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Reply To: The Power of the Personal,” with Mythologist Dennis Slattery, Ph.D.”

Dennis Slattery

    Hi James: I am in Ohio for a week visiting family and friends so I may be a bit brief here, but wanted to check in with you and Shaheda:

    I love your observations and share Shahda’s gratitude for the Bill Thomas reference. I will get to his 17 minute Youtube talk very soon.

    We are living in a time when everything should be revisited, renewed, reknewed–as in known again–and reconsidered. What are the terms of being cast as an elder rather than an aged person? And what are the terms of being a youth–a puer–rather than a younger person? Big questions.

    For me, an elder is one who can provide the people of his or her culture a context, a long view of things rather than looking only into next Tuesday. I love it that Athene, once she gets Telemachos on the journey, sends him to Pylos and Nestor, the old Greek with the long view. There his liberal arts journey begins as Nestor carries the wisdom of his community, the travails of the war and even before that incursion. He has a perspective that comes with aging in consciousness, not just living longer. Only after Telemachos learns from him is he instructed then to sail to Sparta to the palace of Menelaos and Helen. There he meets the man who gives him the shorter view and brings him closer to his father. As you said above, we need both viewpoints, both worldviews, to mature into ourselves as individuals and as a nation. And as Athene is his guide, we need the presence of divine consciousness to accomplish the task.

    Our culture thinks liberal learning and the humanities are divorced from “the real world,” whatever the heck that is! They fail to see the utilitarian value of the insights into living a fulfilling and purpose-directed life and how the world of say, Homer, offers us a field in which we can imagine our own transformation. We all need rich, aesthetic fields of influence and confluence to individuate. You and Shaheda have chosen that path. You are both on the pilgrimage to elderhood. Bravo!

    More when I return home. Much gratitude to you both.