July 22, 2021 at 4:17 pm #74256Stephen GerringerKeymaster
Mark C.E. Peterson, Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies with the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (and President of the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture) is our guest this week in Conversations of a Higher Order to discuss “Lions, and Tigers, Athena, oh my!” (click on title to read), his latest contribution to JCF’s MythBlast essay series.
I will get the conversation started, but this is not an interview. Please jump in and engage Professor Peterson with your comments, questions, observations and insights, which is what will make this a true “conversation of a higher order.”
Mark – thank you so much for coming to play with us in COHO. Indeed, play seems the operative word here: your essay offers a playful approach to such a serious subject. Indeed, I suspect many people’s default setting is that philosophy (etymologically “the love of wisdom”) is dense, heavy, and all too serious. Perhaps you could take a minute or two to share your perception of the relationship between philosophy and play.
But before you do that, I am curious: what was your introduction to Joseph Campbell? How and when did you come across his work –was it a result of your study of philosophy, or did you bump into Joe before your academic career began – and what first intrigued you about his mythological perspective?July 24, 2021 at 6:28 pm #74275
Hi Stephen! It’s a pleasure to join the conversation!
I guess I was introduced to Campbell’s work by my instructor in kundalini yoga when I was about 18. So, starting around 1975 I began hacking my way through Hero and then all four volumes of Masks of God. I have to confess that it took YEARS to really get through the Masks of God. I guess I’m still reading it. ;^)
Hilariously, all of this was well before the famous Bill Moyer’s interviews, which I caught by accident. I had never seen or heard Campbell before so when I tuned in, late, to Moyer’s interview, here was this guy with a New Yorkish accent talking to Moyers about mythology.
“Huh,” I thought to myself, “this guy sounds exactly like Joseph Campbell… I wonder who he is?”
I had always loved mythology and was, by the time I discovered Campbell, already deeply interested in exploring religious symbolism. No other writing, at that time, had really done the work Campbell did to begin constellating these ideas into a coherent structure. Mircea Eliade and maybe Maria Gimbutas come to mind — but I was still years away from being exposed to their work. So, technically, a happy accident?
I imagine nearly everyone has a story about how they “stumbled” into Campbell’s work.
Philosophy and play? Grin, this has gotten me in a lot of trouble over the years, but here goes:
Philosophy tends to be a deadly serious business and, most of the time these days, is focused largely on the logical structure of arguments. This sort of attention to rigor and clarity is, of course, critically important when you want to unpack difficult ideas…. but…. it can also be deathly dull unless properly leavened with a bit of play. It’s easy to get stuck on logic in pretty much the same way Campbell warns us not to get stuck on metaphors. The logical structures of argument are the skeletons that scaffold and support our understanding but, think about it, fetishizing the skeleton over the body it supports kind of misses the point of living.
There’s a wonderful line at the end of Plato’s Republic where he says that enforced learning never stays in the mind and that education should be conducted more like play than work. My wonderful mentor in Philosophy, Robert Perkins, made a big deal out of this idea. Playfulness produces the kind of wonder about the world that helps us remember the most important thing: that we might not really know everything we think we know — that we might be more ignorant than we think we are.
Remembering our own ignorance might not sound like a lot of fun, but it’s actually liberating.
I mentioned it in the Mythblast but let me flesh it out here: wisdom, for Plato, meant recognizing your own ignorance. It takes a bit of chew-time to see how that works, but it’s a brilliant insight. Philosophy then, literally means learning to love this ongoing recognition of your own ignorance, of the limits of your knowledge. If you think about it, failing to recognize your own ignorance about — shoot, anything! — usually lands you in hot water, and so learning to keep an eye on that, and to enjoy keeping an eye on that summarizes my way of understanding philosophy.
If I really geeked out (Greeked out?) about this I’d mention Aristotle’s famous observation that all philosophy begins with wonder and I’d argue that it’s playfulness what gets us there.
One more Greek reference then, to bait the hook for our COHO:
Socrates defined philosophy as “conversation with your friends.” And that’s what we’re doing here!
MarkJuly 26, 2021 at 12:32 pm #74274
Fascinating and such a thought provoking topic – Athena, Medusa, Reflection, Wisdom and Stoned.
