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Reply To: The Sacredness of Rituals,” by Kristina Dryža”

Richard Sumpter

    Not long after Trump was elected I came to the conclusion that the main distinction between conservative and liberal boiled down to the apparent fact that the right privileges individual liberty and the left privileges the common good, albeit there are many nuances.  Having concluded this, I was  distressed that I was engaging in such a dual thinking modality.  Campbell was quite emphatic about this phenomenon in several places in The Power of Myth where he spoke on the “pairs of opposites”.  Individualism and common good should not be seen as either/or.

    In an effort to see this in a non-dual way I came up with an analogy using the act of breathing.  Breathing is one thing, but it is comprised of dual actions: inhale and exhale (which are not in opposition).  We cannot do only one and survive.  The inhale can be seen as the service of self, and the exhale as giving back to the community.  Similar to the hero’s journey, s/he goes forth (individually) and returns with a boon for the community.

    Another duality I have trouble resolving is history/time.  Most indigenous and nature religions see time as circular (cyclical).  The Judeo-Christian traditions see it as linear (having a telos).  I tend to view it like a slinky pulled apart.  It is both circular and linear.

    A fellow pilgrim.