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Reply To: The New Old Age” with Monica Martinez, Ph.D.”


A warm welcome back Monica, and what a terrific topic you and Stephen have started off with.

Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung together make quite a pair of resources to draw from concerning how an individual can make sense and meaning from one’s life, especially given the complexities and confusion a person can encounter in today’s modern and technically driven society that has a tendency to ignore and dominate man’s inner world. And indeed, since Covid many of the things that have driven man’s search for identity and spiritual harmony have been negatively impacted in a social context through all the misinformation and disinformation surrounding politics and social media that it’s so easy to get disoriented and lost in the forest of our own complexes and lose our way.

Diane Osbon’s wonderful book: “Reflections on the Art of Living – A Joseph Campbell Companion” was an incredible helpmate in tying together so many loose ends and pulling them into a cohesive narrative when many of us first encountered Bill Moyers interviews with Joseph in “The Power of Myth”. It was truly lifechanging and helped to bridge and make comprehensible so many unanswered questions that modern society and standard religious themes were just not addressing. Then came Carl Jung as Joseph began showing how man’s inner psyche held many of the clues needed to unravel and address many of the problems people have encountered throughout a human lifetime.

So, what do these have to do with (me?); one might ask? Well, as we began to find out quite a lot it seems; and as the next book; a collection of Campbell’s lectures; was released: “Pathways to Bliss”; some of themes that Joseph utilized throughout both his teaching career and as a world-renowned Mythologist and writer became accessible in a larger context than were covered in Moyer’s 6-part video collection; and along with Osbon’s book more of Jung’s ideas were now added to the mix. These ideas for many of us were revolutionary; especially if you were brought up surrounded by a culture with strict religious: “Thou Shalt” directives. And the idea that your own story, your unique individual identity, your “personal myth” were just as valid as any religion was mind-blowing to say the least. Not only that, but that you had a Hero’s Journey ahead of you to find out what this thing was, and that it evolved over time. (The left-hand path is a perfect example of the threat to orthodox religion this realization posed.)

So, now we get to Jung’s idea of “Individuation” which both you and Stephen mention and I was wondering if you could talk a bit about something; Juan; another member brought up in a separate conversation recently concerning how easy it is to lose our “Ariadne Thread” and how it relates to our “Labyrinth” where our “Minotaur or Dragon” lives; and how in “later-life” this becomes a major concern because of what’s buried in the unconscious and wants its’ voice heard. (Yes, as we find out, this is a late life issue of huge importance.) And I say this because one of the things Joseph mentions is the Shadow as vehicle of this voice also contains “untapped values and goals” that have not been expressed. All those dark secrets and pain from early childhood that have been “repressed” are now stirring in later-life because this stage is about finding “meaning”. This is a standard mythological motif and may as a metaphor provide a window into one’s inner suffering that will come calling whether we like it or not. The question is: “will we listen to what it’s trying to tell us?”

I very much look forward to exploring this idea with you because as an analyst you will have a unique perspective that could be very helpful for many of us struggling with these kinds of things.  Again, so good to have you back. Namaste