...I cannot outline the spiritual problems of modern man without giving emphasis to the yearning for rest that arises in a period of unrest... It is from need and distress that new forms of life take their rise, and not from mere wishes or from the requirements of our ideals."
When Carl Jung's Modern Man in Search of a Soul was first published in 1933 he had already treated many hundreds of patients from all over the civilized world and "every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given to their followers" (229). His book looks at Western Civilization through those same doctorly eyes and he thinks the collective picture "presents only a somewhat more complex picture of psychic life than the individual" (210). The same basic diagnosis applies both individually and collectively. The problem is meaninglessness, relativism, nihilism and nothing less than the death of God. This problem operates on something like a psychological law of conservation. "For every piece of conscious life that loses its importance and value - so runs the law - there arises a compensation in the unconscious," Jung says.
Our favorite podcasters partially examined "the spiritual problem of modern man" in episode 81, particularly during a 24-minute stretch between 36:00 and 1:00:00. They collectively speculated about the "civilizational causes of human misery" and the possibility of addressing the problem. As Wes put it, Nietzsche thought we could not simply perform some kind of CPR on our dead God. Jung didn't think we "jaded Westerners" could simply return to the traditional creeds or churches either. "This of course has nothing whatever to do with a particular creed or membership of church," Jung says. The forms - the architecture and the rituals - remain but only as dead fossils. Is it possible to have an authentic religious life in a culture that has no living religion nor a living God? Shall we just follow Dawkins and dismiss the whole thing as silly? As Mark pointed out, we certainly aren't going to find any authentic spiritual meaning at the local mall. In other words, it's not the kind of problem that can be solved by economic policies or technological innovation.
Jung was the kind of thinker who could disturb the psychologists for being too theological (Freud) and disturb the theologians for being too psychological (Buber). It's not that he operated in a twilight zone between the two but Jung viewed the psyche as inherently spiritual, without entailing any belief in the supernatural. A living religion on his view is one that properly serves a psychological need. Not, however, as a comforting crutch or as a bandage for one's neurosis. Jungian psychology says that the most important instinct is the drive toward psychic wholeness, the need to incorporate all other instincts into a fully integrated Self - so that one is firing on all cylinders, so to speak.
This is a natural developmental process that he called "individuation" and as Seth mentioned, the same basic idea was also popularized as "the hero's journey" by Joseph Campbell. His most popular book, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, has been translated into more than 20 languages and has sold well over a million copies. Campbell's basic thesis is that mythic heroes from all times and places present a symbolic picture of this natural developmental process. Jung had to excavate this symbolic picture from the dreams of his patients but Campbell was a comparative mythologist who leaned almost entirely upon the world's fairy tales, myths, and religions. They both speak the same symbolic language. As Campbell put it: myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths and religion is a misunderstanding of mythology. The hero's journey (or monomyth) is a pattern that can be discerned in every religion and in very different kinds of stories, including Dorothy's adventures in the land of Oz, Luke Skywalker's struggle against the Empire as well as the epic adventures of Moses, Orpheus, Buddha or Christ.
Alan Watts, a hippy-era popularizer of Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies was digging the hero's journey way before it was cool. He spent a year with Campbell in the very early '50s almost immediately after Campbell's book was published in 1949. Watts then wrote his own book on the topic, Myth and Ritual in Christianity which was first published in 1953. Like Jung and Campbell Watts interpreted the Christian myth as an expression of the perennial philosophy and Christ, the central hero of Western culture, as a symbolic picture of our psychological-spiritual development. More specifically his book examines the standard, traditional rituals of both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Apparently both brands of Christianity are missing a few pieces of the hero's journey but the complete cycle is illustrated by cobbling them together, using one to supplement the other. There is enough detail to keep a theology wonk busy for quite a while and yet the overall effect is a portrait of the esoteric, mystical core of the myth.
It's widely known that George Lucas used Campbell's monomyth as a model for the Star Wars films and that this fact became famous after a series of interviews with Bill Moyers on PBS in 1988. One could see "follow your bliss" bumper stickers back in those days. These ideas have seeped further since then into Hollywood and popular culture. Christopher Vogler, a Hollywood insider, soon after wrote an instruction manual for would-be screenwriters. The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure For Writers (1992) is based on Joseph Campbell's work, particularly The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Vogler makes a case that all successful films adhere to these quasi-Jungian principles, deliberately or not. It's easy to imagine that there is a Vogler fan sitting at a Starbucks somewhere and he's typing furiously on his laptop.
