Hello Gabrielle, so nice to have you back among us. You’ve picked a real dandy of a topic in our present situation of distinguishing fact as truth/reality as relating to disinformation/misinformation concerning what is perceived as real by someone else. So let me put this another way, that perception of reality as interpreted through the lens of one person is not going to be quite the same as someone else. Yes, we know or understand the nature of this idea; or what we might call perception as truth; but we also know what an illusion is; but the idea of what makes up a lie can be tricky. In other words, we can think of this idea as a non-truth or a distorted truth, something completely false or untrue but also has an intention to misinform, misrepresent, or deceive; but it’s goal is the same to change something into something else; usually for a purpose.
Now truth in western philosophy might be one thing, but the way individuals perceive something may not be quite so ethereal, if I’m making sense so far. Keat’s lovely poem about truth and beauty may lose something in the translation when confronted with an individual who refuses to wear a mask or social distance themselves during a Covid lockdown, especially where public safety is concerned. People that have a decent background in science usually know what a virus is, but this is not the same kind of understanding that often should transfer over to the discussion about Separation between Church and State.
So, now we get to Jung and Campbell and their ideas along this matter. Campbell’s idea of the Earth as a symbol of the new religion to come, and Jung’s understanding of how the human psyche interprets reality. Many people remember the wonderful movie with Spencer Tracy called: “Inherit the Wind”; where science; (namely whether or not “Darwin’s Theory of Evolution” should be taught in public school systems because it conflicted with the fundamentalist Christian interpretation of the Biblical story of Genesis) was put on trial. And wouldn’t you know it here we are again with people not trusting medical science because of conspiracy theories. And because Covid is nowhere near being done, we now have this regenerated mistrust of what is factually verifiable, (i.e. by scientific research), and the idea of a “personal God”, (e pluribus unum), holding sway over people’s idea of what is real or just conjecture.
Now I’m not as anxious to get into the concepts surrounding religion as I am addressing the Jungian model of perception itself; (things like: “projection, repression, depression, complexes and all this kind of business and the way people perceive their own version of reality). In other words, how these kinds of things affect how people perceive things and inter-relate with each other and what this has to do with a person’s idea of their own sense of “truth”.
I loved the way you started this off with the understanding that myth is not a lie, but a metaphor. That is to say a kind of symbolic reference that Campbell once mentioned from Zimmer, that the best things cannot be told because we are talking about the transcendent. And there is a wonderful example he used to illustrate this in a radio talk show where he realized after arguing with the host about whether myth is a lie or not, he realized that the man didn’t know what a metaphor was and called him on it.
“It’s hard to think of a concept more slippery, more contentious or more fraught, than that of truth. The United States has reached a level of polarization around concrete concepts in science and human rights that’s hard to wrap one’s head around. A prolonged pandemic keeps us separated from our flesh-and-blood communities and kettles us into online spaces that, by design, make it easier to craft our own reality. Our immediate communities become more abstract, more rooted in ideology than mutual support and human interaction—precisely the opposite of what we need in a country of increasing violence, disinformation, and extremism.”
So, since you started off with this; (I think very appropriate topic for the times in which we are now living); you might dig a little deeper into this particular Jungian/Campbell relationship of these ideas. Projection for instance would be one area since Jung says cut-off all projections to understand (what is going on under-the-hood), so to speak, of the individual’s psyche concerning the unconscious. Or as Jung might further add: “making the unconscious conscious”. I hope this question is making sense because you framed this topic so beautifully.
Again, a very warm welcome back.