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“Love Will Make You Do Crazy Things,” with Mythologist Norland Téllez

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  • #74791

    Mythologist Norland Téllez, Ph.D., returns to Conversations of a Higher Order (COHO), referencing “The Slap” that Best Actor winner Will Smith delivered to comedian Chris Rock at this year’s Academy Award ceremony to launch a discussion of the downside of Eros in this week’s MythBlast essay, “Love Will Make You Do Crazy Things” (click on title to read).

    MythBlasts this year are exploring the concept of the Hero – not the traditional, straightforward narrative many have come to associate with this mythological motif so much as the myriad complexities and contradictions embedded in that image. June’s theme is “The Trickster,” which may not be what immediately springs to mind when we think of Love, but, on reflection, certainly seems apropos.

    I will get us started, but we both want to hear from you. Please help make this a true “conversation of a higher order” by engaging Norland (and each other) with your own thoughts, observations, comments, and questions about his essay.

    Norland – a fascinating take on Eros this week! Of course, whether the abrupt and violent drama playing out onstage at this year’s Oscar ceremony, or the recent shocking testimony by both parties to the televised suits that captured the attention of social media and celebrity gossip outlets the past six weeks, one could make the case these are aberrations – relationships corrupted in the glare of the Hollywood spotlight.

    Your discussion of the relationship between love and crimes of passion returns us to the real world and tragedies that are all too common. I’m curious, though, what you would say to those who declare that the relationship that spawn such crazy, violent actions are not example of real “true love” – which begs the question “what is true love?”

    (At the same time, I doubt there is one among us who hasn’t experienced in our own lives the power of love to make us do crazy things – hopefully, for most of us that’s something silly or embarrassing rather than criminal. Indeed, on more than one occasion I have been challenged by those who claim the rational, conscious ego is either all there is to the individual, or that it’s the ego that is “in charge.” My go-to response is that all one has to do to dispel the notion that the rational ego is in control of one’s psyche is to simply fall in love . . . )

    So, before we dive too deep, let’s define some terms. How would you respond to those who claim what you describe is not true love?

    #74799

    Thank you Stephen, it is a pleasure to be back in the mythic dimension with you, especially now that we are dealing with such a mighty God as Eros. For like all Gods, Eros greets us with its paradoxical nature.

    I would say that my mythblast is less about the “down side” of Love than about attempting to look at the paradoxical totality of what Love is.  Also observing our theme of the In-Between, I wanted to begin to show that Love is indeed something that lies between true and false, between right and wrong, between agony and ecstasy, while quite capable of reaching these extremes at any one point and only for a moment in the pendulum swing of mighty opposites.

    Taking our Will Smith example, the question whether his slap of Chris Rock was an act of “true love” is rather debatable. Its authenticity or inauthenticity is not self-evident. Can we really deny Will Smith’s claim that it was an act of Love? By what objective measure can we rank the authenticity of Will Smith’s love in his own mind?
    Can we really say that he was lying when Smith said:

    “I’m being called on in my life to love people and to protect people and to be a river to my people.” “It’s like I want to be a vessel for love.”
    Or was Denzel Washington not right when he said to Smith: “At your highest moment, be careful. That’s when the devil comes for you.”

    What is difficult about my topic this week, is that it asks us to connect the highest with the lowest values with respect to Love in order to reveal the full phenomenological range of this archetypal force of Eros. As it is told in the Symposium, Love has a paradoxical character due to its mixed origin, being the offspring of Penia, goddess of Poverty, and Poros, a god of Plenty. Let’s hear Diotima tell the story to Socrates:

    On the birthday of Aphrodite there was a feast of the gods, at which the god Poros or Plenty, who is the son of Metis or Discretion, was one of the guests. When the feast was over, Penia or Poverty, as the manner is on such occasions, came about the doors to beg. Now Plenty who was the worse for nectar (there was no wine in those days), went into the garden of Zeus and fell into a heavy sleep, and Poverty considering her own straitened circumstances, plotted to have a child by him, and accordingly she lay down at his side and conceived love, who partly because he is naturally a lover of the beautiful, and because Aphrodite is herself beautiful, and also because he was born on her birthday, is her follower and attendant. And as his parentage is, so also are his fortunes. In the first place he is always poor, and anything but tender and fair, as the many imagine him; and he is rough and squalid, and has no shoes, nor a house to dwell in; on the bare earth exposed he lies under the open heaven, in-the streets, or at the doors of houses, taking his rest; and like his mother he is always in distress. Like his father too, whom he also partly resembles, he is always plotting against the fair and good; he is bold, enterprising, strong, a mighty hunter, always weaving some intrigue or other, keen in the pursuit of wisdom, fertile in resources; a philosopher at all times, terrible as an enchanter, sorcerer, sophist. He is by nature neither mortal nor immortal, but alive and flourishing at one moment when he is in plenty, and dead at another moment, and again alive by reason of his father’s nature. But that which is always flowing in is always flowing out, and so he is never in want and never in wealth; and, further, he is in a mean between ignorance and knowledge. The truth of the matter is this: No god is a philosopher. or seeker after wisdom, for he is wise already; nor does any man who is wise seek after wisdom. Neither do the ignorant seek after Wisdom. For herein is the evil of ignorance, that he who is neither good nor wise is nevertheless satisfied with himself: he has no desire for that of which he feels no want.” “But-who then, Diotima,” I said, “are the lovers of wisdom, if they are neither the wise nor the foolish?” “A child may answer that question,” she replied; “they are those who are in a mean between the two; Love is one of them. For wisdom is a most beautiful thing, and Love is of the beautiful; and therefore Love is also a philosopher: or lover of wisdom, and being a lover of wisdom is in a mean between the wise and the ignorant. And of this too his birth is the cause; for his father is wealthy and wise, and his mother poor and foolish. Such, my dear Socrates, is the nature of the spirit Love.

    The nature of Love as the offspring of Poverty and Plenty seems to describe a well-known pattern of archetypal functioning as in the Rise and Fall of civilizations. This pendulum swing of phenomenal energy is a movement the Ancient Greeks called Enantiodromia.
    Jung used this term to designate a broad regulative principle of the psyche which could help to explain the “crazy” dynamics of Love in all its manifestations. So Jung wrote under “Definitions” in Vol. 6 of the Collected Works: Psychological Types:

    [¶709]     I use the term enantiodromia for the emergence of the unconscious opposite in the course of time. This characteristic phenomenon practically always occurs when an extreme, onesided tendency dominates conscious life; in time an equally powerful counterposition is built up, which first inhibits the conscious performance and subsequently breaks through the conscious control. Good examples of enantiodromia are: the conversion of St. Paul and of Raymund Lully, the self-identification of the sick Nietzsche with Christ, and his deification and subsequent hatred of Wagner, the transformation of Swedenborg from an erudite scholar into a seer, and so on.

    This is in keeping with the daimonic nature of Love, which is really what I wanted to begin to explore in my mythblast. A mythic perspective on Love rather than a moral, ethical, or spiritual/psychological one. As much as possible, I wanted to steer clear of any moral or ethical preconceptions that would artificially impose a limit on the phenomenology of love. In the mythic view, as I understand it, the phenomenon of Love comes fresh out of Nature, in the savage reproductive power of life. Both Freud and Plato recognized this more-than-human origin of Eros as the very nature of the human soul. For Eros is a harbinger of the most metaphysical desire of all, a symbol of the “mystical” immortality of death-drive: the sexual union with God.

    So as you can see, the question of “true Love” is in a way beside the point. Nevertheless, were we to take it up, the notion of true Love would still get dicey and complicated. For true Love is not without its own set of paradoxes, which may put true love, for example, at odds with the legal frameworks of the moral law. True love can still make me act in criminal ways in the eyes of the State and vice-versa.

    When we look through the lenses of conventional morality, of course, we can draw a clear dividing line between “true” and “false” Love. The true corresponds to conformity with the moral law and the false with insubordination. But when we look at Love through the eyes of myth, the way the Greeks did, the paradoxicality of Love is allowed to come to the surface in its full spectrum of appearance. Rather than a fixed substance in time, Love is a spectrum of libidinal energy running through a river of self-becoming in time. Eros is the Fifty Shades of Grey for the desire of being itself, as Plato clearly saw in the Symposium.

    #74798
    Robert Juliano
    Participant

    I have seen many attempts to see this incident in terms of myth and in terms of depth psychology, attempts which use everything except what I feel is most appropriate to this incident – and that is the literal interpretation of the events. Before I read the comments of author and social critic Fran Lebowitz with which I largely agree, I was asking others to consider the possibility that he was fully conscious of what he was doing. Because, it didn’t seem to me that there was any eruption from the unconscious which would make him lose control. It seemed to me that he was in full control and might have fully intended to do what he did. And I was completely unconvinced that he did any of this to ‘defend’ his wife. This was why when reading analyses having to do with the powerful influence of the unconscious, I felt they were giving Will Smith a pass. Quite frankly, that angered me.