Jung's ideas were watered down and otherwise degenerated as they were popularized (that's the case when any idea "enjoys" popularization, I suppose). But it seems that all of this is very much in line with Jung's expectations. In some ways, the "New Age" movement had already started when he wrote Modern Man in Search of a Soul. "Western Theosophy is an amateurish imitation of the East," he wrote in 1933 and there was widespread interest in the occult for decades before Jung was even born. Jung saw these popular fads and movements - not to mention reactionary movements like fascism and fundamentalism - were signs and symptoms of modern man's spiritual crisis. This is what people will do when their instinct toward wholeness is frustrated by the death of God. Jung had a native American friend back in those days, the Governor of the Pueblo at Toas in New Mexico, who confidentially described this collective illness of "the whites" as a kind of insanity.
We don't understand the whites; they are always wanting something - always restless - always looking for something. What is it? We don't know. We can't understand them. They have such sharp noses, such thin, cruel lips, such lines in their faces. We think they are all crazy."
Joseph Campbell offers something like an answer in the fourth volume of his four-volume work titled The Masks of God. The first book in the series covers primitive mythologies, the mythologies of the civilized East and the civilized West each get their own volume and it all culminates in the fourth and final book: Creative Mythology. The overall effect is to sketch out an arch of development, to see how the Gods evolve along with human culture. The final volume makes a case that each of us is responsible for finding our own way - there is no going back to the old forms and the new myths have yet to be born. It may even be that we've outgrown our dependence on prescribed meanings altogether so that there isn't likely to be a new one-size-fits-all kind of myth. Instead, each one of us has to get creative. Everyone will have to search for the holy grail, in the language of the Arthurian legends, each must enter the dark forest at a point of his or her own choosing. As that story goes, it is the wise fool who accidentally stumbles upon the grail while he's busy doing something else.
In the movies, a successful journey (or successful individuation) is often depicted as a final triumphant scene in which all the main characters are re-united and celebrating with the hero of the story. This is supposed to represent the integration of the various aspects of his or her Self. The journey makes demands on the hero and forces him to incorporate and deploy previously underdeveloped skills or abilities. It's similar to the way Captain Kirk needs Spock's logic and McCoy's passion to get the job done but with a larger and more complicated cast of characters. Step by step, all the hidden potentials of the hero are brought out during the quest. It's all very strange, almost as vague and slippery as a dream. But if I understand it, the basic idea is that this myth needs to be enacted. That's what ritual is, more or less; the enactment of a myth. We find ourselves in a situation where the myth has to be acted out in life or in some other way. Shall we all become comparative mythologists and/or dramatists? That's not going to be everyone's cup of tea but if you're the sort of person who would read an article like this one, that's probably a plausible option for you.
Tina DeWeese says
David I love this! Happens at a time when I’m turning back toward doing some work with dreams. You have a way of pulling allot of material together as a foundation, a great review for me…and a reminder that this is an immense field to study, always present if we want to tune into the psyche (after all the tomatoes are harvested, and horses are fed…and like yourself with a second thought that we truly want to give our lives to the scholastic life… 🙂
Also want to remind you to sometime look up William Irwin Thompson, The Time Falling Bodies Take to Light…historian, mythologin, visionary philosopher who pulls this story together from it’s deepest roots…beyond the hero’s journey into the archetypal/transcendent (Orphic) realm. He is a friend and colleague of our good friend, Michael S. Nice piece here! I’ll share it w/ Michael!
David Buchanan says
Thanks for reading, for the kind words and for the reminder, Tina. I’d be very surprised if they’d learn anything from me but please feel free to share the article with Michael and his friend – or anyone that might be interested.
“Jung himself had said: “True companionship thrives only when each individual remembers his or her individuality and does not identify with others” [Memories, Dreams, Reflections, 356]. Jung wrote in a letter on January 14, 1946: “I can hope and wish that nobody becomes Jungian,” and in the autobiography he said succinctly: “Don’t imitate!” .
