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Reply To: The Child of Symbolic Disguise,” with Norland Téllez, Ph.D.”


Thank you sunbug,

Yes, I do think it was James Hillman who first suggested to me this dialectical reading of Campbell’s work, turning around the concept the hero’s myth into myth as hero. It is an old dialectical trick but it does yield, sometimes, profound shifts of reading.

The idea of “good vs bad guys” is of course an ideological stereotype of the split of the archetypal image which is already deployed for propagandistic purposes. “Good vs bad guys” is a piece of propaganda and the opposite of true mythology.

This is why the word myth, in its deepest sense, has much to do with truth—or as it is put in the Popol Vuh, Its Root Ancient Truth. This is where its true archetypal power lies. We should never attempt to dissociate myth from its existential ground of truth. This existential ground, which is the ground of our self-becoming in time, is the mythic image of The Journey as the potential you write:

“For me I thought it was about The Journey and figures who represent the potential within all of us. The goal of the myths in my mind was never about someone becoming a hero. It was about the journey to me. And we all face journeys every day. To me the becoming a hero was a “side effect” of the journeys. People could do heroic deeds or find their courage but even small deeds can be heroic.”

Yes, I do think I can spend more time developing this sole concept the idea of myth as hero, and I think that understanding the central role psychoanalysis plays in this re-visioning of myth is part of this journey of understanding.

And maybe I wonder if the whole integration process of the myths was more about becoming fully human and universally aware than just waiting to be titled a “hero?”

Yes, the integration process is a key part of it and it is precisely the piece that requires that delicate dialectical process of what a Jungian analyst Wolfgang Giegerich has described as “absolute negative interiorization”, which he describes as follows:

In the exploration of outer space, docking on another spacecraft or landing on a new planet would mean having left this Earth. In the inverted world of the soul this is different. Catching up with what has been projected far out into space or into the future does not imply a journey to it at all. It implies conversely that the intuited reality affects you while you are staying right here; that it “dawns” on you, “comes home” to you, reconstitutes your own mind. My catching up with it means its imperceptibly catching up with me, but as if from behind or from within myself. It means my being contaminated with or infected by it. This is what is meant by “absolute-negative interiorization” being reached and moved by it (like by an object loved), in contrast to a being physically pushed or pulled or manipulated. It is like being overcome by an insight. There is absolutely no violence in this being moved or overwhelmed by what is catching up with consciousness, nor in the subject’s catching up with it: my intently, but passively looking and looking at the projected image is its coming home to me and surprising me one day from within as my own way of thinking. (The Soul’s Logical Life 147)