One of the intentions of the Wisdom Path Project – a work in progress podcast – is to bring back the stories and myths that for centuries kept our communal space alive and well. We grew up being held by the values and lessons of those who came before us.
For example, we lived in balance with nature – taking what we needed and nothing more. We had ceremony and ritual as the soul of the community. We cared about and for our young, – celebrating them with rites of passage.
Today, we see the results of this slow dismemberment of our communities and tribes. We are disconnected and lost – taking anything we can get our hands on without thought. Individual attributes are given precedence over the common good of the many. We no longer gather for story or ceremony (even events like weddings, funerals, and graduations are more about something material and surface). We do not honor our fathers. We do not celebrate our mothers. Our children are swept away by the forces of mediocrity and amusement – with little knowledge of who they are and from where they come from.
Our leadership is weak and self-centered. Our warriors are abused and abandoned. Joseph Campbell illustrated what happens to cultures when they allow the ego to take center stage in this passage below from A Hero with a Thousand Faces:
“The figure of the tyrant monster is know to the mythologies, folk traditions, legends and even nightmares of the world. An his characteristics are everywhere essentially the same –
He is the hoarder of general benefit, he is the monster avid for the greedy rights of my and mine. Havoc wrought by him is described in mythology and fairytale as being universal through out his domain. This maybe no more than his household, his own tortured psyche or the lives that he blights with the touch of his friendship and assistance. Or it may amount to the extent of his civilization.
The inflated ego of the Tyrant is a curse to himself and the world. No matter how his affairs may seem to prosper, self terrorized, fear haunted, alert at every hand to meet and battle back the anticipated aggression of his environment. Which are primarily the reflections of the uncontrollable impulses to acquisition within himself. The giant of self achieved independence, is the worlds messenger of disaster. Even though in his mind, he may entertain himself with humane intentions.
Wherever he sets his hand, there is a cry. If not from the housetops, then more miserably within every heart. A cry for the redeeming hero. The carrier of the shining blade – who’s blow, who’s touch, who’s existence – will liberate the land.”
As I mentioned earlier, part of the puzzle to regaining our legitimate right to a good and prosperous life is to understand from where we came from (best told in myth or story). To see our world from the position of a people – in balance with – all other living and non-living entities. We understand our roles as stewards of the land, air and sea. An do not allow our inner ego’s to dictate or assign our communal pathway.
By slowing down and taking the time to reconnect with the stories and myths of our past we can begin to create a different narrative on the human condition. No longer relegated to the shadows of our ancestors, storytelling and mythology can be revive as the centerpiece of what it is to be human. A return to our connectedness.
While I don’t know of nor see a “redeeming hero” in our midst. I want to have faith that the human culture is still of such quality that such a being could arise and bring balance to our collective domain.