Joseph Campbell

A Living Myth: Collective Intelligence yields Collective Action

A COLLECTIVE REALIZATION: Humanity is collectively facing James Hillman’s dilemma in The Soul’s Code, where he says, “I can no longer be sure whether the psyche is in me or whether I’m in the psyche…” The national and personal borders that were so vital to identity are increasingly tested by swiftly advancing uncertainties. At the core is a mass realization by a culture engrossed in materialistic pursuit that perhaps, just maybe, something more is afoot.

“All great civilizations when they were flourishing had a living myth,” Marie-Louise von Franz (in above video clip on her work with Carl Jung).

The most popular films and books are stories centered around beings that have entered human experience from another realm. One only need look at the highest grossing films and bestseller lists to see that humanity yearns to be in touch with powers known by our forebears. Individuals want the pinnacle of Maslow’s pyramid and want it now. Our passage collectively will be via an alchemical and very hot journey, characterized by every emotion and, hopefully, resulting in a catharsis that leaves a handful of enlightened forefathers for successive generations. We will not fly to other galaxies until we plumb the very depths of our own collective memory and discover the wealth of psychological wisdom there.

So we are engaged in some collective projects now:

PROJECT #1: NO BORDERS – HUMANITY MIXES TOGETHER FULLY: The first project that is important in all of this is already well underway. The Internet has established itself as a borderless region, unbounded by national, religious and political obstacles. It has also sprung physical arms and legs, as evidenced in the swift overthrow of governments, politicians and other oppressors. VALUE: We advance beyond rigid religious systems that limit momentum and are violent to individuals, communities and other cultures. We overcome arrogance, ignorance and fundamentalism. There is more than one way to be a human. We are everything AND unique, all at once. In this way, we benefit from the cultural wisdom of others AND weave a powerful enough garment to absorb the heat of successive stages of an alchemical initiatory process. SAMPLE PROJECT: Can humans finalize the globalization of the planet WHILE retaining the unique, delicate and rich spiritual eco-systems of various regions? Can this unified world then identify and achieve collectively desired outcomes? Over and over again?


PROJECT #2: A GLOBAL MEDIUM & DELIVERY PLATFORM FOR ALL: The next project is also well underway, in the form of social networks and the myriad devices that social content populates. EXAMPLE: The World Wide Mind and THE Conversation Prism are perfect examples of how this rainbow wheel of social properties is animated by and animates human action. VALUE: Streamlining data analysis and action platforms facilitates achievement of the sample project above, namely collective action BY THE GLOBAL COMMUNITY toward COLLECTIVELY IDENTIFIED GOALS.

PROJECT #3: SUBMARINES INTO THE INTERIOR OF THE COLLECTIVE PSYCHE: The third project is just beginning. Via sophisticated data-mining solutions like PeopleBrowsr, Radian6 and others, as well as a deep understanding of social and human psychology, organizations are plumbing the depth of the collective unconscious.

Carolyn Kaufman describes Jung’s concept: “The collective unconscious is like psychic DNA: it contains “inherited” psychic material that links us not only to other humans in the present but also to our ancestors from the past. According to Jung’s theory, though each of us appears to function independently, in actuality we’re all tapped into the same global mind.”

Nikos Kazantzakis identifies the importance and value of being aware of the collective unconscious, “Myriad invisible hands hold your hands and direct them. When you rise in anger, a great-grandfather froths at your mouth; when you make love, an ancestral caveman growls with lust; when you sleep, tombs open in your memory till your skull brims with ghosts.”

VALUE: The goal of launching missions into the collective unconscious is that we discover what we have forgotten and link this to what we have invented IN ORDER TO reach what we desire.

PLUMBING THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS FOR WISDOM: Again, humanity is collectively facing Hillman’s dilemma in The Soul’s Code, where he says, “I can no longer be sure whether the psyche is in me or whether I’m in the psyche…” Immersive mediums of expression and relationship like social networks clue us into deeper mysteries that CAN BE PLUMBED now and then turned into vehicles for going even deeper into our collective unconscious in search of wisdom, forgotten truth and stories. These in turn feed our evolution like nothing else can. In the old tribes, a teenage boy would undergo a ritual that threatened his life. Upon passing through, he had earned the right to sit around the fire with the men, to hunt with them and to enjoy the pleasures of women and family.

Our planet is undergoing such an initiation now, passing from fear and oppression INTO an era typified by simple technologies that resolve timeless human problems. The storyteller Michael Meade has said, “As nature rattles and culture unravels, mythic imagination tries to return to the world, for endings and beginnings are particularly mythic…myth makes meaning and helps a person find the meaningful path through life.”

