Monday, December 20, 2004

A Member of the Human Race

Unfortunately the problems of the world continually afflict my consciousness. I somewhere got the dim idea that my psyche could perhaps be relieved by talking about them. Here's another:

Our dear departed Joseph Campbell gladdened the minds of most of us in former years. I found his first book, The Hero of a Thousand Faces scintillating and would recommend it to anybody. I had some problems with Joseph, but one thing he said impacted my brain with an eternal shock.

He talked about the three stages of human consciousness:

In the first the focus is on the family. Dad (or Mom) is God; we children without question believe and obey what they say.

Then the child goes to school, enters the outer world, makes friends, forms attachments and has moved into the tribalistic stage. The top friend takes the place of Dad or Mom. The facet of tribalism that got my attention was this:
All positive affect is focused on the tribe, and all negative affect outside. (It made me think of the
Japanese (of World War II)-- beautifully courteous and considerate of their own, and excessively brutal of others; they were a tribe with a vengeance (I know I'm in grave danger of being corrected, and can only say that I have great admiration for the Japanese of today.)
A tribe can be any social group: neighborhood gang, glee club, athletic team, church, nation.
It's a tribe because it looks inward and has no use for the rest.

The third stage is to join the human race. "Love your enemy, pray for them that despitefully use you..." We're all headed for the third stage, but pray God it may be soon.


Meredith said...

I see we resonate with some of the same people - Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell. I love both of these great thinkers. They have contributed so much and certainly have enriched me. Two of my favorite quotes from them are these:

"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart...Who looks outside dreams. WHo looks inside, awakens." C.G.Jung

"If you are attached to the rim of the wheel of fortune, you will be either above going down or at the bottom coming up. But if you are at the hub, you are in the same place all the time, centered." "...Where ever you are - if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment (the waters of eternal life), that life within you, all the time." Joseph Campbell

It is impossible to define these two wonderful people in a few short words; their contributions could be studied for a lifetime.


Larry said...

Thanks, Meredith.
I think you will find William Blake was a precursor of both. All three were 'originals', that is to say, individuals in the highest sense; they had important things to say to us.
Blake is distinguished from the other two in that he came to a Christian perspective.

Meredith said...

Thank you, Larry. At your recommendation, I look forward to reading some Wm Blake.


isaiah said...

Interesting post. I discovered Campbell in my teens and that led to Yung and so many others.

I agree we are heading for the third stage but we have both feet still implanted in the second and are just now beginning to recognize the way.

Things progress in a order beyond reason, I believe. There is a reason we are so firmly planted in nationalism, tribalism. Until we learn the lessons of the second stage we cannot move on to the third.

Thanks for your presence and words.