Stories, fables, legends, and myths can be used to help
us find answers to the complexities of life which is riddled with the
vageries, prejudice, mis-information, lack of experience, and just
plain ignorance. The difference between thinking feeling is central to
the human condition.
We continually weigh scenarios about true and
false, right and wrong, good and bad. Understanding the
appropriate mode of feeling and behavior amounts to emotional
intelligence, which seems to be rather rare-- more of a journey than a
The psychological trauma implied by death can be devastating, unless we find a transcendent cause or purpose in life, beyond our
own self interests. Einstein
also said that the most important decision you ever make is whether you
live in a friendly universe or a hostile universe. The hero is able to
go out and brave the unknown and return with something of value. It is
the courage of true heros that portrays our own possibilities to
prevail against failure and dispair. Thus the courage of heroism
becomes possible at some level in our own lives. In difficult times, a belief that good will prevail can sustain us.
science of things has greatly enhanced our objective abilities to
control the physical world. But power is seductive, it corrupts, and it has delivered science into
the hands of the greedy. Unless our subjective skills catch up,
such exploitation will become ever more unsustainable. Every school child is
taught how to weigh, measure and exploit stuff, but complex emotions
can baffle all but a few.
you ask people what they want in life, most will answer, "just to
be happy." Within the biology of being human are many challenges.
we ask the question, “Who
the answer is usually something about our
career, our possessions. For a very long time, up until a
few generations ago, our earth was seen as the center of the universe.
And the central theme of
the world was the theme of a noble struggle of the protagonist (us)
under the aegis of the
Divine. So we seemed to be the very center of attention of the largest
of all dramas. The theme of the central mythology was to gain an
of the natural order of things in order to live in harmony with it.
we have been thrust into a new paradigm rather suddenly. In many ways
the world has changed as much since Darwin as it has in all of history
before Darwin. Today we are all struggling with a misapprehension
that we understand more than we actually do. The scientific
paradigm would have us believe that whatever isn't measurable
or somehow quantified, isn't real. Only very recently physics and
have come full circle and embraced each other (all is energy). Fritjof Capra's The
Tao of Physics seems to imply a new order of mythology and divinity
When we come to the limits of reason we intuit. It's that simple.
The problem with the pragmatists is they assumed they had a full deck of
cards with which to play the game, that the tools of logic and denotation
were sufficient to the task of living. But these tools can be
quite limited as Whitman so eloquently alluded to in his statement that
it "is obvious that there is more to a man than can be seen between his
boots and his hat". All the probing, measuring, and quantifying have fallen
short of the true stature of man, and once again proved that the man given
over completely to reason is as lost as the man given over to his feelings.
We have a sense of self as a cog in the wheels of industrialization.
We are daily being barraged with a plethora of circumstances over which
we often have no control or understanding. It is said the greatest
single demand made on contemporary man is to adjust, adjust, adjust among
variables that are ever increasing, and that the greatest human need is
for synthesis and interpretation, for a sense of psychological continuity
and emotional closure. Herein lies the harbinger of the new age.
The difference between our technological achievements and our sociological
achievements can no longer be tolerated. If it can be said that materially
we live, move and have our being in the realms of the gods, then it must
also be acknowledged that the way we treat each other and even ourselves
is little changed from the darker anthropomorphic superstitions of the
Neolithic humaniods. The fact is that "we" do not go to the moon,
most of us, or perhaps even to the exotic realms we see on TV, except in
our imaginations. Indeed, most of the population of the world is
largely without even the basics of life to a very real and painful extent.
We soar in our dreams only to come down hard upon waking to face our isolation and alienation.
Accepting a belief is like entering a relationship. For example,
the sentence Love is a journey," is a metaphorical expression that is understood
via a set of correspondences, which might be called the Love-As-Journey Map. You hold to your beliefs and are guided, led, and governed by your beliefs. So beliefs are
guides that dictate actions. But there are misleading
beliefs, we can be quite sincere and dead wrong. Such bigotry brings
out our very worst characteristics.
The hope for a pure soul is to be right and not wrong. Without even
so much as science or medicine, people were immersed in the unknowable -- in
superstition and magic. Good and evil were personified as Gods, and the human
psyche was fragmented into a good and a worthless portion. The implications
are now well recognized , but the solution to this dilemma still haunts
us. These issues are about controlling or containing the emotions. Every
natural human act eventually became an object of prohibition, fear, shame,
and guilt. At the height of the dark ages anyone could be burned alive
for being even accused of a sin.
It was Karl Marks who ridiculed religion as "the opiate of the masses."
Unfortunately he never heard of endorphins.
We spend a huge portion of our lives in the realm of fantasy. Has the quality
and extent of our dreaming changed? If nothing else religion became the
most useful tool against anarchy ever known. Today the opiate of the masses
is TV and drugs (including alcohol, nicotine and caffeine).
But what is the nature and overwhelming appeal of this escapism?
And what for that matter is the true nature of addiction? In the future,
perhaps a few decades from now, people may look back on these times as
being the chemical dark ages so to speak. By our dawning knowledge
of our own biochemistry, especially the chemistry
of the brain, we are beginning to emerge from this anomaly. Our
complex emotions and our complex brain chemistry are still largely not
understood, but far more so than they were even to or twenty years ago.
Part of our brain deals with linear, concrete, sequential, concepts,
(we have made enormous technological progress in this area). Everything
else that is not a finite concept to be quantified or measured is relegated
to the other half of the brain so that when we need to deal with something
we don't really understand, the mysterious, the numinous, the ineffable,
the totemic or sacred, we give it a name and hand it over to this part
of the brain to deal with it.
These concepts tend to be emotional, connotative, and as yet still
rather primitive, and very much influenced by our attitudes. That is it
depends on how you look at it. In most of our lives there comes a time
when we find ourselves alone. The difference between being alone
and being lonely is to some extent dependent on how we view ourselves within
the context of society. Is your cup half full or is it half empty?
You are guided, led, and governed by your beliefs, so beliefs are
guides that dictate actions. You hold to your beliefs but there are misleading
beliefs. One can be quite sincere and dead wrong. Such bigotry brings
out our very worst characteristics.
But only those who have a dream can have a dream come true. Myths,
legends, stories, fairy tales, poems, and songs may emphasize themes and characteristics
such as compassion, truth-seeking, courage, empathy, wonder, humor, imagination,
and respect for the Earth and each other.
“What we need is a common story that connects us to Creation,
that discovers the sacred, the magic in every moment. We need to evoke
the deep sense of connection and relationships, the pattern that illuminates
our place, our identity, direction and purpose... We need stories we can
share as children of the earth, stories that bring us to a knowledge of
ourselves as global beings and as participants in a vast and wondrous unfolding
- Medicine Story