You wrote, “And suddenly, Athena made sense to me. Wisdom, which (for Socrates, at any rate) means recognizing your own ignorance, must only be approached after careful reflection. If you confront it directly, you’ll be immobilized?”
Metaphor of being stoned to me is also when one’s heart grows cold, like Scrooge, unable to feel the pain of the other. Four visits from the ghost of Christmas’ past compelled him to reflect upon his darkness and walk out of it. In this case, reflection was the saving grace.
But there is no immobility when we approach wisdom to simply philosophize, ask questions about life and death, seek wisdom on subjects that elude us. Dwelling upon death so as to approach it wisely does not immobilize me, it clears the fog, it demystifies the mystery, it eases any unnecessary anxiety around the issue. The immobilization is in facing our betrayals and wondering without reflection on our blindness.
So, am I right in saying that at times I have been stoned by Medusa (without reflection) and at other times, it’s just a play with Athena, without encountering Medusa?
ShahedaJuly 26, 2021 at 12:52 pm #74273jamesn.Participant
Hello Mark; a hearty welcome and so glad to have you with us. What a great reference topic to start this discussion with. For many of us I think as you suggest we discover Joseph often in unexpected ways. For me it was definitely a “dark night of the soul”; where I had been stumbling out in the desert wasteland searching for answers to questions no one could answer. And his ability to unravel all the deep inner conflicts I was experiencing in a way that made sense to me was life changing.
As you mentioned reflection is indeed the acknowledgement and engagement with our inner self; that aspect we think we know which includes not only aspects of what we know about ourselves; but also aspects we don’t; like our unknown face; and may also include our wounded side as well. This may involve a trip down into a cave; a place deep down inside ourselves where all our uncertainties, pain, and fears dwell; those issues and things that come up in later life waiting to be witnessed if we can only hear and understand what they are trying to tell us through those aspects of our Shadow side we may not know about that have been repressed. But there also resides an unknown dimension of our unrealized potential; those things we don’t necessarily know about ourselves that have never been given a voice or the opportunity to surface. And often we use our persona mask to hide behind so that no one will see us as we really are. It’s a crisis that many times Joseph describes as life drying up and a brand new adventure is required to address it. And it may involve wrestling with inner dragons or seeking new domains or finding that inner child you forgot was locked down there and needs healing; and as you suggest it starts with reflecting and contemplation and perhaps “play” to bring it forth as Jung did with his Red Book.
One of the things that Joseph mentions in many of his Jungian lectures is it surfaces through our blind side that others see but we can’t. Those moments when we show a side of ourselves we may not even realize is there while we are doing it. And he also mentions that one of the great tasks of later life is to try and integrate this dimension of ourselves with the other side to become a more balanced and fully realized individual. In several of these lectures he recommends thinking of this as a “parallax effect”; (driving from both sides of the road at the same time; or steering from the middle of the road while balancing your view of traffic coming from both directions). Easier said than done of course; but his point is that of attempting to access your weaker undeveloped side of yourself so that whatever conflicts are blocking your ability to move forward can be released and you can move on.
If you are moving into retirement for instance and holding on to your persona identity as who you are the mask is probably at some time going to crack because you are moving into a different stage of life; and not adjusting to this new reality arrests this process. So in essence you must take a little trip down into to your unconscious and get to know your other side which often times may be your wounded self. Reflection challenges you to acknowledge this unknown dimension and entreats or invites you to enter into a dialogue with this other half and to hear it’s message; especially through your dreams. And whether you are thinking in terms of the Labyrinth, the Minotaur and that little piece of string to help you find your way out; or some other motif your myth is your guide; that inner intuitive voice that Joseph mentions may come in the form of magical aid that can give you some kind of symbol to hold on to in your journey into the dark forest of your unconscious.
And so you become the hunter, the detective, the Grail Knight with no compass or clue except your own instincts seeking a North Star of your Marga Path with only your heart to guide you. Many forms this adventure can take; but only you can go and there are no set rules for how to get there. The Greek civilization gave us so much and your examples are some of my very favorites; but for a moment I want to go back to play and childhood and the gentle humanity these stories can help provide.
