Bill Moyers: "I will do the best I can."
Joseph Campbell: "I will participate in the game. It is a wonderful, wonderful opera -- except that it hurts."
Affirmation is difficult. We always affirm with conditions. I affirm the world on condition that it gets to be the way Santa Claus told me it ought to be. But affirming it the way it is -- that's the hard thing, and that is what rituals are about. Ritual is group participation in the most hideous act, which is the act of life -- namely, killing and eating another living thing. We do it together, and this is the way life is. The hero is the one who comes to participate in life courageously and decently, in the way of nature, not in the way of personal rancor, disappointment, or revenge.
The hero's sphere of action is not the transcendent but here, now, in the field of time, of good and evil -- of the pairs of opposites. Whenever one moves out of the transcendent, one comes into a field of opposites. One has eaten of the tree of knowledge, not only of good and evil, but of male and female, of right and wrong, of this and that, and of light and dark. Everything in the field of time is dual: past and future, dead and alive, being and nonbeing. But the ultimate pair in the imagination are male and female, the male being aggressive, and the female being receptive, the male being the warrior, the female the dreamer. We have the realm of love and the realm of war, Freud's Eros and Thanatos.
Heraclitus said that for God all things are good and right and just, but for man some things are right and others are not. When you are a man, you are in the field of time and decisions. One of the problems of life is to live with the realization of both terms, to say, "I know the center, and I know that good and evil are simply temporal aberrations and that, in God's view, there is no difference."
Bill Moyers: That is the idea in the Upanishads: "Not female, nor yet male is it, neither is it neuter. Whatever body it assumes, through that body it is served."
Joseph Campbell: That is right. So Jesus says, "Judge not that you may not be judged." That is to say, put yourself back in the position of Paradise before you thought in terms of good and evil. You don't hear this much from the pulpits. But one of the great challenges of life is to say "yea" to that person or that act or that condition which in your mind is most abominable.
Bill Moyers: Most abominable?
Joseph Campbell: There are two aspects to a thing of this kind. One is your judgment in the field of action, and the other is your judgment as a metaphysical observer. You can't say there shouldn't be poisonous serpents -- that's the way life is. But in the field of action, if you see a poisonous serpent about to bite somebody, you kill it. That's not saying no to the serpent, that's saying no to that situation. There's a wonderful verse in the Rig Veda that says, "On the tree" -- that's the tree of life, the tree of your own life -- "there are two birds, fast friends. One eats the fruit of the tree, and the other, not eating, watches." Now, the one eating the fruit of the tree is killing the fruit. Life lives on life, that's what it's all about.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Affirmation of Life
Do I go too quick in the first stages of romance or does everyone else go too slow? Is it my goal to be compatible with every single women in life? No, but I'm open to it - but it seems really hard. It is my understanding to be compatible with life itself, including me. Affirmation.