Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Some Personal Myths

Originally posted on April 11, 2012

Reading excerpts from Rollo May’s 1990 book, The Cry for Myth, reminded me that I am fortunate to have a number of mythic structures that help me feel grounded in my life.

First, there is a myth of progress. At first, I felt this by joining a profession with an ancient tradition and major social role—i.e., medicine. Then I joined this with another trend, that towards first humanistic psychology, then transpersonal psychology, and now, the evolution of human consciousness. I do feel that we live in a time of exciting and deep transformation as there are several sub-themes being both integrated and finding new horizons:

Psychology—the way the mind works—was for a while overly caught up in a sickness model and subsumed under the hegemony of psychoanalysis, but this has changed. Psychoanalysis is now a very minor influence and some of its more useful elements have been absorbed by a variety of other approaches. On the whole, though, the best insights are moving into the mainstream of culture, though it is gradual.

Mythology is shifting in its meaning from being about stories that are considered imaginary and not true to the study of underlying assumptions or frames that operate in a more general way than mere facts. It speaks to the non-rational as well as the rational elements in human consciousness. People are becoming aware of how this realm is also moving into focus. We are challenged to develop new mythic structures that can contain the vastly expanded variety of human endeavors.

This myth overlaps a bit with another mythic theme that has become increasingly interesting: the myth of depth or a “more-ness” behind the surface-level of life. In other words, a meta-physical perspective. From my being more of a materialist in early mid-life, I have moved increasingly towards a slightly more mystical perspective, seeing the facts of everyday life as being influenced by intangible influences and dynamics from another dimension—the spiritual, the angels, synchronicities, gifts, grace, dreams, inspirations, and the like. Any claim for the factual reality of this “other-ness” can be critiqued, because most evidence for it can be explained away; on the other hand, it’s harder to explain away the experience of the seemingly un-ending depths of one’s own psyche—how it goes beyond being one’s own and transforms into our being more an expression of the “More-ness.”

I realized this last as I prepared to give a talk about why the Kabbalistic “Tree of Life” image has evoked in me a way to express my intuitions about the “more-ness” or underlying structure of the cosmos. Being asked to present about this in turn evoked a sense of being privileged to participate constructively if only minutely in the first myth, an evolving transformation of consciousness.

Nor am I assuming that this mythic structure speaks to the way things actually are or always will be. It’s more of a sense of how things seem to me now, that we’re in a time of cultural flowering. It may be more classically decadent in several hundred years. I don’t know.

Finally, I suspect as I attend to these things, other myths will become more apparent—and indeed, one just did: I love being a romantic in an era when that process was still a major cultural theme, especially in the early-mid points of my life. Happily, my dear wife shares this myth and so we revel in many facets of romance, including the joy of adventuring together in a wide range of readings. Being a part of family and community have also partaken of mythic elements that may become more clear in time. What are the kinds of things that are more mythic for you? Some find it in following sports, news, the stock market, genealogy, or a deep interest in almost any activity.

One Response to “Some Personal Myths”

  • Matthew says:

    What immediately comes to mind is – as well as the mythic structures you identified; progress, (I’m trying to find a social role within the fields of human development, psychology, the evolution of human consciousness) marriage, family, community – the myth of enlightenment, believing that through personal development one will attain greater understandings of and appreciations for ‘being’.

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