It just so happens that I grew up around the Parthenon where that magnificent shield of Athena is displayed at her side; and much of my youth was informed by the presence of this incredible building and continued on throughout the goings and comings of my entire life. But something mythical happened one night that forever changed the way I saw and interpreted my story or myth that told me this whole inner landscape of mine had changed. We each have a quest or inner drive Joseph informs us that seeks to express itself; and if fortune is with us a threshold is crossed and an life achievement of some sort is acquired; the arch of life from youth to old age and death has stages and the requirements of life corresponds to them. And I had just retired from my adventure as a musician of 45 years; and was going through my new adventure/individuation process and was at loose ends of what it all meant; and this moment is where my particular reflective transcendent portal opened.
I had just taken up photography and was out for an early evening shooting expedition because dusk is the golden hour when the light is special and had come to my favorite place which just happens to be the park where the Parthenon is located. This was shortly after the Parkland School Massacre around Christmas time back in 2018; and right next to the Parthenon is a special shrine to the victims of teenage gun violence. The shrine was decorated with Christmas lights and displays that children might enjoy and was it packed with grieving parents and family commemorating their loss. Seeing this impacted me profoundly and I was determined to come photograph it when no one was around to listen to it what it had to say. As I returned later and quietly explored the different viewpoints to take my shots I began to hear the voices of the parents coming to grieve their loss and as the weeks and months rolled by I began to go back and explore all the different childhood stories and authors and teachers from my past up to the present and listen to their voices and what they had to tell me.
There would be Christopher Robin; and Mr. Rogers and all these: “once upon a time” characters from my youth and their stories and the books about childhood teaching development and childhood violence and the gun lobbyists demeaning the Sandy Hook Massacre because of efforts restricting gun rights; and all of this information was rolling around in my head until I began to get a better sense of what it was working inside me. Movies, books, and documentaries followed as I began to explore this voice it became incredibly clear that this was a synchronistic influence in the path I had been on exploring what was leading me forward. But what I could not have realized was it was the wounded voice from my childhood calling to me and informing me of what my myth was really about; and that a much deeper reflective excavation into my cave was going to be in order to heal from my past. And so the new journey began.
More Jung and Campbell; more research on different themes where I was always following this inner voice that kept leading me. My newest endeavor I have been reading is some of the work of Jungian Mario Jacoby; but I want to leave a link to a piece by the Smithsonian Magazine about: A.A. Milne, A teddy bear, his son Christopher Robin; (aka Billy Moon); but more importantly it is about childhood and the things a child needs facing a modern world; and the relationship between parent and child. I hope you’ll read it because it has something to say in connection to many of these themes in this post and in relationship to the new possible Covid world looking forward. The movie: “Goodbye Christopher Robin” is easily available online for those interested; but the article; (at least to me); reflects how the inner world of both child and adult are inter-related; and how one’s myth can change. When I found my earlier calling as a musician it was because I was motivated by earlier childhood trauma to find a safe harbor through which I could seek expression. But what I later discovered was a much stronger more powerful drive that allowed me to survive and thrive; but at a cost of which I am now starting to discover and heal. This article illustrates what can happen when fame robs a child of their sense of self; but also at the end how reconciliation can help restore meaning to a broken relationship.July 26, 2021 at 5:14 pm #74272
In“MythBlast: Lions and Tigers and Athena, Oh My!” by Mark C. E. Peterson, Professor Peterson deduces that the Gorgon Medusa on Athena’s shield is a metaphor that one approaching wisdom is turned to stone, that is, unable to proceed until certain steps are taken. I feel his analysis and insight is brilliant and urge anyone reading this note to stop and read Peterson first.
Unfortunately the rest of his lecture, in my opinion, misses the deeper meaning. Peterson’s explanation focuses on the experience of frustration everyone has when stymied by a new problem and their need of reflection to resolve the issue. It seems to me there is a much more profound application of this metaphor.
Often when working on my own most personal issues I run into a block as solid as stone itself. It occurs like this: I become troubled by something seemingly incongruous. The tension appears to lie deeper than the immediate annoyance, leading me to question whether there is some unconscious content manifesting in otherwise innocuous events. Some brief introspection leads to a tantalizing connection that in turn brings a brief but sharp realization.
Here is where outcomes vary depending upon whether I have assistance similar to that from Athena enjoyed by Perseus in facing the Gorgon.
In the absence of outside encouragement to stay on track the defense mechanisms of my psyche kick in to stonewall my progress. I most often am led astray to some banality or another, missing the opportunity for integration.
