April 14, 2023

❏ Notes to Self 002 - Seeing Outside of Ourselves

This morning I finally caught up on Bill Plotkin's three part essay, Who is Up for Building a Cathedral (Part I, Part II, Part III), that contextualizes Joseph Campbell's myth of the Hero's Journey as a guide to the adolescent phase of life (defined not by age but by developmental life stage that spans from early adolescence to late adolescence). There are many gifts that this phase of life offers, including exuberance and fiery creativity. But we have prolonged adolescence until it has become pathological, facing a true scarcity of adults and elders. And in this capacity, the Hero's Adventure doesn't offer us any way out, any path beyond the egocentric path of the solo superstar.

And this brings us right to the heart of what I most want to share with you in this essay: The difficulty for any given person in accessing or recognizing a mature framework (a framework for true maturity) is not only that person’s culture but, even more so, their developmental stage. Maybe it’s just obvious: If someone has not themselves matured beyond early adolescence, then their lens, too, will necessarily be adolescent; everything they experience will be seen and understood through that lens. The caterpillar cannot truly imagine the life of a butterfly.

The quote above captures the essence of what Plotkin writes about, the concession that many myths beyond the Hero's Journey exist, but we cannot see them accurately from the perspective of adolescence because from that vantage point, everything looks like the Hero's Journey. There isn't enough maturity or sensitivity to see things otherwise. A few hours later I was listening to “An Invitation Into Wholeness,” an episode of the Coaches Rising podcast with Veronica Olalla Love, Alexander Love, and Lorie Dechar. While I'm only halfway through, the beginning half of the conversation covered the necessity of both transactional and transformational coaching. The former being oriented around supporting a client in getting from A to B, the latter being more of a fundamental questioning of our very being and orientation to life.

The starting point of that particular conversational thread was a question of whether it is useful to orient around the future at all, with some people saying that any vision of the future pulls you out of the present in a detrimental way. Their consideration was nuanced and transcended the polarity with some both/and thinking, but what I thought paralleled Plotkin's piece was the idea that in a future orientation that is perspectival, then you are stuck within a perspectival futurism, in the same way once you are in the adolesence of the Hero's Journey every other myth looks like the Hero's Journey. I'm making a note of this because it's an interesting thread to come back to, and both are very Gebserian in nature. Which is also a note to self to continue my reading of Jeremy Johnson's Seeing Through the Wold, a kind of intro text for Gebser and integral consciousness.

Unrelated to the themes above, there were some interesting threads relating to AI and deworlding on Substack, but given that it is a platform for white supremacy (or a Nazi Bar, if you will) I'm not very interested in linking to them. Not sure how to reconcile this in the long run, but fine with just keeping research notes and hoping people leave the racist platform.