    Now, Fran Lebowitz’s comments are absolutely spot on. She wrote:

    Will Smith was well aware that he was on television. It’s not like he lost his temper or something because there was too much time between those two things. He didn’t jump up right away, he sat there at first, he laughed, though I’m sure he didn’t think it was funny. Everyone knows, if you’re sitting there, there’s a high chance you’re on TV and that is why, when they announce the winners, they shoot to the audience and they show the losers, and all the losers know that they’re being shot and they smile and they applaud, even though they’re thinking, ‘I should’ve won!’

    It’s not the first time someone got angry at a joke, but it was outrageous to me that he did that, it was outrageous to me that they let him sit there, but most outrageous was that self-serving, self-regarding speech that he made, with the tears — which were for himself — and the way that he talked about himself, which is not uncommon in Hollywood. … That speech was ridiculous and outrageous.

    A lot of people tell me that when Will Smith got up, they thought it was a bit, but I didn’t. I knew that he was going to hit him because I could see by the way he was walking that it was real. I also could see — and I hate to use the word ‘thought’ in regard to whatever went through his mind, such as it is — but he knew he was going to do it, and it seemed pretty clear to me that Chris didn’t, because naturally it’s really unusual for someone to get up and hit someone during the Oscars.

    I mean, just think about this – Will Smith has been an exceedingly popular actor and public figure for at least 3 decades. He has long been under intense public scrutiny and he has played roles which have garnered him both admirers and detractors. He has also done some pretty bad things which will result in big criticism (e.g., his treatment of Janet Hubert). So, with all of that experience of intense scrutiny, horrid and unfair judgements, etc., do we really think he lost it at one of the most visible forums in the world? Really?

    Sometimes, we have to consider that the literal and the mundane yield a far better and more accurate picture of the unfolding of a given set of events.

    #74797

    Thank you Robert, I see you’ve missed me 😉 I do appreciate your thoughts and comments in our COHO series as well as your challenges to my line of argument.

    What you say about the literal mundane explanation vs the mythic or “spiritual” perspective is on point with Diotima’s lesson to Socrates. She precisely brings the phenomenon of  “correct opinion” as one of those in-between creatures that dwells in the heart of humanity between ignorance and wisdom. As Socrates explains:

    […]  that Love was a mighty god, and likewise fair and she [Diotima] proved to me as I proved to [Agathon] that, by my own showing, Love was neither fair nor good. “What do you mean, Diotima,” I said, “is love then evil and foul?” “Hush,” she cried; “must that be foul which is not fair?” “Certainly,” I said. “And is that which is not wise, ignorant? do you not see that there is a mean between wisdom and ignorance?” “And what may that be?” I said. “Right opinion,” she replied; “which, as you know, being incapable of giving a reason, is not knowledge (for how can knowledge be devoid of reason? nor again, ignorance, for neither can ignorance attain the truth), but is clearly something which is a mean between ignorance and wisdom.” “Quite true,” I replied. “Do not then insist,” she said, “that what is not fair is of necessity foul, or what is not good evil; or infer that because love is not fair and good he is therefore foul and evil; for he is in a mean between them.” (<http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/symposium.html&gt;)

    In the case of Will Smith, whether he “lost it” or was in full possession of his wits, I think public correct opinion is on the side of “he lost it.” That doesn’t mean that he was possessed by an alien force which turned him into a puppet literally. The idea of “losing it” itself is, again, a metaphor, another perfect mean between being conscious and unconscious of what you’re doing. It is certainly not a scientific expression but it is nonetheless accurate: “They know not what they do,” regardless of knowing that they’re doing it. For today, even in the case of a psychotic break, we don’t literally believe the devil made him do it.

    This is the advantage of the true mythic perspective, in my opinion, one we want to cultivate with the works of Campbell and beyond. It is a perspective that allows us to look at the phenomenon whole and not split along ideological lines, extremes that are only half truths blown to the proportion of a Total Lie.

    Love, above all else, lies in this daimonic zone of the inbetween which Plato brings to mind in the Symposium.