However, if I am working through this process out loud with a qualified analyst, I am kept on track. No matter how I deflect the process the Jungian analyst challenges me to continue on the original track. In the best result unanticipated understanding was ripped from my throat as if cried out by another, more primordial creature. The catharsis was so profound it changed the direction of my life, quite literally.
Since then, the most profound epiphanies have resulted, in my own experience, from recognizing the mechanism of avoidance and deflection and pushing through these brick-wall barriers. The metaphor of Medusa turning to stone those who seek inner wisdom is, in my opinion, both valid and universal.July 26, 2021 at 7:02 pm #74271
your point, “The metaphor of Medusa turning to stone those who seek inner wisdom is, in my opinion, both valid and universal.”
As I understand (Please correct me if I am wrong) Prof. Peterson’s point is that in dealing with Athena (seeking inner wisdom) Reflection is one thing that will let you bypass Medusa otherwise Medusa will be there along with Athena, all the time. My sense, maybe subjective, that interacting with Athena, I am able to skip Medusa when the subject is not entirely personal. It’s the personal element that has the capacity to stonewall one.
ShahedaJuly 26, 2021 at 7:57 pm #74270Stephen GerringerKeymaster
for sharing your experience of Jungian analysis, which is such a useful tool for reflection.
Of course, it’s not an either/or situation; reflection can take many forms (the word-limit placed on MythBlast essays makes it difficult for Professor Peterson to explore every possibility). Transpersonal psychologists are also helpful in providing guidance; within the Twelve Step tradition, many find their sponsor and the collective meetings invaluable aids in reflection (indeed, considering Jung’s influence in the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous, no surprise that program fosters deep reflection that can transform one’s life).
For myself, the past three decades I scribble anywhere from 2,000 to 5,000 words a month of reflections in my personal journal. It took a lot of work to be able to let go and trust the process to bypass ego, but this has made all the difference for me (amazing the depth of wisdom in one’s own soul, once we learn to step out of our own way). As Campbell notes, the mentor within (what Campbell’s and Jung’s good friend Heinrich Zimmer termed “the regent within”) has much to offer.
But, especially when starting out and facing the Gorgon’s gaze, an outer guide, like your Jungian analyst, is so essential to, as you put it, evade “avoidance and deflection” and help us push through those barriers.July 27, 2021 at 5:10 am #74269
The ego misperceives Eternity, Necessary Being, Absolute Truth as petrification, paralysis, the negation of all possibilities.
In reality, however, Eternity, Necessary Being, Absolute Truth is the realization of all possibilities, and the realization of this realization, and the realizatio0n of the realization of this realization — ad infinitum.
Whoever breaks into the Temenos on the basis of violence, like the Titans, or foolishly blunders into it, like the devotees of Dionysus, is immediately turned to stone — whereas anyone who realizes It beyond the veils of chaotic distraction and unyielding self-will has, like the Buddha, found the Adamantine Point, “the still point of the turning world.”July 28, 2021 at 6:11 pm #74268
I’m going to stick to the metaphor as literally (!) as I can… I’d say you can’t get to Athena without getting around Medusa first, that’s why she’s on the front of the shield. Once you’ve done it, I think you might be in good shape for the future — like getting around any threshold guardian maybe? Once you see them for what they are, they lose their fearsome aspect.
I like the phrase “simply to philosophize”. Seems to me, if you’re actually engaged in “philosophy” then that’s the one specific time you *don’t* need to worry about being turned to stone. :^) That kind of philosophizing requires maintaining a recognition that you don’t know everything you think you know and… finally, a state of wondering or wonder. Those alone usually prevent getting fossilized. :^)July 28, 2021 at 6:18 pm #74267
Winnie the Pooh may be the true beginning of wisdom, if we work the metaphor differently. And no snakes!