Again, we will not fly to other galaxies until we plumb the very depths of our own collective memory and discover the wealth of psychological wisdom there. Do you have a different historical timeline that you like? “To keep the future open to all potentials, alternatives and dissenting possibilities, it is necessary to envisage alternative futures from different civilisational and cultural perspectives.” (Sardar) It may be the only way to get free of the “fate” and “karma” that previous generations are so deeply in love with. We do not need to have an apocalypse just because such a weight of humanity yearned for it…there are other optional endings. Cultivating a Choose Your Own Adventure approach is vital to survival at this point.

How To Bring a Deity Back to Life: The Importance of a Culture Remembering its Gods

(Author’s note: The following piece is born out of my deep love of mythology and the belief that rituals embodying these mythologies can transform cultures deadened by modernity and the love of money. ~Nathaniel Hansen, M.A. Mythological Studies, Pacifica Graduate Institute, April 18, 2011. Athens, Greece).

All cultures … have grown out of myths. They are founded on myths. What these myths have given has been inspiration for aspiration. The economic interpretation of history is for the birds. Economics is itself a function of aspiration. It’s what people aspire to that creates the field in which economics works. ~Joseph Campbell

We’re in a freefall into the future. We don’t know where we’re going. Things are changing so fast, and always when you’re going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective and that’s all it is… joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes. ~Joseph Campbell

Heresy is the life of a mythology, and orthodoxy is the death. ~Joseph Campbell

Deities find power in the cultures that adore and nurture them. Bringing a deity back to life involves igniting a flame of desire within the populace whose ancestors once served and worshipped it. The truth is that the deity itself has not died…the people only need remember what their ancestors felt and saw and smelled. Re-igniting a culture with its root metaphor, with the essence that animated its founders, IS a path to enlivening its people. A nation in crisis can find inspiration AND momentum via a root metaphor.

WHAT IS A ROOT METAPHOR: A root metaphor is much more than a figure of speech or an image. A root metaphor is the god, the mythology, which births a culture. Author Sandra Barnes writes, “Root metaphor names things that are likened to one another…once a root metaphor is named it becomes a protected category within which many ways of replicating, restating, or reformulating an idea can be tried out. The greater its ability to incorporate and adapt to new experience, the more powerful it becomes.” Archibald MacLeish writes, “A world ends when its metaphor has died.” The pain in the West is not of a people yearning for the arrival of a savior but of a people chained from honoring the natural world surrounding them. The importance of a people re-discovering the root metaphor of the earliest cultures from whence their ancestors came cannot be understated. Experience of a root metaphor is experience of a deity.

Ritual sustains the relationship between a deity and a culture. Ritual is the embodiment of myth. Ritual is the swiftest route to invoking gods from long ago. The best books on ritual are the following:

Ritual: Power, Healing and Community by Malidoma Some:
Liberating Rites: Understanding the Transformative Power of Ritual by Tom F. Driver:
Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions by Catherine Bell:
The Sacred and The Profane: The Nature of Religion by Mircea Eliade:
A Companion to Cultural Memory Studies by Astrid Erll:

Helping a culture remember its gods has the potential to awaken within its core, its depth, a renewed vigor and vitality. The literature on the effect of political power games masked as beneficent acts by religious organizations is manifold. And the literature on violent wars based upon the same is also manifold. No wonder people want to forget gods that were part of an era in which their ancestors were violently attacked and killed! We now live within yet another period of history where such violence between people groups has resulted in countless deaths (ie.-Bosnia or Rwanda).

So why would a culture want to remember gods that might awaken previous conflicts with other cultures?

The reasons for remembering an ancient deity are manifold. The central value I seek to identify is simple: Power grows within the culture that touches the hand of its ancient gods. When a people are animated by the gods that gave birth to their nation, amazing things can happen. It’s one thing to move from the love of money to loving people. It’s even more powerful to come together with those loved ones and worship a deity, or a pantheon of deities.

Watch anyone discuss religion, politics or sexuality and you will see a person animated by a god. The passion these three topics engenders has more to do with the unseen than the seen. And the realm of the unseen is the realm of the gods.

A PATH TO DISCOVERING POTENT RITUAL: So how does one bring a god back to life? How does one ignite the cultural memory of a people?