The point of all these sayings is clear on the face of it. The seventeenth-century Zen poet, Basho, expressed it by saying, “I do not seek to follow in the footsteps of men of old: I seek the things they sought.” It is a point that Joseph Campbell stressed, as early as 1949, at the end of Hero with a Thousand Faces, where he wrote that “today no meaning is in the group . . . all is in the individual,” a point he was continuing to make in 1986 as he spoke to Bill Moyers on television, saying, “Follow your own bliss!”
So, as one reflects on Joseph Campbell’s work, the question becomes: Who is the true follower of Joseph Campbell? Jesus preached the Kingdom and got the Church. Jung proclaimed the soul and got the Jung Institute. Campbell told us to follow our own bliss . . . it would be an extreme irony if, in attempting to follow his advice, we ended by following his bliss! “
David Buchanan says
I think that’s quite right, dmf. Like I said toward the end, “It may even be that we’ve outgrown our dependence on prescribed meanings altogether… Instead, each one of us has to get creative. …each must enter the dark forest at a point of his or her own choosing.”.
it’s a good essay by a Jung scholar and onetime colleague of JoeC, plumbing rather than motorcycle maintenance but I thought it might fit in with what you are doing here, after his pretty good book on Wallace Stevens Simon Critchley was left wondering if we could believe in a myth that we knew to be a myth, which is a timely question I think:
Daniel David says
I enjoyed the blog, as well as the Jung episode. Even though I’m in agreement about the fragmented situation brought about by modernity, I wonder what a situation in which most people become the “heroes” of their own journeys might look like. If information age capitalism gives us synchronicity and connection without soul, would each individual following his/her bliss give us billions of incommensurable meaning systems that may not be able to tolerate each other? Maybe Campbell had this in mind when he said, “I should have said ‘follow your blisters'”.
Collective rituals seem to reinforce belief, since the individual need not always rely on him/herself for its validation. Can personal rituals provide the same sustenance, or will they inevitably fatigue into a sense of anomie? How do collective and individual identity accommodate each other without one coming to dominate the other?
DC, Jung was a Romantic modernist (with a conservative sense of telos and all) and so not a good guide to contemporary life, Jaron Lanier has outlined some of how our individual online self-expressions are being capitalized on, and to some degree engineered, by big data netters, if you get a chance check out the Dewey vs Lippmann debate I think that largely Lippmann has proven to be right but for a more optimistic humanist view see the works of James C. Edwards including Ethics without Philosophy and Plain Sense of Things.
One of the many ironies of the information age with our greater ability to provide feedback (tweeting politicians and all) and transparency is that the old (and new) differences are now more exposed/foregrounded, people where never of One-mind (by what magic means of transmission could they be?) and now we are just coming to terms with such fading mythconceptions. If you get a chance let me know what you think of:
Daniel David says
I’m a big fan of Lanier, even though he sometimes takes a little more for granted than I’m comfortable with in his enthusiasm for virtual reality and computer modeling. “Who Owns the Future?” was worth every word, though. I’m going to try to track down that Dewey/Lippmann debate later.
From the Massumi interview – “Our degree of freedom at any one time corresponds to how much of our experiential ‘depth’ we can access towards a next step – how intensely we are living and moving.”
“Affect” seems like an interesting way of creating an ethical tie between the personal experiential palette and instances of social collision/interaction. I also liked the link he made between embodied perception and teasing out “singularities of experience” with poetic language. Still reading, but thanks for pointing me to it.
Wayne Schroeder says
Another awesome post–really appreciated. Lots of interestingly new stuff to me about Jung. I think it is profound that Jung was able to include the nature of spirituality in his concept of individuation, although I think they are both part of the same circle. Of course his primary lens for viewing the human condition was “psychoanalytic,” the new spirituality, whether Jungian, Freudian, Lacanian, etcetraian. Ok, so now we also have Star Wars, movies in general, literature, art and of course philosophy 🙂
Bill Youmans says
I loved the essay, thank you! I have sometimes wondered about the assumption that the old myths or “god” as conceived until, say, Voltaire, are necessarily “dead.” I have a step brother who lives in the south, and he and everyone he knows all deeply believe in the American version of Jesus, and in the claims of evangelical Christianity. He and his family are unshakably certain that I and our lesbian sister are going to hell, and even that our father is now in hell, because his Christianity was not of the right brand.
