I was recently thinking about novelists such as J. D. Salinger, who write their big story like The Catcher in the Rye and then retreat from the public. I suppose it’s like one of those naked dreams, where you the dreamer are the only one naked and you (I) am trying to be normal while overwhelmed by the inequality of exposure. Of course, everybody is actually naked much of the time but its good manners to pretend otherwise. Most of us agree on that.
I’ve never tried to write fiction. Good fiction puts me in awe because it is truly the creation of an alternative world and that seems godlike. Then I recall how most of us play god much of the time. We take it for granted until we are challenged personally by a circumstance beyond our control threatening life and home and then we cry out for the Big Guy’s help. It seems that personal power is like a feather in the wind.
Considering how hard humans try to play God it is hard to believe they would do so without an archetypal model with the qualities they seek. If there were no God, why would we try to be like God? Apparently, there is a missing archetype that we are covering for. It’s different but similar to saying that humans and animals are really biological machines when it should be obvious that machines are attempts to replicate the functions of biological entities.
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A long time ago, when I was spending a lot of time in Boulder Colorado, I was in a group that began with tasking each participant to write an autobiography. The group had a Jungian emphasis but based on Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces. Since Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell were heroes of mine, I thought this would be easy. The results were embarrassing. Most of our stories were about how life had given us a bad deal, and we were here to find recognition that we are actually heroes or heroines in process. In other words, we wanted to be special. Since then I’ve experienced that heroes or heroines are never special. They’re scared stiff until they learn to be nothing but the choice between two scary possibilities. It’s kind of like running from a tiger until you come to a cliff. The leap of faith is desperation. Special has nothing to do with it. In fact, they are often the least likely in the community to do anything special. By being a long way from feeling like gods, they allow the real god force to use them.
Anyway, the gist of what makes a story powerful is that great stories move us because they put us in a vulnerable state that moves us to jump off the cliff of the known world in desperation along with the protagonist. It stirs the emotions necessary to break a spell holding us inside a jail of deception. Really, emotion is where our development and powers are forged. Human emotion is awesome while also being very dangerous when ill directed. Anyone as destructive as we humans has a lot of power but we focus it willy-nilly like a baby with a gun. On the whole, that is what we are, very dangerous babies in the universal sense. Our cleverness has far outrun our wisdom, which is another way of saying that the brain has become detached from the heart. Even science is beginning to recognize that the heart actually does have a distinct intelligence that seems to function independent from the ego.
I believe that healing and cultivating the heart chakra is the only way we can save ourselves. The media culture of our time has a vested interest in a starved hungry heart and encourages all kinds of addictive fixes that bring us increasingly under the controllers thumb. Love is food for the heart. I don’t mean lust, craving, obsession or fantasy. None of these is love, just substitutes for its absence.
The heart is at the center of life. This is physical, symbolic and emotional. When the heart goes bad, everything else is doomed. For me, digging my heart from under many layers of shame, disappointment, false hopes, toxic cultural values and fear is my greatest challenge. Remember what I said in a blog about the Black Smoke Beings; they feed on negative emotions and they are real. They serve the bad guys and you and I are their food source. Your bad heart both physically and emotionally (think heart chakra) is their apple pie. Perhaps you’ve noticed that all your TV shows, especially the news is constantly feeding your hunger with crap. It may not look like crap at first but think about it. What is the message? Be thinner, be more beautiful, be noticed, find your perfect job, be healthier, feel better, find love, and prepare for a secure future. Then there is a barrage of mass shootings, bombings, murders, wars, killer storms, environmental disasters and political bad actors, interrupted by ads for fast food and automobiles. The message is always; whatever you need, you don’t have it.
You can only find God with your heart and that leaves out Scientific Materialism, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve and politics. God is love and love is the glue of the universe. A bit of that glue is sitting in your heart waiting to put you back together.
Three thoughts: “If there were no God, why would we try to be like God?” Just maybe because they fear there is none, hence must create one (in “our” image) - and quickly. It's a martyr complex in reverse. Instead of dying, we live forever.ReplyDelete
Second, right about Boulder – people “wanting to be special,” a polite understatement.
Third, I liked Campbell too, but in my opinion (as I remember it) Hero With a Thousand Faces was one of the worst books on myth ever written. I think it was because Campbell was still an academic and just starting out (1949). He's lightened up considerably since then, and I'd recommend anything after it.
Third, some good thoughts here. I like the concept of writing our own stories as we journey along. We also need to remember - they're just “novels.”
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