“A myth is a fixed way of looking at the world which cannot be destroyed because, looked at through the myth, all evidence supports the myth.”
-Edward De Bono, consultant, writer, and speaker (1933- )
Joseph Campbell and Daniel Quinn both speak of how easy it is to see through the quaint myths of other cultures when compared to the hard facts of ones own. The hard, neigh impossible part for some is to perceive the myth of ones own culture. To see ones own facts in the same light that revealed the devotion to the collective imagination that made those other myths gospel to believers is a transcendence required before one truly becomes responsible for ones own life. It seems to me that glimpse of the myth of ones “truths” beyond barriers of forgotten leaps of faith occurs to everyone at some point in their life. When the accumulation of experience and rudimentary skills in pattern analysis actually shows the play, the actors and most startling of all … that the stage and background, upon which the latest production is being enacted, is alive with alternative possibilities from among which each of the various cultures (plays) chooses a steady diet of one only — after all, that’s what distinguishes a culture. I’ve come across the notion that a noticable amount of the folks with eureka moments in their lives had them in their early thirties, and these are just the ones that manifested it in such a way that I get to hear about it through biography or anecdote. These cases are just the tip of the iceberg with less material, more numerous occurances below the surface of the sea of personal consciousness rather than above in the hot air of public attention.
I have to confess that Buddhist readings account for the most examples I’ve encountered. It was there that I first read a description of transcendence that paralleled the heretofore unexplainable experiences occuring to me: I was seeing the emperor’s nakedness making me a crazy man in a culture that admired his clothes. I still see emperor and his culture that way but I’ve learned there is no standards by which sanity can be measured to be found in nature except inability to adapt to life. Other readings contained accounts of scientists, saints, philosophers, millionaires, entertainers, etc., etc.
Okay, here comes a doozy of a notion for you: What if everyone reaches that realization at some point in their life just like pubic hair sprouting at adolescence, some early some late. Since such visions are so personal and initially so incomprehensibly beyond description occurances haven’t been noticed by others. The closest we come to naming it is when some one is described by others as “having reached adulthood” because a new dimension has truly opened itself to the tautologically taught children of mother culture and they appear quite serious about something on their mind. Still with me? Okay. At the genesis of this first adult experience the first adult responsibility must be assumed: choosing ones interpretation of the experience. For those who deny the vision, adulthood becomes a terminal condition in a life drained by energy spent keeping the blinders in place. For those who exploit the vision by fleecing the flock still munching on the myth, adulthood is imagined to be godhood by the sycophantic praise. For those who see the vision as a stage of personal evolution, adulthood itself evolves toward becoming a conscious symbiotic part of the evolution of the planet and beyond. The beginning of that evolution takes the form of withdrawing support of the part of the myth antagonistic to nature.
Ishmael asks his student, “What cage holds you captive?”