Reply To: The Principle of Honor: A Poor Substitute . . . ” with Craig Deininger, Ph.D.”
“To this “miraculous” turn of events, Campbell emphasizes that “through your own integrity, you evoke your destiny, which is a destiny that never existed before” (79). Of all things, be they Grail-specific or not, that one insight is profoundly inspiring: that our destinies (i.e., our stories) are surely not written in stone, and that they can be inflected and redirected at any point if we simply embrace the fact that they are only and ever our own.”
Wow; what great reflections you suggest on this timeless theme of the hero; who after all is really us but we don’t realize it. But that is the point of these mythical stories; to inspire us to take up our own journey and bring forth our own high adventure out of the wasteland. They elicit the echo of something that resides deep inside us that resonates that longing of authenticity that is missing. But how it is from our reluctance we feel hesitant and somehow not up to the task that keeps us from following our hearts desire. “Oh I couldn’t do that”; as Joseph recounts to Bill Moyers in the “Power of Myth”; “I couldn’t be that thing that calls to me; on no; I’m not good enough, or worthy enough.” But that’s the point isn’t it? That’s your potential life looking back at you and calling to you saying: “follow me if you dare regardless of what others may think”.
Now there are other calls to life to be sure; but all to often I think we look at models and ask: “where is the script?; where is the roadmap?; where are the directions that are suppose to be included?; don’t these things have directions on how to construct my journey?; which is after all my own myth; my life; that thing; that hunger; that feeling of incompleteness that won’t let me rest. Oh I’ll just go with the herd and get a treadmill job and be like everybody else because I want to fit in; and your point about Heinrich Zimmer I think is well taken because Joseph said what he learned from him was to interpret the myths out of what got from his own experience and not gluing himself to what somebody else said.
To me this is the authenticity of your own experience; and like the version of the Fisher King; the Fool responds with the question” What ails thee?” that restores the kingdom of wounded King because his heart told him it was the right thing to do; not what others might think.
As Joseph mentioned about Arthur’s knights at the Roundtable; “that they thought it would be a disgrace to go into the dark forest as a group; but to pick a point where it was darkest that each had chosen and to enter alone; because as you mention that point of honor refers to something in you; not the herd. Yes; we are social creatures and we are to treat each other as we would want to be treated just like the “golden rule” suggests. But our higher nature; that thing poets and artists refer to has to come from inside where the real depth resides; that thing that says: “I’m going to do this no matter what”; and we must respond with courage to face those things within ourselves that others may not like because we know it’s right regardless of what anyone else may think. Joseph mentioned the Grail was delivered by the neutral angels; and your life is like a wheel rolling out of it’s own center with you being in charge of your for and against; your yes and your no; it’s you who gets to decide what the meaning of your life is going to be. He also adds there are lots of meanings of life to choose from; lots of models; and that you need to find that thing that speaks to you and follow your own way. It’s not about one model being “the model”; you are the hero of your own life; and what speaks to the character of your own destiny is the call. You might have a little magical aid or advice at some point; but in the end what you honor is what your heart tells you is right; and that’s what leads you forward.
Sometimes there is inner conflict about what the right thing to do is and finer distinctions of judgement are called for; as the saying goes: “the head leads but the heart decides”; so now we are getting into Jungian territory.
What is keeping you out of the Garden? Is it guilt about something you’ve done; or is it shame about feeling unworthy? Does it have to do with what people may think? Or is it involved with doing something you don’t like? This list could grow from here; but life is not simple and doing what you want instead of what may seem as correct can muddy the water. Metaphors can offer assistance; but how you use them can pose a challenge and you are on your own using simple solutions to complicated problems that may not always guide you to where you thought you might wind up.
Redos or do-overs or train-wrecks may occur; so constant testing of the waters or seeing if the tightwire will hold you may be required as you make your crossings from one side to the other to get to your destination; and only to have it vanish before your eyes; (like the Grail Castle did for Percival). Yes; abstractions and literal interpretations are part of a larger mixed bag I think in not only how these mythic themes present themselves; but have a great deal to do with how we navigate them. Sometimes things will happen to you that will give you a clue to your adventure. You can be caught by something and be lead into the dark forest; or you can fall down “Alice in Wonderland’s” rabbit hole; or picked up by Dorothy’s tornado in the “Wizard of OZ” and hijacked from Kansas. You can intentionally seek out the Adventure like Arthur’s Knights did; or go along with Luke Skywalker following Obi-Wan Kenobi to find Yoda; or wind up in your version which never existed before and that’s the point I think; which is you have to watch and be aware of what’s going on in front of you. You are putting this thing together as you go along; making up your own model because life doesn’t tell you what it’s going to be. But Joseph also said if you put together a “scared space” and use it something will happen; that place where you find the things you truly love and spend time with them will help to point the way to where your heart and soul want to go.
Hope I didn’t go too far off point Craig; you’ve chosen a great topic of which Honor is a working compliment to a much larger theme; and I like how you’ve opened this up to explore more dimensions.