That Which is Sacred

What needs do mythology and religion serve in today's world and in ancient times? Here we discuss the relationship between mythology, religion and science from mythological, religious and philosophical viewpoints.

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Roncooper
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Post by Roncooper » Mon Mar 26, 2012 1:53 pm

CarmelaBear,

The thing that amazed me was the quality of the art in the "Cave of Forgotten dreams." We were lucky that it was sealed by a landslide, otherwise it would have probably been defaced.

I watched the film about the Shamen of the Amazon. This generated a whole series of thoughts and emotions.

First, what sort of a ding dong takes his one year old daughter and pregnent wife into a jungle? Then there was the conflict between big oil and the indigenous people, and finally, the question of shamanism and the use of drugs for religious purposes.

I personally think that any way that can help a person connect with the greater self is ligitimate and someone who has a shaman to help them along the path is lucky. Breakthroughs can come from living on mountain tops, living through battles, sunsets, and potions and we should be open to all these options.

One idea that came to mind about the conflict. The army and Big Oil were focused on more money and more power, and were destructive whereas the Shamen are focused on the development of the individual and are in harmony with the planet.

It reminded me of a 2,500 year old story from India. Some wealthy young men decided to have a picnic. Some brought their girlfriends but one or two hired prostitutes to be their dates. During the picnic one of the prostitutes stole some expensive items and ran into the forest. When the young men found out they chased after her and in the woods they came upon the Buddha setting in a clearing.

The young men told the Buddha the story and asked if he had seen her. He replied, Young men do not chase after the girl, chase after yourselves.

The shamen are gurus in a different setting. I have wished that I could bump into a holy man in the mall.

Ron
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CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Mon Mar 26, 2012 4:56 pm

Roncooper wrote: I have wished that I could bump into a holy man in the mall.
The JCF website might be the closest many of us will come to bumping into a holy person, if only by reference to the people we "meet" in text, pictures, video.

Most of us are probably on the same page with you on your response to the video of the shaman from the Amazon. The conflict with the oil companies is tragic for all of us, and the problem of criminalizing religious or experiential practices is one of the horrors of the last 50 years or so.

On the risks taken by the couple and their baby daughter, I see it as an illustration of how valuable some people find such experiences in spite of the contingencies involved.

One might ask---- why ever we would let little kids cross the street? How can anyone justify locating a family in an urban setting? Apparently being completely safe has it's drawbacks, too.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Roncooper » Tue Mar 27, 2012 5:25 pm

CarmelaBear,

Perhaps I was a bit harsh, but sometimes I see as a caregiver, and a caregiver considers the child the highest priority. We know that perhaps 70 million people have died from diseases when they went into strange environments. This was done by either introducing new diseases or encountering new diseases. Certainly the child was too young to get anything out of the trip, it was only a risk without benefit.

The more I think about it, this is another example of modern society that has lost its way. I remember Dr. Campbell's comment that we live in a society without proper rituals.

Specifically, we no longer honor the caregivers. They don't play a central role anymore. In a better world there would have been a group in the filmmaker's home town, and this group would have lovingly watched the girl during the trip.

Ron
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:23 am

Roncooper wrote: Perhaps I was a bit harsh, but sometimes I see as a caregiver, and a caregiver considers the child the highest priority.

Specifically, we no longer honor the caregivers. They don't play a central role anymore. In a better world there would have been a group in the filmmaker's home town, and this group would have lovingly watched the girl during the trip.
Do you mind my asking what you mean by "caregiver"? Are you a parent or a helper of someone close or, like me, do you actually have a job as a caregiver? With me, you don't have to worry about expressing yourself as strongly as you like as long as you assume the risk that I may respond in kind. It goes with the territory. You're new blood.

Caregivers are taken for granted. We are the ones with the greater fortune.

I wonder if the filmmaker and his wife would have trusted anyone to take care of their little girl? It's such a different world we're in now. We don't trust. We suspend distrust.

Family is complicated. I can only speculate, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the filmmaker needed the emotional support of his wife and daughter to keep up his courage for the trip, and the wife would not have wanted to be separated from him for the duration. It was an epic adventure for her as well. The daughter was part of the man's own skin. To leave the family behind may have been an awful possibility that trumped all the risk.

Campbell said that one's life is over when one becomes a parent. The risk aversion that you and I might suffer may not have occurred to the film guy at all. Maybe taking such risks is part of what makes his work so compelling for him.

I have to wonder whether he would ever take such a trip again.

~
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Cindy B. » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:03 pm

Hi, Ron, and welcome to the board. :)

I'd not watched the shamanism video that the two of you have been discussing, so just now I looked at a few minutes of its beginning. For what it's worth, I agree with you that it was beyond irresponsible to include a baby and pregnant wife on that trip. What were those parents thinking? Good grief.

Cindy
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:29 pm

Cindy B. wrote:Hi, Ron, and welcome to the board. :)

I'd not watched the shamanism video that the two of you have been discussing, so just now I looked at a few minutes of its beginning. For what it's worth, I agree with you that it was beyond irresponsible to include a baby and pregnant wife on that trip. What were those parents thinking? Good grief.

Cindy
They remind me of the folks standing around the corners in San Francisco's flower child days. There is a romanticism that overtakes what old fashioned folks like us would regard as common sense. I hope they learned something.
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Roncooper » Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:03 pm

Cindy,

Thanks for the introduction. I'm new to discussions. I had no idea how they stimulate thought. My goal is to keep the discussions entertaining.