    #74796
    Robert Juliano
    Participant

    Let me first begin with the lesson Diotima teaches Socrates in Symposium. My translation comes from the book Plato: Complete Works edited by John M. Cooper and is different than the one you used. Instead of “correct opinion,” my translation has “correct judgement” which is between, not ignorance and wisdom, but ignorance and understanding:

    It’s judging things correctly without being able to give a reason. … Correct judgment, of course, has this character: it is in between understanding and ignorance.

    Diotima also expands on this in-between saying that “Gods do not mix with men” and, instead, it is spirits who facilitate the connection reminding us of the daimon (δαίμωνdaímōn, “dispencer, lesser god, guiding spirit, tutelary deity”), though it is not clear to me how much the ancient Greeks differentiated the daimon (e.g., in Philemon’s Sermons, there are daimons and half daimons [e.g., the dove of the spirit]), and the “spirits who facilitate the connection” sound like half daimons. She describes these spirits as being “messengers who shuttle back and forth between the two, conveying prayer and sacrifice from men to gods, while to men they bring commands from the gods and gifts in return for sacrifices.” And she says that everything spiritual is in between god and mortal.

    In the lesson, Love is held to be between mortal and god – one of the spirits. And it facilitates the movement from the mortal seeing beauty in a given thing upward to seeing Beauty itself; from the particular up to the divine Beauty.

    However, this in between is not where I want to be on this issue. I want to remain strictly on the mortal level of things. I am, in this context and at this moment, completely uninterested in the spiritual in-between or the level of the gods. I want to remain with the “human, all-too-human.” My reason is that bringing in expressions from other than the human realm (e.g., the image, symbol, metaphor) can blunt the impact of the events in question. Sharp words and reason, however, can get to the types of subtleties and needed judgements that images cannot reach, either due to the emotionality of the image or to the limitations of what the image can express. We understand such views from the work of Dr. Wolfgang Giegerich and other scholars of PDI (Psychology as the Discipline of Interiority). Crucially, for now, I am uninterested in the “correct judgement.” I want to stay on the realm of understanding, not between understanding and ignorance. I do so because I feel it is premature to immediately bring in expressions from the higher realm. For me, I want to use understanding as a step toward the in-between realm. I want to first do the kind of legwork that requires (i.e., gathering facts, reading opinions, reflecting, analyzing, etc.). I am not yet ready for and haven’t yet earned the passage to the in-between.

    There was no beauty or subtlety in what Will Smith did. No saving image, no foundering hero, no tragic figure. On the contrary, it was an ordinary man who used cold hard reason in executing his action. I don’t want the expressions of the higher realms to blunt the full impact of that observation. He acted like a common thug dressed in a fine black suit. And as a long time admirer of his talent, I am deeply disappointed!

    Crucially, what hasn’t been discussed very much here are the statements that he made after he returned to his seat. Those statements looked planned to me (i.e., planned as he returned to his seat and possibly as he was planning to stand up and go on stage). I didn’t see any authentic emotion when he made those profanity-filled statements. They looked to be statements formed by cold hard reason, the cold hard reason being applied to how those statements would be interpreted, not necessarily the statements themselves.

    In the Apocrypha addition to Luke (Luke 6:5) contained in the Codex Bezae Cantabrigiensis, it says “On the same day, seeing one working on the Sabbath, he [Jesus] said unto him: ‘Man, if indeed thou knowest what thou dost, thou art blessed: but if thou knowest not, thou are cursed, a transgression of law.'” Now, by some such as Jung, this has been discussed in the context of knowingly committing evil because one has found it is the correct action for the circumstances instead of blindly following what is held to be right which would be the wrong decision in that context. I believe Will Smith knew what he was doing. But, is he blessed? Certainly not!

    Finally, let me respond to your statement “For today, in the case of a psychotic break, we don’t literally believe that the devil made them do it.” On the contrary, some do, even in modern depth psychology. Some hold such figures to be real (Elijah tells Jung in his Black Book experiences that he and Salome are real, not symbols). Consider the following: In 1936, Jung published a deceptively simple but highly controversial 15 page paper entitled Wotan. As a view of Germany at that time compensatory to the existing view of the state of that country based on economics, politics, military strategy, etc, Jung held that it was the German people who were in a state of being seized (ergriffen) by the Germanic god Wotan (Norse: Odin). Now, we could simply say that was a metaphor or image. However, if you read the Black Books carefully, Jung has multiple confrontations with a figure Jung later realized was Wotan. Now, Jung held that it was not Dionysos who held Nietzsche, but Wotan. Interestingly enough, Jung himself encountered Wotan in his Black Book experiences (January 6, 1922 and January 2-3, 1923), and we are told by Dr. Sonu Shamdasani that Jung, unknown to him at the time, had encountered him when he was but a child.

