Thursday, 26 April 2018

Yes Or No

An excerpt from an interview with Dr. Jonathan Young, who was Joseph Campbell's assistant for many years.

"In The Power of Myth Campbell talked about suffering. There are all of these terrible things happening in the world and what do you do? How can you say 'yes' to vulgarity and cruelty?

You have to say 'yes,' but that doesn't mean being passive. It means accepting life and the world and avoiding the temptation to view things in opposites, to fall into dualistic thinking. This is good, that is bad; this is mine, this isn't mine; this is masculine, this isn't masculine. As Campbell put it, to be between the pairs of opposites is to embrace the range of life. Psychotherapy is about this, and wise political leadership is about having a larger vision.

What do we do with these seemingly unbridgeable differences that must be bridged? We have to say yes to the things we find most unacceptable. This is the individual's big challenge, to acknowledge these things in us that we consider garbage. We say, that's not me. But if you say this, it doesn't go away, it just goes unconscious. In stories, many times the magical character wants the garbage. When the Fairy Godmother shows up to help Cinderella, she says, 'Okay, we can get you to the ball, but I will need some mice, a couple of lizards, a rat, a pumpkin...' - she wants garbage. Psychologically, she wants the part of us we wish we could get rid of and then works with those to do magic: as if to show us that everything in there is made by the sacred energies - and they don't make junk."

Kindred Spirit (magazine), Issue 39, Summer 1997.


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