Following the Marga

Joseph Campbell believed that "...each of us has an individual myth that's driving us, which we may or may not know." This forum is for assistance and inspiration in the quest to find your own personal mythology.

Moderators: Clemsy, Martin_Weyers, Cindy B.

JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Tue Apr 29, 2014 4:09 pm

Here is a response Cindy made to a question that Myrtle asked awhile back that I missed that " perfectly " addresses what I was trying to make in this connection to the issue of " Personal Myth ". ( This clarifies my concern in Jung's own words. Thank you Cindy. ) :idea:

Myrtle wrote:
I've read several books by Jung and was wondering how you would define Jung's "personal myth."

Interesting, Myrtle. Cool And since I'm certainly not one to speak for Jung, I'll let him speak for himself:


"...My life is the story of the self-realization of the unconscious. Everything in the unconscious seeks outward manifestation, and the personality too desires to evolve out of its unconscious conditions and to experience itself as a whole. I cannot employ the language of science to trace this process of growth in myself, for I cannot experience myself as a scientific problem.

What we are to our inward vision, and what man appears to be sub specie aeternitatis, can only be expressed by way of myth. Myth is more individual and expresses life more precisely than does science. Science works with concepts of averages which are far too general to do justice to the subjective variety of an individual life.

Thus it is that I have now undertaken, in my eighty-third year, to tell my personal myth. I can only make direct statements, only 'tell stories.' Whether or not the stories are 'true' is not the problem. The only question is whether what I tell is my fable, my truth.

An autobiography is so difficult to write because we possess no standards, no objective foundation, from which to judge ourselves. There are really no proper bases for comparison. I know that in many things I am not like others, but I do not know what I really am like. Man cannot compare himself with any other creature; he is not a monkey, not a cow, not a tree. I am a man. But what is it to be that? Like every other being, I am a splinter of the infinite deity, but I cannot contrast myself with any animal, any plant, or any stone. Only a mythical being has a range greater than man's. How then can a man form any definite opinions about himself?

We are a psychic process which we do not control, or only partly direct. Consequently, we cannot have any final opinion about ourselves or our lives. If we had, we would know everything--but at most that is only a pretense. At bottom we never know how it has all come about. The story of a life begins somewhere, at some particular point we happen to remember, and even then it was already highly complex. We do not know how life is going to turn out. Therefore the story has no beginning, and the end can only be vaguely hinted at.

The life of a man is a dubious experiment. It is a tremendous phenomenon only in numerical terms. Individually, it is so fleeting, so insufficient, that it is literally a miracle that anything can develop and exist at all. I was impressed by that fact long ago, as a young medical student, and it seemed to me miraculous that I should not have been prematurely annihilated.

Life has always seemed to me like a plant that lives on its rhizome. Its true life is invisible, hidden in the rhizome. The part that appears above ground lasts only a single summer. Then it withers away--an ephemeral apparition. When we think of the unending growth and decay of life and civilizations, we cannot escape the impression of absolute nullity. Yet I have never lost a sense of something that lives and endures underneath the eternal flux. What we see is the blossom, which passes. The rhizome remains.

In the end the only events in my life worth telling are those when the imperishable world irrupted into this transitory one. That is why I speak chiefly of inner experiences, amongst which I include my dreams and visions. These form the prima materia of my scientific work. They were the fiery magma out of which the stone that had to be worked was crystallized.

All other memories of travels, people, and my surroundings have paled beside these interior happenings. Many people have participated in the story of our times and written about it; if the reader wants an account of that, let him turn to them or get somebody to tell it to him. Recollection of outward events of my life has largely faded or disappeared. But my encounters with the 'other' reality, my bouts with the unconscious, are indelibly engraved upon my memory. In that realm there has always been wealth in abundance, and everything else has lost importance by comparison.

Similarly, other people are established inalienably in my memories only if their names were entered in the scrolls of my destiny from the beginning, so that encountering them was at the same time a kind of recollection.

Inner experiences also set their seal on the outward events that came my way and assumed importance for me in youth or later on. I early arrived at the insight that when no answer comes from within to the problems and complexities of life, they ultimately mean very little. Outward circumstances are no substitute for inner experience. Therefore my life has been singularly poor in outward happenings. I cannot tell much about them, for it would strike me as hollow and insubstantial. I can understand myself only in the light of inner happenings. It is these that make up the singularity of my life, and with these my autobiography deals..."

-- Prologue, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1961)
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
Cindy B.
Working Associate
Posts: 4719
Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:49 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Post by Cindy B. » Tue Apr 29, 2014 8:03 pm

8)
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Sat Sep 06, 2014 4:34 pm

I came across this quote of Joe's which seems to me to help illuminate the bridge between man's inward push to make sense of his inner world with the outer world reality in which he is enveloped and therefore connected to his idea of navigating life through his sense of his own unique individual or personal myth.
"A mythological order is a system of images that gives consciousness a sense of meaning in existence, which, my dear friend, has no meaning––it simply is. But the mind goes asking for meanings; it can't play unless it knows (or makes up) the rules.

"Mythologies present games to play: how to make believe you're doing thus and so. Ultimately, through the game, you experience that positive thing which is the experience of being-in-being, of living meaningfully. That's the first function of a mythology, to evoke in the individual a sense of grateful affirmative awe before the monstrous mystery that is existence."

Joseph Campbell, Pathways to Bliss, p. 6
:idea: 8)
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Wed Sep 24, 2014 3:04 pm

Here is a quote I came upon that talks to the problem of identifying one's sense of their own path appropriate to the life stage they now inhabit; not the one to which they may be inappropriately attached. :idea:

Pathways to Bliss; page 99:
" So first you must find in yourself that which moves you. Of course it will move you on the level of a human being. And it should move you in a way appropriate to your stage of life. You must learn to know what the archetype of your stage of life is and live it. Trying to live the archetype of the stage of life you have left behind is one of the basic causes of neurotic troubles. "
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
JamesN.
Associate
Posts: 2187
Joined: Sat Mar 04, 2006 2:46 am
Location: Nashville, Tn.

Post by JamesN. » Mon Dec 29, 2014 2:47 pm

I came across this short and very insightful interview with James Hillman that addresses several aspects of the aging process and it's relevance to wisdom and the very acts of living itself.

The Senex and Puer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=99Zo2PxPXx4
Last edited by JamesN. on Wed Apr 22, 2015 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
What do I know? - Michael de Montaigne
Locked