CarmelaBear,

You are very perceptive. I do have a specific definition of a caregiver. In many of Dr. Campbell's books and lectures that I have taken in, he focuses on the universality of the mythological hero's journey and rites of passage, but he actually introduced two types of people, not one.

The first type, he says, do not need rites of passage because life happens to them. Also, they do not need a developed mythology because,"They are what it is all about." He called this type women.

The second type needed rites of passage to mature, and mythic hero's legends to be fully alive. This type he called men.

Given that he was a genius, who was born at the end of the Victorian era, and studied historical documents that were really old, I think he can be forgiven for these stereotypes.
But in the interest of developing a mythology for the modern world, I think these types should be redefined. For me the first type he was describing are persons who experience the eternal, meaning, or transendence through unconditional love, and I call these people care givers. They are of any sex or sexual orientation just as there are female hero's.

My wife is a classic caregiver. Some of her happiest days were spent volunteering at a day care center, which is something I would never dream of doing. Dr. Campbell was right when he said that she didn't need a complicated mythology. I have hounded her on the subject many times and finally she said her point of view was expressed in a song by Iris Dement, titled, "Let the mystery be." It is a very good song, and I recommend it. It was used in the opening scenes of Bertolucci's movie, "Little Buddha," so it has some pedigree.

For her sake, she experienced unconditional love on a daily basis. Concerning the lack mythology for caregivers I disagee with Dr. Campbell, and would like to mention two major examples. For those in the west we have the teachings of Jesus, and in the east there is Bhakti Yoga, and I'm sure there are many more. While Jesus' life was a hero's journey, his message was the path of unconditional love. He taught to not judge, love your enemies, take the log out of your own eye, thinking a sin is the same as doing it, etc. This is the myth of the caregiver.

The second type of person he discussed he called the hero, which is a good title, or perhaps competitor, of something better would serve today. He explained this path in detail so I will only say that this type of person needs to complete tests of self worth, and finds meaning in the code of honor that is found in the myths.

I'm going on and on. To wrap this up I need to say that a modern mythology needs to include not only both these types, but also the other three that exists today in a general way. These are the creative artists, who now have a very well defined path. I noticed there is a section at JCF devoted to myths for artists.

In addition, the new myth needs to include Buddhists and other students of consciousness, and it needs to include the path of the intellectual. The tricky part is providing the all encompassing framework where all these paths can flourish. Mankind is a mighty oak with five tremendous branches.

I'm just getting started, so it's time to stop, already.

Ron
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Post by Roncooper » Mon Apr 02, 2012 2:45 am

CarmelaBear,


I am guilty of too much jibber jabber.

Do you know anything about Kachina spirits?

Ron
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Post by CarmelaBear » Mon Apr 02, 2012 1:47 pm

Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Andreas » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:00 am

Cindy B. wrote:Hi, Ron, and welcome to the board. :)

I'd not watched the shamanism video that the two of you have been discussing, so just now I looked at a few minutes of its beginning. For what it's worth, I agree with you that it was beyond irresponsible to include a baby and pregnant wife on that trip. What were those parents thinking? Good grief.

Cindy
Ehhh.. Cannot let this one go! I'll quote you Cindy but I am answering to Ron also.

People have been living in the jungle for thousand of years! Check.

Women give birth in the jungle for thousand of years! Check

In the video I saw more children playing and living harmoniously with what WE call dangerous environment?! Check

The only threat that does not fit in the scenery is the Oil companies and the Medical Companies that irresponsibly steal knowledge and territory without any sense of respect so we can eat and use substances that are bad to our health, live in an environment that is for the most part unnatural, and then invent some new medicine to fix it! Check


To be honest I find living in the civilized world much more dangerous than living in the jungle!

That's all... :D
“To live is enough.” ― Shunryu Suzuki
CarmelaBear
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:02 pm

Roncooper wrote:CarmelaBear,

I am guilty of too much jibber jabber.

Ron
This is a place where we really, really like a lot of jibber jabber. The verbal gerbils are favored.

Trust yourself.

Carmela
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:11 pm

Andreas wrote: To be honest I find living in the civilized world much more dangerous than living in the jungle!

That's all... :D
People from Europe went into the jungles and exchanged diseases for which neither population had developed immunity.

The danger of any new environment may be somewhat balanced by the fact that exposure to certain flora and fauna as an infant can help the baby to develop immunities early in life, even if there may be brief periods of discomfort.

I'm glad I never had a bambino. Too much trouble. My planet and my humanity and my patient are quite enough responsibility. Check.
Once in a while a door opens, and let's in the future. --- Graham Greene
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Post by Cindy B. » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:28 pm

My maternal instinct still compels me to say, Andreas, what were those parents thinking...?

Cindy :)
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Post by Andreas » Wed Apr 04, 2012 1:44 pm

Indeed, Cindy, Carmela.

Personally I would not send my wife or child there but that is just me, that is also because I have lived in a certain environment my whole life, however, I felt that the whole point of the documentary was lost because of what we choose to focus on. Anyways just thoughts...
“To live is enough.” ― Shunryu Suzuki
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Post by CarmelaBear » Wed Apr 04, 2012 2:09 pm

In a way, our protectiveness toward the baby is related to our sense of what is truly sacred.

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