    Thus, sometimes we do, indeed, see our symptoms such as experiences of psychosis as being the manifestation of a given figure like the devil, and not in a metaphorical way (i.e., we say the devil literally was involved). Now, whether it is to the patient’s benefit to always psychologize this is unknown to me.

    #74795

    Norland,

    I’m generally more interested in the mythological and archetypal perspective myself. Hard not to imagine Will Smith was driven to some extent by unconscious impulses. Watching this unfold in real time, the anger seemed clear and cold, defying rational thought and oblivious to consequences (if he’d thought about it, seems he would have known there would be consequences). Twenty minutes later, after Smith had a chance to absorb the reactions and realize what he had done, the confidence of his actions melted away into a rambling, disjointed, quavering, self-justifying semi-apologetic acceptance speech. I doubt he consciously, intentionally planned to make a fool of himself in public, have to resign from the Academy, lose out on more than one multimillion dollar project and risk being “cancelled” . . .

    (Though I’m not sure Love is entirely to blame – seems there has been a longstanding personal drama in play – and then I am also intrigued by Will Smith’s vision on ayahuasca, shared with David Letterman before the Academy Award ceremony, that his career would be destroyed and he would be cancelled . . . a wild and shattering premonition!)

    But that episode is not what your essay is about – it just provides a catchy entry into the subject – so though everyone has thoughts about “the Slap,” don’t worry about falling down that rabbit hole; there’s no need to re-litigate a subject that was debated ad nauseam over social media.

    Returning to your theme, a “mythic perspective on Love rather than a moral, ethical, or spiritual/psychological one,” isn’t it Ovid who avers Eros was the first of the Gods? Is that resonant with your point that “the phenomenon of Love comes fresh out of Nature, in the savage reproductive power of life”?

    #74794
    Robert Juliano
    Participant

    As you know, Orphic theogony is different from Ovid’s theogony in Metamorphosis and, of course, Hesiod’s Theogony. It is based on the writings of singer, musician, poet, and prophet Orpheus, the legendary founder of the mystery tradition of Orphism [to be accurate, there are a number of Orphic theogonies whose creation spans from the 5th century BC to the 6th century AD, working with which involves us in a great deal of complexity]. In one of these Orphic theogonies, the firstborn god and the primordial god (protogenos) of creation is Phanes whose name means “bring to light” or “make appear” and comes from the Greek verbs phanaô and phainô. In the Orphic texts, Phanes is variously described as a “beautiful, golden-winged, hermaphroditic deity wrapped in the coils of a serpent,” a “beautiful, a figure of shining light, with golden wings on his shoulders, four eyes, and the heads of various animals,” and the Firstborn god who is “the two-​bodied god, is both male and female, has golden wings on his shoulders, heads of bulls on his sides, and on his head is a serpent that changes into the shapes of different beasts.”

    The various Orphic theogonies describe Phanes as being hatched from the world-egg. In one theogony, there are described three triads:

    The first triad (Intelligible Being) with the water, the mud, and Chronos from whom being first became intelligible; the second triad (Intelligible Life) with Aither, Chaos, and Erebus, described as “nebulous,” the power from which life sprung; and the third triad (Intelligible Intellect) with the egg as both male and female and the hermaphrodite Phanes, through whom life is dispersed into the lower levels of the Neoplatonic metaphysical system.

    According to Orphic Fragment #89, Orpheus affirms that Phanes “is the Parent of all the Gods, on whose account He framed the heaven, and provided for His children that they might have a habitation and place of abode in common.” In Orphic Fragment #65, Phanes is part of the trinity which includes Mitis and Irikæpaios which are really one power and the strength of one God whom no one can see. This one power is ineffable, and from it, all came into being, both that which is perceptible and that which is unseen. And in Orphic Fragment #82, Orpheus is said to link the God Phanes to that of the intellect and the intelligible:

    Unfolding into light the intelligible unities; and gives to it various forms, as exhibiting in itself the first cause of intelligible animals. He also inserts in it multiform ideas, as primarily comprehending intelligible ideas, and calls it the key of intellect, because it bounds every intelligible essence, and connectedly-contains intellectual life.