1. Identify the external artifacts (architecture, music, daily schedule) that match ancient forms. Map and describe these.
2. Listen to the conversations of the people in social networks and identify where these same external artifacts locate in the fabric of the Internet. What symbols in the physical plane are mirrored in cyberspace and in the social networks? Draw connections. Make maps on your wall of these. Or use mapping software online.
3. Create campaigns, films, music, community programs, public cultural events, private gatherings of influencers and multiple small gatherings (circles) that bring people together in the flesh. When a revolution that starts in social networks move to the realm of flesh, great emotion, attraction and synergy occurs. This is the power of going from a Facebook wall to a Facebook event to a lover’s bed, of going from an Eventbrite conference to a local meetup to the office of an organization that matches your skillet perfectly, of going from an online game to a concert with other fans of a great band to the band’s hotel suite!
4. Install “avatars” into the mix of #3 who embody the energy of the gods/goddesses you wish to help the culture remember. Empower these avatars to inject the energy of the gods/goddesses directly into the imagination and emotional body of the culture. Watch how quickly the messaging from these avatars spreads through the social networks and Internet media channels (like YouTube).
5. Immersion: As the members of a culture are immersed in the power of the medium and the avatars, watch how author and reader, performer and audience, begin to merge and weave the flavor of the god into the flesh of the culture.
6. Choosing the right content is critical. As was once said, the difference between the right and wrong word IS the difference between a lightning bug AND lightning! You WANT the members of the culture ALL humming that god’s tune on their lips. That’s what brings change…and quickly!
7. Location: The most powerful location into which an avatar can speak powerful words is ritual. Return to the excellent books on ritual above and make this study part of your work. Then re-create the original rituals from ancient times as the meeting point between a current generation and its ancestral gods.
8. Health: Once the avatar sparks the culture, keep him/her healthy as the vitalization of content leads to heady situations where the avatar MUST keep his/her cool and not implode or explode. Good healthy habits are in order!!
9. PR: Deal with critics by having pre-scripted guidelines in place for the typical critics of such a deity. And ALWAYS remember that Critics are there to drive Creatives to higher heights and deeper depths! The most powerful answer to a Critic can sound like this: “There will always be more than one way to be a human!”

The nations of the world are ripe for remembering ancestral deities. Lots of them! And the time to act is NOW!!

Follow your bliss: The future of human interaction with the invisible

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls. ~Joseph Campbell

The future of human interaction with the invisible has fully arrived. We are now firmly in an era where Predictive and Temporal Analytics (THINK: Analytics-Driven Policy) MATCHED WITH abundant Storytelling/Transmedia genius HAS yielded full-blown portals into the realm of RELATIONSHIP TO THE MYTHIC. One need only look at the largest portals to VIRTUALPHYSICAL and ROMANTIC relationship creation for evidence of these doorways.

WHAT IS “RELATIONSHIP TO THE MYTHIC”? (And why is this important?)

Joseph Campbell, the mythologist, writes, “The role of the artist I now understood as that of revealing through the world-surfaces the implicit forms of the soul, and the great agent to assist the artist was the myth.” Wolfgang Pauli writes of “an invisible, potential form of reality that is only indirectly inferable through its effects.”

I submit to the reader that through a combination of Listening to Oneself AND Investigation using Social Monitoring Tools, humans can now discover “worm-holes” that lead directly to their most cherished and inner-desired locations. I would also suggest that these most cherished INNER LOCATIONS are spiritual destinations characterized by terms like nostalgia and “the best times of my life”. Such INNER and REMEMBERED locations MAY be the most desirable locations known to mankind AND MAY also be THE wellspring of creativity for the individual, a society and the whole of humanity. We all seek the bright field, which IS the MYTHIC REALM.

The process for accessing these locations COULD trace the following path:

1. LISTEN TO YOUR OWN HEART by taking one single day out of your life and spending that 24 hour period alone. Simply listening. Karl Menninger writes, “Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us , makes us unfold and expand.” Places like Spirit Rock, Esalen, Omega Institute, forests, deserts, islands and parks within cities can facilitate a window TO THE dreamed-of location.

2. WRITE! During your time of listening to yourself, write. And underline the words that mean the most to you. Those are your search terms, the keywords that you will use in the social fabric of the internet to find others like you, destinations of your tribe and eco-systems sympathetic to YOUR nature. Joseph Campbell writes, “One way or another, we all have to find what best fosters the flowering of our humanity in this contemporary life, and dedicate ourselves to that.” What a fabulous reality we have in that the social fabric of the internet offers abundant paths to the flowering of our humanity!

3. IDENTIFY YOUR KEYS. Take your keywords, your KEYS, to the social monitoring tools, visual maps, AND keyword tools and follow your findings to the location of your tribe in the social networks!

4. BOARD YOUR PLANE, TRAIN OR AUTOMOBILE, whether this be a metaphor for mental passage, spiritual exploration, relationship deepening/adjustment/discovery AND/OR actual physical movement.

5. WRITE YOUR LOVE LETTERS TO THE WORLD as you travel to the land of your tribe (Hint: That’s what blogging, tweeting, FBing, Flickr-ing, YouTubing, SlideShare-ing, etc. really are…these are your forums to express your GIFT to the world). The joy and beauty of your journey will infiltrate and instruct the fabric of the communities around you and inspire others to do their own exploration and SHIFT!

What each must seek in his life never was on land or sea. It is something out of his own unique potentiality for experience, something that never has been and never could have been experienced by anyone else. ~Joseph Campbell