December 16-B, 2022

Mouse Creek Falls 09/04/2011 Oil Paint Rendered — Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Big Creek District
We spend our lives looking for meaning,
living in a wasteland. 

The definition of a wasteland
is "No meaning anywhere."

We have to move.
We can't bear the thought of moving.
We belong to the wasteland.

Joseph Campbell would say,
"In the wasteland, 
nothing is as it appears to be.
Nobody is who they say they are.
Everything about the wasteland 
is inauthentic to the core.
There is no core in the wasteland,
no heart, no soul.
It's all smoke and mirrors,
pretense and charades,
put-ons and play-acting."

Everybody in the wasteland
is doing what they are supposed to do,
what someone else tells them to do.
They all are the way they are expected to be.
There is no escape.
The counter-culture
is merely a sub-set of the culture,
a culture in-and-of itself.

To do it deliberately not like anybody else
is to do it like somebody else
not doing it like anybody else.
Orange hair and tongue piercing 
are just another way of being cool.

It's all from the top down
and the outside in.

We take our cue for living,
for the way we arrange the furniture
of our life,
from the way someone else is doing it.

Individuality is a group affair.

Carl Jung said,
"A hermit is a primitive person
who trusts their unconscious."

Lao Tzu said,
"A path that can be discerned as a path
is not a reliable path."

Joseph Campbell said,
"The Grail knights thought it would be a disgrace
to go forth in a group.
so each entered the forest 
at a point that he, himself, had chosen, 
where it was darkest, 
and there was no path.”

On the final page of his 
four volume masterwork 
on the history of religion/mythology, 
"The Masks of God," Joseph Campbell said: 

"The free association of men and women of like spirit
...is in the modern world, 
the only honest possibility 
with each the creative center of authority 
for themselves

The individual must anticipate and activate 
in themselves 
the centers of their own 
creative imagination, 
out of which their own myth 
and life-building "Yes!" may then unfold.

In the end, the guide within 
will be their own noble heart alone, 
and the guide without, 
the image of beauty, 
the radiance of divinity, 
that wakes in their heart amor--
the deepest, inmost seed of their nature, 
at one with the process of transcendence, 
and live 'as one thus come.' 

And in this life-creative adventure 
the criterion of achievement 
will be, 
as in every one of the tales 
herein reviewed, 
the courage to let go of the past, 
with its truths, 
its goals, 
its dogmas of 'meaning,' 
and its gifts: 
to die to the world 
and to come to birth from within."

–0–

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

4 thoughts on “December 16-B, 2022

  1. “In the end, the guide within
    will be their own noble heart alone,
    and the guide without,
    the image of beauty,
    the radiance of divinity,
    that wakes in their heart amor–
    the deepest, inmost seed of their nature,
    at one with the process of transcendence,
    and live ‘as one thus come.’ ”

    I first heard this sublime music when I took Tai Chi in a school gym. This was the first time I heard music that lifted my heart and we soared above the stratosphere. Hope you enjoy it (Jessye Norman – Richard Strauss’s 4 Last Songs (3rd Song): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjNuBVN2Ln4&list=OLAK5uy_moCsUYvRCMvWWYsUVKnoGxNk4M2YLfCiI&index=1

    Liked by 1 person

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