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Reply To: Metamorphosis: Dreaming the New Songs,” with MythBlast author Kristina Dryža”


    Hello Krystina,

    Thanks so much for allowing this chance to engage us, your audience, on your latest mythblast contribution. I enjoyed reading Metamorphosis: Dreaming the New Songs thoroughly and can readily see the way you apply your insights into archetypal patterns of beauty and wholeness directly into your writing—for one could just as well sing your essay as read it in silence!

    The last Campbell quote in your mythblast, however, did provoke in me a critical reaction:

    “For myself,” Campbell writes, “I believe that we owe both the imagery and the poetical insights of myth to the genius of the tender-minded; to the tough-minded only their reduction to religion.” (Flight of the Wild Gander 55)

    As all of us who have studied Jungian psychology know, this old distinction between “tough and tender-minded,” formulated by William James in the late 19th century, became “updated” in the difference between the extraverted and introverted types in Jung’s typological theory. But Jung himself disliked the way in which such typological categories or “instrumentarium” could be used to divide humanity in wholesale numbers and reduce the concrete differences of personality into rigid ideological abstractions. But that is precisely what Campbell does in the quote above—does he not? And if we are specially interested in restoring a sense of wholeness, how could we raise our glass to the introverts of the world only, that is, at the exclusion of the extraverted exponents of our human kind?

    Going a little deeper with Campbell’s quote, we may ask whether it really is the case that extroverts are incapable of mythic consciousness and can only serve to bastardize it—as Campbell pejoratively understood the sense of religion—with their literal-mindedness? Does not the literal also belong in a genuine sense of wholeness? Otherwise, our sense of being “whole” would remain imaginary and not an actual existential reality. It seems to me that in a properly integrated self, the literal becomes just as vital as the symbolic—especially for introverts!

    Logically speaking, that is, quite apart from Campbell’s personal convictions, the depreciation of the “literal” goes hand in hand with the depreciation of Matter—our Great Mother—and our material bodies. One might even say—and many Jungians have said— that such a bias is pure patriarchy or even “misogynistic” in this regard, even while still nursing this same self-same ideological bias against the literal or against the “tough-minded” perspective on life!

    So in the last analysis, how can we endorse such a rigid distinction between myth and religion, the symbolic and the literal, as Campbell does. Although he is not alone on this, for Jungianism in general and archetypalism in particular also seem to share this same ideological phantasy, one that paints the “literal” as somehow the enemy of the soul. I would love to hear your thoughts about all of this and more.

    Thanks so much in advance!