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Reply To: Myth: The Grammar of Creativity,” with Bradley Olson, Ph.D.”

Bradley Olson

    Thank you both, Sunbug and James, for such an enthusiastic engagement with this topic. It’s very gratifying.

    As regards your question about systems, Sunbug, of course these “control systems” often act as a defense not only against the mythic life or the experience of transcendence, but they are defenses against any inner life at all. There is a kind of pacification encouraged by them, an inclination to see and live life only on a surface level. The goal is not necessarily a humanistic one, but rather an economic one, which tries to convince people that happiness is found through consumption, that being hypnotized by one’s 100 inch TV is the summon bonum of contemporary life. That said, systems are not always bad in the sense that one doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel and that sort of thing. Flights that leave on time, education, well stocked grocery stores, good health care, etc. are all good and fine things. But one mustn’t be lulled into thinking that that is the only way to live or organize one’s life. Mythic thinking let’s us occupy a “both and” way of seeing life; of seeing that in one area or another one may step outside the system or, conversely, go with the flow depending on one’s particular needs or aims at a given time. Mythic thinking frees one from convention and reclaims one’s agency (to the degree that we have agency) in the living of one’s own life. Of course when we ignore the inner world, we create an untenable psychic imbalance that, if we remain unaware, results in some degree of catastrophe. By being conscious of the systems and how we do or do not choose to participate in them allows a more harmonious relationship to life, and we can become more reconciled to the conditions of living–a tremendous achievement in itself–and from that place we then open ourselves to the possibility of the transcendent.

    Thanks again for your contributions to this topic!