I guess, from the standpoint of this essay, my step brother and people like him represent a desperate attempt to re-invest in the old paradigm, as do Al-Qaeda and other fanatical religious groups.
The “new age” movement was itself merely a return to paganism, and magical thinking, at least for most followers of it, as I know having been one for a while.
God help the one or ones who invent a genuinely new guiding myth. They and their followers, being far ahead of the times, are usually put to horrible deaths, in the few hundred years after their advent, until the general consciousness is able to grasp their ideas.
David Buchanan says
Yes, Bill, thanks for reading and I think you read it well. Fundamentalism is a reactionary movement, a regressive response, a stage of grief – or something like that. Christianity in the middle ages was literalistic in the same way but today that same literalism requires a huge dose of denial and/or compartmentalization. In my overly-judgmental imagination I picture fundamentalism as something like clinging to the corpse of Nietzsche’s dead God.
In the relevant and readable interview linked above (Thanks, dmb!) Simon Critchley says it much better than I did:
“People are acutely aware of the meaninglessness of their existence, and they try to cover this up in a number of ways. By returning to forms of traditional religion such as fundamentalist Christianity. Or by engaging in new forms of religion—New Age belief, whether that be yoga or sitting with crystals in your hands, finding your inner child, sitting under a pyramid, or whatever. All of these are examples of passive nihilism. You might also try what Nietzsche calls active nihilism, engaging in acts of terrorism or whatever. The idea here is that, given that nothing means anything, we might as well blow the whole place up. I would recommend neither passive nor active nihilism, both of which seek to escape from the “meaning gap” in our lives. The point—the point of Nietzsche’s philosophy, and of philosophy as such, in my view—is to think within that gap and work against nihilism. To use thought against the nihilism of the present.”
And I think this is what Wayne Schroeder is saying too (below). “Nietzsche was not a nihilist, and in fact charged the life of God people (Jews, Christians, common man, etc.) as being nihilistic…”
But, if the Jungians are right, the myths and archetypes are symbolic expressions of psychological facts and not theological assertions or facts of history. On this view, as Campbell says, religion is a misreading of mythology. Fundamentalists take these symbols as facts and say that they are true whereas atheists take these symbols as fact and say they are not true but, Campbell says, they are both equally mistaken because these symbols are not fact. The trick, then, is to see the inner meaning of these symbolic forms and this is not just an intellectual exercise. Comprehension and understanding is not quite enough. There is a word Mark mentioned several times during the podcast: numinous. I like the way it rhymes with luminous. It’s like the myths and archetype have to glow with an inner light that has nothing to do with photons. The old, dead forms come alive, so to speak, when you see through them, when they become “transparent to the divine” (I forget who coined that phrase).
Bill Youmans says
Thank you for the reply!- bill
lol to say that new age belief are made-up inventions to give people comfort of the meaninglessness of their life is unsubstantiated, and merely a personal belief to reinforce one’s own worldview, in your case, of materialism, and nihilism.
Such concepts that are not created by New Age movement, but instead a reintroduction of it in modern times. Everything in is similar to what the eastern religions talks about in Hinduism, Theraveda Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zen, Taoism, Sufism (esoteric sect of Islam), Shintoism, the Kabbalah (esoteric sect of Judaism), Zohar (Judaism), Gnosticism (esoteric sect of Christianity), even in the secret socities of Freemasons, Theosophy, Rosicrucians, etc. Hindus, Buddhist, and mystics talked about how every that happens to a person is from their Karma, and if you what Karma is all about they don’t just talk about the physical action, but how it is also all based upon their thoughts, emotions, desires, intent, attitude, behavior, state of being, and form of mentality that then groups into alike individuals of the same mind to results into situations and events in a reality that creates a drama and story.
