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Note: re-edited a longer ramble on same subject of Transcendence. Hope this shorter version is a little clearer and more on track (less side roads.)
If anyone saw the earlier ramble (decided to keep on back file in case there is confusion) but if Not cool. 😎 then this will be a fresh start.
P.S. have a thank you paragraph to Stephen and JCF for this site, but may post later.
The definition of Transcendence
When I first read Campbell, my sense was that Transcendence evoked the idea of “going beyond” or “pointing beyond.”
Joseph Campbell’s words brought this image to mind. All those little g Gods pointing beyond themselves or even an individual who comes to awareness that pulls them out/away from ego.
Or what you think you know, you do not know. That A.U.M. at the end of Power of Myth series…the Ahhhh…
Transcendence had this all encompassing and expansive sense.
(Encompassing more than oneself alone, hinting at shared horizons) Or at least that is how it seemed to me. Really loved that.
Or Transcendence could represent a challenge (pulling one or more to an edge, a mirror, an Awareness.)
But today, I notice a tendency to see transcendence as old-fashioned, out of date or outmoded or not applicable.
I understand these critiques, when it comes to the limited patterns of some hero quests.
But it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around something that “points beyond,” and is all encompassing but open like Black Elk’s hoops center everywhere, circumference nowhere…it’s hard for me to imagine something like That somehow being retro or outmoded.
First, I thought it might have to do with Campbell hinting at mystery, but maybe that makes this subject lean too metaphysical for some modern scholars.
Then, I thought maybe Transcendence is being defined differently today in some circles. i.e. instead of Transcendence defined as “pointing beyond” or literally “to go/know across/beyond” or to a horizon…(open ended…)
Maybe transcendence is being defined today as “turning away,” (i.e. from society/community etc)
So That would make sense and explain WHY there would be this different response to transcendence. (A concern that transcendence would or could pull or inspire people away from social duty.
Sort of like the man so determined to prove his spirituality by praying for hours on end, but he does so at the expense of his family, community and health. Until a guide or Angel or God comes and says “you are missing the point. This isn’t it.”
But guess I’ve never thought of transcendence as something you choose to find, but rather something that finds or happens to a journeyer/s along the way.
Maybe there is a choice eventually, but more about being open to the boon of awareness and choosing what to do with that gift given afterwards.
It seems to me, that a transcendent experience if accepted, could re-engage (and help re-integrate) a person in a meaningful way, when they return to their village. Or have a similar effect even on a group of travelers.
That their experience might inspire them in such away, that the boon/gift/awareness could be given to or shared with others. Or that compassion would wake in them unbidden and they would have to answer its call. An inspiration pulling towards…not away…
But, it also makes sense that if certain concepts are defined differently, then debates and arguments are not directly over those concepts but rather the definition OF those concepts. (Or Translations)
And that is what makes for such tricky navigation in conversation and working through such heady material from Joseph Campbell to Carl Jung and so many more. Why CoHo really is CoHo…conversation of a Higher Order!
I might ramble off on tangents but am sensible enough to know I can be a Took. Laugh.
And Stephen or any others are welcome to disagree with me…that’s part of what makes for interesting and healthy debate!
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