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Welcome back; time to start a new chapter of: Odd Topics

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      Back on July 31st, 2016; the old “Conversations of a Higher Order” were closed; but they have definitely not been forgotten. And there have been many of us hopeful that they might return. Well; it’s time to start a new chapter. For those new to this forum there is a button to the left that will take you to the retired version so you can take a look around and get a feel for what we use to discuss; and you will see the sky is pretty much the limit as far as topical material is concerned.

      By far the most visited thread was this one because it was kind of like the local hangout to stop by and discuss things not normally classified as a serious or specific subject related to Joseph’s work and/or anything related thereof that had a personal connection; (you know questions you had and wondered if anyone could help clarify or had thoughts on).

      This thread however; was looser and had a more conversational tone to it; and often was quite fun as well. Kind of like your local coffee shop where you stop in and exchange the news of the day or share a quick idea about something you thought might be of interest.

      So with that in mind I’ll start one off with the most talked about topic on everyone’s mind: the “Coronavirus”; and how you spend your days and nights.

      Joseph’s themes have been critical for me during this period because it lets me know I’m on a path that others like me are experiencing; and in many ways much more difficult than what I’m going through. His work constantly informs me that life is a gift; and because of the virus can all of a sudden become much shorter than you had planned. So I try to change the way I look at things; a lot of times especially the little things; like eating a meal, or just being able to get on the computer and do whatever I want. I get frustrated about not be able to move about in the city or the countryside like I’m use to; but like I said; a matter of small importance when I consider what someone else may be going through with a loved one or their own health status.

      Like many I spend a lot of time on Facebook; especially the “Salon”; but now that the Forums have returned; a window has opened up again; and I am grateful for the return of this place once more.


      I sense the Coronavirus will be a major theme for some time to come. It’s changing our daily lives, and also affecting our dreams.

      Considering Joseph Campbell tells us that “Myths are public dreams, and dreams are private myths,” here is a fascinating, well-written article from National Geographic on that subject. (You do have to register your email to read, but there is no charge for pandemic coverage)


      When we had to come back suddenly from the Middle East in 2016, my wife built a library for me in our house, which serves as my office too, now. Most of the time, I am ensconced here.

      Books help me to escape the sense of claustrophobia of being imprisoned; I can travel anywhere, to any time, to past or future, or to worlds and times that never were. So I am relatively comfortable, spending my time reading, writing and thinking.



      Thanks for the link to this article, Stephen!


      Hi Nandu,

      I am pretty comfortable in all this too. I am usually half-hermit anyway, because my normal life is full of reading and writing in my at-home office. However, I do like to get out and about the most in the summer months and in autumn, and summer is coming here soon and I will be staying home. I like the idea of being able to travel anywhere in books, too.

      –Mary Ann


      Hi James,

      I am glad for this forum too. I get what you are saying, too, about how this virus makes us all see how precious each day is. And I feel fortunate that I can stay at home rather than have to go out and work these days. I am not glad for the lack of money but I have enough to get by on and that is enough. I feel fortunate to feel as though I have what I need and feel grateful. And my heart goes out to those who are struggling in any way with the virus, whether physically or in psyche-emotional.


      As one of the younger people on this forum (if i had to guess) I’ve personally been struggling with the necessity of social distancing. I am just starting out in my career and due to the virus I have been removed from my training center and will continue not be able to return till the end of June at the earliest. While it is nice to have time at home to read and work on projects, I am having trouble with a feeling of loss of direction. Without my regular schedule I find myself slipping into sloth and lacking motivation to study or continue on with projects  that aren’t purely for my enjoyment. I am sure that things will continue to improve and I’m happy to distance myself from others to protect their health but this has been a definite struggle at this stage in my life.


      I imagine you are one of the younger people on the forum, Alexander (at least at this early stage). I suspect though it’s not just you struggling with the need for social distancing and staying at home – in fact, since your comment, seems that attitude has caught fire in many places across the country (perhaps to our detriment).

      I know I’ve had trouble focusing the last two months – haven’t been able to do much non-work related reading of late (finally started The Bird King, by G, Willow Smith – a devout Muslim who writes for Marvel, her first novel, Alif the Unseen, looked at the Arab Spring movement through the lens of magical realism – definitely comfortable with myth). I finally feel as if I might be finding a decent rhythm to life, but am still feeling unsettled.

      Where is your training center (what country or state)? Are you still feeling adrift and at loose ends? Feels like we’re all caught in a vortex – a powerful mythogenetic moment. No telling what will emerge from here.