Even the idea of that you are God, well everything is God not just you, goes back to the Upanishads and Advaita Vedanta in Hinduism. It pretty much says that everything is from the self, and is the self, and nothing is separate from the self, but only gives an illusion that it does. Similarly to how the characters, landscapes, objects, events, stories, and dramas within the movie are all just pixels in the tv, and similarly to how they are all programs, ones and zeroes, in the computer. Just as everything in the internet is, even though looks like it has pictures, videos, icons, and text. We are liked the water contained within a bottle called the body, and that water came from the ocean, and how that water and the ocean itself is the same one aspect and thing. It just happens that we call the ocean that is contained within a bottle, a water. The mistake is in how the western culture think of how the creator and creation is separate and we thereby have these words. In other countries, there is no distinction to the male and female gender, and there is only neutral pronoun word of he/she. But when we don’t separate you and I, this and that, creator and creation, then everything is the same one process or organism. By definition, God is considered omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent. In other words, infinitely powerful, existing everywhere, infinitely intelligent. If God is truly existing everywhere then he is everyone and everything, and he/she/it, is therefore all knowing and powerful. God is therefore actually the sum of the total whole, and is everything of the whole itself. Just like the human being is the sum of billions of cells, yet, we only consider ourselves one person.
“It’s like you took a bottle of ink and you threw it at a wall. Smash! And all that ink spread. And in the middle, it’s dense, isn’t it? And as it gets out on the edge, the little droplets get finer and finer and make more complicated patterns, see? So in the same way, there was a big bang at the beginning of things and it spread. And you and I, sitting here in this room, as complicated human beings, are way, way out on the fringe of that bang. We are the complicated little patterns on the end of it. Very interesting. But so we define ourselves as being only that. If you think that you are only inside your skin, you define yourself as one very complicated little curlique, way out on the edge of that explosion. Way out in space, and way out in time. Billions of years ago, you were a big bang, but now you’re a complicated human being. And then we cut ourselves off, and don’t feel that we’re still the big bang. But you are. Depends how you define yourself. You are actually—if this is the way things started, if there was a big bang in the beginning— you’re not something that’s a result of the big bang. You’re not something that is a sort of puppet on the end of the process. You are still the process. You are the big bang, the original force of the universe, coming on as whoever you are. When I meet you, I see not just what you define yourself as—Mr so-and- so, Ms so-and-so, Mrs so-and-so—I see every one of you as the primordial energy of the universe coming on at me in this particular way. I know I’m that, too. But we’ve learned to define ourselves as separate from it.” ― Alan Watts
I can’t understand how an article that used Alan Watts and Joseph Cambell, would include them to talk about the idea of nihilism, or meaninglessness of life. When Alan Watts himself already answered this subject in his own way of how the meaninglessness of life itself is the point, because life is not intellectual, but is actually all about the experience of it. Alan Watts said it in his own way, one is not really asking for a verbal, logical, answer to his question. That when a person ask what is a kiss, they don’t desire answer written in a piece of a paper with a “kiss” written on it, instead what they want is to actually experience the phenomena of what is a “kiss”. That is to say that if you are enjoying, having fun, and having a great time with someone, or a group people, or even by just yourself to whatever you are doing right now in your life to the point that you are so involved to it . You wouldn’t ask the question of what is the meaning of life. Talk to extrovert, fun loving, people that are having great time and currently in a party, and you would find those people are not interested whether life has a meaning or not.
Joseph Campbell said it his way, “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” Which answers why Nietzsche said that his western idea of an anthropomorphic, human shaped God, is dead. He wasn’t able to make a connection to God, or to the self that would fulfill this desire. Which is so not different to the people that want to fulfill the emptiness within themselves from those that are outside of religion that are seeking a connection through people, nature, relationships to others, to those around them, and to themselves. They are all seeking for upliftment, fulfillment, or that feeling of aliveness only that some of them think it can only be done through a figure, object, person, place, or through specifically doing something. Thinking that they can’t do it themselves without any of these.
What love, happiness, joy, ecstasy, bliss fundamentally mean in most of people in our society, is an aspect that doesn’t generate within ourselves, and something that can only exist and be attain outwardly. But then, if you feel suffering within, why seek happiness without? Bruce Muzik said this in his way: “We’d been so good at looking outside of ourselves to get our fixed of aliveness that we forgotten that we can self-generate it in any moment. We look for it in tv, we look for it in extreme sports, sex, drugs, from rock’n’roll, whatever it is and as long as we are looking outside of ourselves for that fixed of aliveness, it is always fleeting. Here, in one second, and gone the next”.
