on Joseph Campbell

(Have you ever done one of those long meditations where you travel through some underground, through seas and clouds, a long journey. And then you arrive at the bottom of all things, the foundation. There's a guru there, and you are told you can ask him one question, the one that occurs to you now... )

Schopenhauer, in his splendid essay called "On an Apparent Intention in the Fate of the Individual," points out that when you reach an advanced age and look back over your lifetime, it can seem to have had a consistent order and plan, as though composed by some novelist. Events that when they occurred had seemed accidental and of little moment turn out to have been indispensable factors in the composition of a consistent plot. So who composed that plot? Schopenhauer suggests that just as your dreams are composed by an aspect of yourself of which your consciousness is unaware, so, too, your whole life is composed by the will within you. And just as people whom you will have met apparently by mere chance became leading agents in the structuring of your life, so, too, will you have served unknowingly as an agent, giving meaning to the lives of others, The whole thing gears together like one big symphony, with everything unconsciously structuring everything else. And Schopenhauer concludes that it is as though our lives were the features of the one great dream of a single dreamer in which all the dream characters dream, too; so that everything links to everything else, moved by the one will to life which is the universal will in nature.
It’s a magnificent idea – an idea that appears in India in the mythic image of the Net of Indra, which is a net of gems, where at every crossing of one thread over another there is a gem reflecting all the other reflective gems. Everything arises in mutual relation to everything else, so you can’t blame anybody for anything. It is even as though there were a single intention behind it all, which always makes some kind of sense, though none of us knows what the sense might be, or has lived the life that he quite intended. ~Joseph Campbell - The Power of Myth, with Bill Moyers




First, you have to see it

Woke up thinking and wrote down  "First, you have to see it." Later, awake, I thought it was saying Campbell's "Consciousness, first; then, you." And remembered the internet meme I saw a few days ago -- image of a radio and something about (how did they put it?) mistaking our -- no, thinking that our thoughts come from us is like a radio thinking it thinks. Or something. 

Here's an idea. As we stop teaching from a classical base, do we become lost for images? I think not. I think hypostasis is the reality at work in all things. The underlying constant, which we each reshape and expand. A metaphor here: Imagine, shape, expand: Cosmos.