I’m reminded now of a line my brothers and I were terrifically fond of… from the expedition to the North Pole maybe? we used to go camping a lot and, inevitably, would get lost. There is a wonderful line where, I think it’s Pooh who says, “I recognize this, it looks exactly like it did the last time we got lost.” I think I’m remembering that right. 🙂
I kept it fairly simple in the newsletter, but as you notice this idea of refusing to acknowledge parts of ourselves about which we are ignorant gets deep very very quickly. There is a Jungian shadow lurking in this idea and I also keep going back to Campbell’s discussion in Hero about infantile cathexes and what’s required to get over them. Phaeton crashes the solar chariot precisely because he thought he knew what he was doing. If he had just taken a deep breath and reflected on his situation, he might’ve been okay.July 28, 2021 at 6:24 pm #74266
Thank you so much for the kind words. I did have to keep it fairly simple to stay underneath the required word count. 🙂 As I mentioned in one of these other threads, this idea of failing to acknowledge our own ignorance – as a way of understanding wisdom – wanders off into the deep end of the pool very very quickly. As you’ve noted here in your own response.
But I might have been clearer about what Medusa means to me. It has nothing to do with frustration. That’s not the experience I’m referring to. The experience I’m referring to is where your cognitive faculties completely lock up…. which seems to me to be where you’re headed in your response. I did mention reading Hegel, 🙂 and if you’ve tried to do that you know exactly what I’m talking about. Your brain tries to stop you from going any further. For me it felt literally like being frozen, as opposed to frustrated.
If I’m reading you right, I think you’re adding a wonderful addition to this metaphor – that business about being led astray into endless banalities. That happens to me all the damn time. 🙂 I would venture to say that these distractions are easily represented by the snakes and Medusa’s head. I had to cut a section out of the article to fit the word count but it was my yoga instructor who first pointed out the snakes. She asked me, “what does Medusa have on her head?” I said, “snakes.” She said, “do the snakes look happy?”
That booming buzzing confusion that happens when we approach wisdom without proper humility can be avoided by pursuing endless banalities instead. But these have the same effect of freezing us in our current situation, of aborting any further personal development.
does that make what I was saying a little clearer? Thank you so much for your comments.July 28, 2021 at 6:27 pm #74265
My sense, maybe subjective, that interacting with Athena, I am able to skip Medusa when the subject is not entirely personal. It’s the personal element that has the capacity to stonewall one.
It’s a fascinating thought to consider the degree to which our personal attachments condition our pursuit of wisdom. my immediate reaction is to remember that differential equations were totally impersonal to me and yet they froze me to the bone. 🙂
Maybe it was my reaction to my inability to grasp the concepts, rather than the concepts themselves, that froze me?July 28, 2021 at 6:31 pm #74264
Sounds about right! I guess I would just add that we don’t need to be Buddha in order to get past Medusa. Thank goodness! But getting past Medusa is probably a good step toward Buddhahood. And since you mentioned T.S. Eliot here, there is a whole possible discussion built around the role that poetry plays in getting us to wisdom that cannot be accomplished merely by prose. But maybe that’s best left for another time. 🙂July 28, 2021 at 7:29 pm #74263
Yes, thank God we don’t have to be perfect before we can approach Truth—even though the Zen people say “if you want to be Enlightened, first you have to be Enlightened”, which is probably their approach to the Socratic/Platonic anamnesis, education-as-remembering what you already know.
As for Medusa and Athena, if only they could be neatly differentiated so we could deal with them one at a time! The problem is, Athena is susceptible to transforming into Medusa in the twinkling of an eye. And, yes, you do have to get past Medusa before you can encounter Athena—that’s why Medusa’s head is on the Aegis as the guardian of the temenos of Wisdom—but you can’t do that without the help of Athena from behind the scenes, as we learn from Homer. Without Athena’s secret aid, how could Odysseus have possibly dealt with Circe?
Medusa as the guardian of the Temple of Athena is the Greek translation of “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom” (Psalm 111). Medusa is FEAR, petrifying fear. Her snake-hair is the tangle of toxic thoughts that fear produces. The question is, WHY DO WE FEAR WISDOM? Because (as the Muslims say, Sufi Islam being my own path), in order to realize Truth we will need to “die before we are made to die.” That kind of death is actually more terrifying than physical death because we must go through it in full waking consciousness. If this weren’t the case, so many people wouldn’t end up sacrificing their lives on the altar of their illusions.