Wayne Schroeder says
“The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
——–William Butler Yeats, 1919
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Also, the death of God (now the death of self qua false self) inaugurated by Nietzsche was an historical, cultural, philosophical, metaphysical death of the God used for centuries to bolster those in power by false use of the transcendent, was not meant to be the death of spirituality, but liberation from falsity. Nietzsche was not a nihilist, and in fact charged the life of God people (Jews, Christians, common man, etc.) as being nihilistic by making for master-slave relationships (“Bad Air”), rather than affirm life by the will, the power to true valuing of life.
We are by no means free from this slouching beast.
I like the way you say this. It reminds me of these words written by Thomas Merton: “The danger of education, I have found, is that is so easily confuses means with an end. Worse than that, it quite easily forgets and devotes itself merely to the mass production of uneducated graduates–people literally unfit for anything except to take part in an elaborate and completely artificial charade which they and their contemporaries have conspired to call ‘life'”.
Wayne, want do you think about what I’ve quoted? Do you think everyone must continue onto higher education to have a better life? Don’t misunderstand me; I appreciate what I’ve learned in higher education or any educational setting. Do you think this path is creating a way for others to have a more fulfilling life or do you think it has become an entrapment, killing diversity and stagnating human life?
Wayne Schroeder says
I do not think the problem is simply education (higher or lower) or even simply society (higher or lower). There is not some original, pure Education or Society which exists that we are failing to live up to. Education and society exist as expressions of the actualization of education and society. There is not some perfect Education or Society out there somewhere. Yes, there are many potential educations and societies which can possibly exist and we should strive to enact these possiblities as best we can.
In other words, this means versus ends as quoted by Merton is definitely a problem, primarily with the false belief that there is some objective ideal of things which we should strive for (end) rather than the subjective experience of creative, potential enactment of the not yet (means).
This is an interesting blog for so many reasons that it’s difficult to pick one reason. But, if I had to pick one, I’d pick role-play because I’ve asked myself “What is the reason for this? What is the reason for role play?” further asking, “Where is it getting us as a society?”
This topic is perplexing to me in a good way. I’m thinking the structure of today’s society expects a certain amount of role-play that seems somewhat delusional with technological advances. Take for example the institution of higher education an organization attempting to maintain a bureaucratic structure for order and efficiency. The last data I read suggests the growing population of adult students will outpace the number of traditional students in five years.
I’ve been thinking about this over the last few years because of my own interaction and actions with another person and their interaction and actions with me. My observations are, it’s a fine line attempting to not come off as cold and bureaucratic, or using a relationship as a means to an end, in attempting to work with another person as an end in their self in the messiness in our everyday lives. What is to be done in times of change and how can we work together in this societal structure?
“More specifically his book examines the standard, traditional rituals of both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Apparently both brands of Christianity are missing a few pieces of the hero’s journey but the complete cycle is illustrated by cobbling them together, using one to supplement the other. There is enough detail to keep a theology wonk busy for quite a while and yet the overall effect is a portrait of the esoteric, mystical core of the myth.”
So here is an example tying into what I’ve quoted above, role-play, institutional structure and that fine line I feel like I’m walking. I’m learning about the preservation of music as a fine art by the RRC—moving from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance—, was asked a question (very nice because of my major) but my, my. I went into debate mode, it was like click, and I was attacking the suggested context— explaining the split in Catholicism ending in Roman Catholicism and Orthodox Catholicism.
Which brings me to what I’m working on re ethics, role-play and the professions (specialization) in asymmetrical power structures posing to much risk causing a breakdown in society. To say it another way, when distant engagement (think technologies here) requires less risk on a profession and imposes more risk on civilians isn’t this an attempt to keep a myth alive? Meaning is a moral hazard created counting professional role-play as a ‘double count’ objectively fair? Is transitive risk justified or an excuse valuing one life more valuable than another? That’s a lot to think about.
Well, I’m think with David Luban re taking role-play and role-morality in institutional settings seriously. What does this mean when there are role conflicts, risk, and obligations involved in today’s society?
I’m thinking about this in terms of one of your closing comments: “But if I understand it, the basic idea is that this myth needs to be enacted. That’s what ritual is, more or less; the enactment of a myth. We find ourselves in a situation where the myth has to be acted out in life or in some other way.”