Sunday, 21 April 2013

Myths are public dreams; dreams are private myths. Yes, true - but so what?


"Myths are public dreams; dreams are private myths.   By finding your own dream and following it through, it will lead you to the myth-world in which you live. But just as in dream, the subject and object, though they seem to be separate, are really the same."    

Joseph Campbell - summarizing CG Jung.  


I used to think a lot about this - in the era from c1998-2008 when I was most into New Age, neo-paganism, neo-shamanism, Jung, Campbell and synchronicity...

My current opinion is that it is sometimes true - myths are sometimes public dreams, dreams are sometimes private myths (although not very often, in either case). 

But - so what?


Unless either myths or dreams or both are more than just myths or dreams - so what if they are the same in essence?

(This 'essence being, presumably, the level of the collective unconscious (i.e. a universally shared psychological sub-stratum.) 


So what if humans share a deep psychology - unless this signifies more than that humans share a deep psychology, it merely kicks the can of meaning and purpose a little further down the road.

Maybe this knowledge is potentially therapeutic, but therapy for what? Psychological well-being is a means to an end, not an end in itself.


Thus the Jungian perspective is actually a fake religion: it does not deliver - and this failure is not (fundamentally) because it does not work in practice (which is probably true); but because Jungian/ New Age perspectives intrinsically lack the resources to supply that which needs to be supplied by a religion: meaning and purpose.