Jesus said “He who tries to hold on to his life will lose it, but he who loses his life for My sake (for the sake of Truth) will find it; take up your cross (the cross of contradiction) and follow me.” But he also said, “My yoke is easy and my burden light.” When the ego confronts Truth directly—and the ego includes the thinking mind attempting to operate on its own without input from the higher intellective consciousness, the Nous—the contradictions, the dvandvas, the pairs-of-opposites, the Symplegades, will thwart it and crucify it. That’s why we need to begin by confronting only reflections of Truth, to see it only “in a glass, darkly”. This is the raison d’etre of the Sufi method of teaching (at least initially) through allusion, indirection and symbolism—Homer’s method as opposed to Plato’s and Avicenna’s, though both Plato and Avicenna also employed symbolic narrative.
I just asked my wife Jenny to name of the Power that can overcome the fear of Wisdom. Her answer was, LOVE: “Perfect love casteth out fear” (John 4:18).
~~ CharlesJuly 30, 2021 at 10:50 pm #74262jamesn.Participant
Mark; what a great metaphor of Helios’s horses and Phaeton’s inability to control them because of his unawareness of how powerful they were. And as you suggest this is much like our understanding of the forces that lie within us and our ability to realize not only what they are but if unidentified how they can wreck havoc within our lives. Indeed much of both Freudian and Jungian analysis has to do with identifying these things and how learning to understand their influences can help to unravel many of the problems we experience and to lead more harmonious and meaningful lives.
This calls to light something I was hesitant in bringing up because I wasn’t quite sure how this topic was going to unfold so I’ll lay some things out that I think have relevance. Indeed the Greeks gave us so much in the way we think about myth; not to mention other areas of human culture; but concerning my query I want to focus in on how we approach the gods as representative of something that lies within us instead of outside us; and so much of the terminology that we use verifies this. And given that understanding one of the things that might be interesting to bring in to this discussion is the importance of (complexes and archetypes); and how these various constellations are formed in our life affect not only our behavior but go so much deeper into our individual experiences and begin surfacing in later life from repression.
Myth and symbol in human culture has so much to do with how we as human beings see the world around us and our place in it; especially the way we draw meaning from it and our relationship to life. And as Joseph Campbell has shown us throughout his work over the grand landscape of human history our myths help us to navigate our lives in a way that succeeding generations can draw wisdom from if interpreted properly.
As in your metaphor of Athena’s shield with the Medusa’s head as gateway for reflection; indeed the human psyche contains within it emotions that if left unattended can lead to disaster as in Phaeton’s lack of judgement. But we also know that identifying the root causes that produce much this inability to understand our inner landscape can also lead to healing as in the story of Pandora’s box with “hope” being the last thing to emerge out of the box from the unleashing of the troubles that plague mankind.
There are so many stories the Greek’s gave us that have been used throughout the centuries as metaphoric references to mankind’s timeless replays of human struggles to understand who we are. And as a philosopher deeply immersed in this background I was wondering if you might share some of your thoughts on this. For instance; the difference between an archetype and an archetypal image would be interesting for starters for we know that a “complex” is a grouping of related images held together by a common emotional tone. But we also know that often these things are sometimes confused because Archetypes themselves which are not necessarily observable have more to do with the way a complex and archetypal images are structured; and that each individual has certain innate tendencies they are born with that illustrate their own particular uniqueness. (Referenced from pages 9-12: James A. Hall’s – Jungian Dream Interpretation; very brief description mine. There is of course so very much more to this topic but I’ll use these and the next few sentences for an opener.)
So now we have the this Jungian cosmology of the psyche and all these archetypal influences that are constantly bridging and influencing our experience of reality. The objective psyche; or collective unconscious and consciousness of the outer world; and the personal unconscious and consciousness of the inner world; in constant interplay filtering our experiences through (the ego, shadow, persona, and anima/animus) where we encounter these timeless themes which bring up these various complexes we have to assimilate. So we now must (re)interpret experiences from our childhood which fire up our emotions; (which often blind us to what is going on downstairs in the unconscious); and like Phaeton or Pooh is not quite sure what is going on.
I often think about what these Greek images have to tell us about ourselves; as many others that Joseph mentions throughout his work. And being able to bring this wisdom into a modern context; as with Jung and all the other people working in this field I think has never been more important. One only has to look at their newsfeed to see all the emotional chaos in constant collision during a time when a horrific virus pandemic is in play. One would like to think the approaching ecological issues would bring people together; but I think we may have to first figure out how to talk to each other before we can actually get there; (and this is where the Archetypes live).
Your posts have been a joy to read; and I hope my request is not too convoluted to fit here and something you might enjoy responding to.
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