Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

The Mythic Path (Book Review)

Originally posted on January 28, 2011

Feinstein, David & Krippner, Stanley. (1999) The mythic path: discovering the guiding stories of your past—creating a vision for your future.  (Publisher: New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher / Putnam, 1999.  On page xiii of  the Introduction to the 2nd edition by Jean Houston , she says, “ The zeit is getting geistier… the new mythology, the new story, is not yet in place; it is up to us separately and together to carry out the work of re-envisionment.”  June Singer wrote the foreword to the 1st edition and again noted that myths are not merely false beliefs, but rather the vibrant infrastructure that informs your life.  (I’m going to study this book further and may post additional comments.)

One dimension of this is Alfred Adler’s observation that early in life we form our character through coming to conclusions about who we are, who others are, what the world is about, and what we must do to cope. This happens. In healthier people, these conclusions don’t remain fixed, but one matures, refines them, finds new and creative alternatives. Yet this is only one component of one’s personal myth. Other aspects of identity and individuality constellate about one’s temperament, ethnic and historical background, family constellation, social mores of one’s class and reference group, inexplicable interests and attractions, and so forth. We find we are attracted not just to certain general themes, but sometimes only one aspect of that theme, the other aspects being less interesting or even repellant.

It is not necessary that we analyze and name all these trends at any one point. If they become problematical, then it is good to have the mental equipment for unpacking them and re-creating a new attitude or adaptation. (Sometimes that involves changing the social situation through political action! It’s not always the wise thing to “adjust.”)

This relates to my paper about creative mythmaking and one of my interests: I think sociodramatic and psychodramatic methods can help in people becoming clear of the elements in their life that they want to approach in a more creative fashion. Sometimes this involves shifting from trying to suppress some element to re-owning it and finding a wholesome outlet. But social and family conditioning, misunderstandings, and sometimes just a lack of opportunity to do a life-review because one is distracted by commitments or addictions—all can interfere with this “upgrading” of one’s own stance in life.

The book relates to three other interests of mine:
   (1) how we can use action techniques and psychodramatic methods to facilitate people’s spiritual journeys;
   (2) the nature of psychological illusions (about which I’ll give a lecture in June, 2011 for the summer program of the Senior University Georgetown); and
   (3)the theme of daring to envision new possibilities in life, a review of some significant current and recent visionaries—this being a six-lecture series for the Fall program of the Senior University.
      The book is worth reading and integrating into a life plan. The first edition was titled “Personal Mythology,” published in 1988; and a 3rd edition (I just found out about through wonderful web-browser) published in 2006, was published  by the Energy Psychology Press.


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