She didn’t let where she came from stop her from where she was going.*
But a map is not the territory. The mental map of the world which we have constructed in our imagination is not in a one-to-one correspondence with reality. In other words, the world we see and experience is far smaller than the reality that is out there, especially the world we only see through our intellect. […] We are compelled to create stories about the larger reality that lies beyond our grasp.**
When we see more there is the possibility to live more.
Myths make it possible for us to explore the bigger picture, and then they help us to form our bigger stories.
Myth allows us to join stories from different places and times, to see beyond our niche into something greater. Here are two.
Rebecca Solnit offers a powerful image for those who live in smaller stories when she describes her grandfather and grandmother; although they had travelled to the United States in the 1920s from Russia and had met at a hiking club:
they seem utterly urban, shrunk into their bodies as tenements of flesh, not as instruments of adventure in the open space of the New World^.
We can all find ourselves living stories smaller than those on offer to us. I am reading Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey and I’m discovering more about the man behind the writing, his exuberance in life that makes him the vivific guide into myth that he is. At the age of seventy seven, on hearing about the work of psychiatrist Karlfried Graf Dürckheim, Campbell travelled to Germany to meet the man:
He said the whole problem of life is to become “transparent to transcendence”: so that you realise that you are yourself a manifestation of this. That you live the myth. That you live the divine life within you. Yourself as a vehicle; not as the final term but as a vehicle of consciousness and life. […] my definition of myth now is: a metaphor transparent to transcendence. To me he is the polestar. […] And the mythological image is always pointing toward transcendence and giving you the sense of riding on this mystery.^^
Here is the finite game and we’re all invited to play.