        Hello all; it’s so nice to see this thread starting to get active a bit; my apologies for not being very present lately as my lower back has been giving me some hoops to jump through; (sleep a few hours, awake a few hours); has become the norm because of the lockdown where I live; which is finally starting to lift somewhat.

        Stephen, Nandu; it’s so good to be back posting here again; (just like old times “except” unfortunately these are very different circumstances; yes?). I was hoping this thread would evolve in a similar way to the old one; but whatever direction it takes is certainly fine with me. Mary; it’s great to have your lovely voice here; and yes; I too feel the heartache for what so many must be going through; yet at the same time grateful for my little confined corner of the world.

        Alexander; welcome to the forums; you are among friends; please don’t feel your voice is any less relevant just because you are new. (When I first joined back many moons ago a few kind hearted souls took me under their wing and made me feel I had something to say and should not hold back).

        The point you and Stephen make resonates “strongly” I think with many of us. How can anyone feel comfortable about being terrified of this virus when so many people are dying. How can one move forward when all around there is fear and apprehension. Yes; I hear you about feeling confined and constrained; it drives me nuts; but restraint and wise judgement has to be the order of the day; (at least for now anyway).

        Stephen, Nandu, and Mary make a good point which you seem to agree with about utilizing our resources at hand. We research and plan and use our technology; like the internet; we get creative in the way we choose what we focus on; for like Stephen mentioned: ” Feels like we’re all caught in a vortex – a powerful mythogenetic moment. No telling what will emerge from here.”

        I say this because I too think we are approaching a pivotal moment in human history. Maybe not because this particular virus will push us there; but because a variety of causes and circumstances will force us to change. Climate Change and Global Warming are not mere fairly tales; and there are a host of other factors such as: air pollution and lack of clean drinking water and the breakdown of the world’s ability to feed itself moving in that direction as well. (This moment is a wakeup call in my opinion.) And if one thinks virus pandemics are a passing event; this might not be a wise future outlook to pursue.

        From my humble perspective I will offer this though; and it’s that Joseph’s themes have offered me the most hope going forward!

        The Facebook JCF Salon will be closing down in the next few days so hopefully traffic will start to pickup on these new forums. Glad to see you folks here and will look forward to everyone stopping by for a visit, a chat, or wherever things take us. Cheers


          Mary; I’m sorry I’ve taken so long to address your thoughtful comment. I think you have summed up what many of us are experiencing on a day to day basis by having to consider how not only that life as we knew it has changed; but that we are challenged to think about all of this in a new way. Yes; “gratitude”; as you point out; is a big deal. And being aware that what others maybe experiencing may not be the same as us changes our perspective. Just considering what our front line critical care workers are having to go through presents a staggering emotional thing to comprehend; and then there are others like the elderly or shut in; much less those who have lost everything due to; (whatever calamity); that may have befallen them because of this pandemic only adds increased emphasis on this idea.

          I think for me personally; it is the idea of loss of control of my ability to move about like I’m use to. But with these changes; as you point out; we are challenged to go deeper into the depths of our inner life to realize what the important things in our life really are. Not just the day to day activities that make up our goings and comings that make us feel like we are accomplishing something; but to be able to identify and appreciate; (as you point out); the things that give us meaning. The things that not only enrich our lives but give it the kind of value where we appreciate; as Joseph pointed out; the experience of being alive.

          I thought the approach you voiced in your comment complimented this idea extremely well!


            Nandu; I must apologize for taking so long in telling you it’s good to be back with you again here in our old familiar surroundings. We had many good discussions back then; and covered all kinds of topical material. I remember you telling me you had been working on your writing and from what I had gathered awhile back it seemed like you had done quite well with some of the things you were trying to accomplish and are still moving forward with that; (yes?). Weren’t you were working on a translation of something; is that correct? And I also recollect you had a: “Good Reads” book discussion group going; is that still happening?

            Having your own library is a wonderful refuge to have considering all the chaos going on with this virus pandemic; I hope it’s not too bad where you are. We’ve been on lockdown for about 2 months now and are just starting to ease into our re-entry phase; although I must admit I’m quite apprehensive about this considering all the conservative bravado being promoted concerning ignoring social distancing and not wearing facemasks. (This to me is shear insanity!) So I’m a bit nervous about all this. (That’s as far into politics as I’m going right now; I remain hopeful; but not stupid!)

            The changeover to this new format should happen anytime now. Hope you are well my friend; it’s good to be back.

            (I’ve altered this post a bit since I’m trying to remember politics does not always play well with some of these entries and I need to stay within the forum guidelines.)

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