Frank appeared on cable TV to discuss issues related to the Dodd-Frank Bill that reformed our American financial system. I am watching a re-run of it as I write this.

Confidence in the American financial system is coming back slowly after the awful events of the too recent past. The Dodd-Frank Bill stabilized the economy when it was on the brink of complete disaster. The global economy was affected by the failures in the American system, and this bi-partisan change made all the difference.

(I am so proud of Barney...what a political force.)

The subject of the details of the financial system is way over the heads of my most brilliant friends, but the TV panel discussion sounds clear enough. Enlightening.

Not sure if the discussion can be found online. It is on C-Span.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Thu May 29, 2014 1:27 pm

Image

The Spirit Bear of British Columbia.

Wiki

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Fri Jun 20, 2014 2:02 pm

A book by Daniel H. Pink,

DRIVE: THE SURPRISING TRUTH ABOUT WHAT MOTIVATES US,

says that routine, step-by-step work is improved with incentives of reward and punishment. By contrast, creative work that calls for discovery and innovation is actually impeded by reward and punishment, and it tends to be more enjoyable than leisure time activities.

So, steering a course in one's "career" by following one's bliss is about finding something to do involving work that is not too routine, and that allows one to set aside matters of reward and punishment. It is work done for the challenge and the chance to solve problems and to look at things in a different, better light.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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