I need to go back and re-read John’s essay. But had some thoughts in response to some of what you have written above.
I really like the way John keeps both the collective and individual journey in balance (both of value.) This And/Both approach rings true for me.
Stephen, when you mention the “rugged individualist,” I know what you reference (i.e. one man testing himself against the elements perhaps of the wilds) so that old ax in hand image, which can go so many ways.
But this prompted other thoughts.
What about the need to step outside of the collective fray in order to not only go within but rejoin the collective refreshed?
Thoreau is probably a too stubborn example for today…
But what of Thomas Merton (who yes was part of a Monk community) but also emphasized the need for solitude before rejoining with others?
Kind of an And/Both at play.
Or Thicht Nahn Hahn? Also part of a Monk community. But between Thicht Nahn Hahn’s “inter being” and David Abram’s “Spell of the Sensuous,” what exactly is solitude?
Especially if one takes the approach of the more than human world/ecosystems around us and under our feet?
I thought what Thoreau was seeking and others was more of a re-connection when something was lost in the fray of life.
Or when some of the collective/s around are disconnected. Perhaps it’s the call to adventure that helps re-connect the collective/s? As John Bucher suggests?
I also think of the kid, who has a melt down at their own B-day party.
Do the parents work out the problem in front of all the guests?
Or does someone go to the child one on one and talk to them privately to see what’s wrong? And then the child comes out of his/her room to join the collective of the party (doesn’t have to be birthday) and the child is more relaxed? And starts playing with friends again?
Definitely an And/Both!!
The other thought was on “Myth being Managed.” Stephen, think you have hit it on the head! There was a similar idea discussed in a different myth blast. Really rings true to me.
I have a feeling that “myth can be managed,” is becoming as much an idea as perception.
And it’s becoming more popular. I have the impression it’s almost like the idea of myth as a tool, which can be used for a cause, solution or resolution. Not to say one can’t learn useful things from stories or be profoundly impacted by experience or that myths don’t have lessons within. They certainly do!
But it’s hard not to feel an energy of “managing” in the other ideas I mentioned above. Not unlike the person who thinks they can “choose” hero like a “career.” Misses the point entirely.
I heard an interview of this sweet elderly gentleman (a philanthropist but not one of the big names.) He had read Campbell and gone through his own dark night of soul with an illness.
He lamented “no one ever talks about the distribution part of the myths, the boons.”
And then he said “probably because it’s not romantic as the journey.”
So next he wondered “how can distribution be made to sound romantic like a myth…so people will be interested?”
He is a sweet man…well meaning…has helped people. But even that felt gently like “managing.” Put perhaps just me. Heh.
Whereas what both you and John are emphasizing is hearing the call to adventure (and answering it.) But you might not know where the road takes you (or us collectively as humans on space ship earth.)
And that’s the journey!