    Thus, from an Orphic perspective, it is the intellect and the intelligible which comes first, qualities which, in my opinion, need to be the first ones applied to this case of Will Smith.

    #74793

     

    Thank you Stephen, thank you for bringing us back to the mythic dimension; after all, this is what we have to offer here at the Joseph Campbell Foundation. Anyone looking for something else is welcome to search elsewhere.

    Despite their significant differences, James Hillman is in total consort with Campbell on one fundamental thing (something I also share with them): rather than teaching us literal myths, both these men were much more interested in teaching us to think mythically. This is the task, this is the toil; it is the way of the complex dialectics of depth mythologizing, as I understand it.
    And you are quite correct to surmise that the main interest of my blast is not “the slap” per se. As you said, ever since the event took place, we have been bombarded and ate up slews of the common-place “human-all-too-human” talks and rants—whether psychologistic, moralistically, and “spiritualistic” or pseudo-mythic— ad nauseum and there is no need to repeat all that noise in here. What we do here is something more special, indeed of a “higher order.”

    As mythologists, our duty is to teach how to think mythically—or I would say, mytho-historically. Our job is to see what the mythic perspective can add to the fundamental understanding of an event or experience.
    So far I really haven’t seen any serious attempts at doing this. That is why I turned to Diotima who can still teach us how to think mythically about Love and its paradoxical nature. For Love is not a purely spiritual entity; neither is it purely mundane commonplace. The dialectical essence of Eros permeates both higher and lower worlds.

    Holding on to the paradox of Love, tarrying with its negativity, can teach us a lot about how to think mythically. Diotima begins her lesson by telling us not to confuse Love with a purely “spiritual” or metaphysical agent, and neither reduce it to a purely mundane force. Diotima challenges the all-to-easy dichotomy between the spiritual and the mundane and begins to unveil a third option, in strict dialectical fashion. Diotima thus puts into a motion a kind of dialectical movement which follows a logic of its own. Enduring this process, both categories of the “spiritual” and the “mundane” are rendered false in their isolation and alienation from each other; they become pale abstractions, modes of false consciousness, in the libidinal investment of a juicy ideological fantasy.

    The belief that there can be a purely “human” world, without the contamination of the “divine,” therefore, is itself one of these ideological falsefications. This splitting of the opposites continues to be my litmus test for ideology and ideologues. You only have to observe how comfortable they feel when hung on the cross of the “tension of opposites,” where they must tarry with the absolute negativity of the unconscious, and not succumb to a hard dividing line between worlds or modes of explanation. The rigidity of this divide tells you all you need to know in a given case. Didn’t Brad Olson recently write a mythblast on “Blurring Boundaries”?

    In view of this general lack of dialectical imagination, I thought an exploration of the Symposium could get us closer to the goal of an authentic mythic consciousness of Love in our midsts.

    What do you think?

    #74792
    Robert Juliano
    Participant

    We should, indeed, follow Joseph Campbell’s approach here. When it came to exploring the underlying reasons behind the existence of universal mythic themes, he focused on two fundamental reasons, both equally important: the first was acausal in nature – the depth psychological hypothesis of archetypes, the representations of which included the myths of the local cultures. But, even though these themes were clothed differently depending on culture and time, they all expressed a critical aspect of the same archetype. Such recognition is particularly aided by thinking mythically and imagining into the cultures and the lands around them. The second was causal in nature – that universal themes were formed by the sharing of information and traditions as a consequence of trade, conquest, migration, etc. This causal explanation was called diffusion. Here, one analyzes the facts on the ground, data obtained through archaeology, researching rigorous histories of the cultures, times, places, etc. The analysis here is primarily through the gathering of facts and through its literal and causal interpretations. Here, Campbell learned to develop a sense of when to bring in mythical thinking and when to employ literal and/or analytical thinking.

    Crucially, one has to know when to bring in this so-called “higher order.” To do so prematurely may result in a beautiful picture whose mythical articulation is impressive and which interpretation feels good, but in the end provides no deep insight into the dynamics on which one is focused. The key here is knowing when to think mythically. I have found that thinking mythically is far more helpful after the legwork has been done in gathering the facts and reflecting on those facts. The unconscious seems to respond with far greater depth and clarity (not to be confused with logically) when consciousness has done its job – when it has made its unique contribution. Then the mythical imagination takes on a far more precise shape with images which often go to the heart of the matter. And a real partnership is built along the way.

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