Episode 51: Michael Meade – Part 4: Running Towards the Roar: Co-Creating the New-Old Mythos of Our Time
Appreciation: “I’m Michael Meade, the author of The Water of Life and The World Behind the World, and I can say this about Living Dialogues: It is one of the few places in this country where you can hear an intelligent, poetic conversation that brings together myth, genuine imagination, the extemporaneous poetic thought natural to people, and the practical issues of the environment and politics – a mixture that is necessary for the re-imagination of this culture. Thank you Duncan for the invitation and the delightful conversation.”
In Part 1 of this ongoing dialogue, Michael Meade and I shared stories and perspectives on the nature and role of myth throughout the human experience, and in so doing demonstrated how we enact and give voice to a fresh contemporary story, together with you, the deep listening audience evoking the new story, as part of our larger mythic interconnectedness. The great challenge and necessity calling each of us is to go beyond our either-or modern polarization and mythless argument culture into artful co-creative dialogue, to realize ourselves as bards and storytellers in our lives, embodying the personal transformational stories which together can weave the next evolutionary Great Story of unification in diversity so needed in our time.
In Part 2, we shared how stories -- telling them, listening attentively to them, learning thereby to see the individual story of our own lives as embodying and resonating with the purpose and mythic meaning illustrated in a Great Story – how all these aspects of story give us knowledge, healing, inspiration, and initiation into a higher life-enhancing and embracing consciousness. We share certain ancient and modern great stories in illustration of this, including the meeting by the well of the 13th century world poet Rumi and his dialogue inspiration Shams Tabriz (see Program 3 with Coleman Barks on The Soul of Rumi below on this site), the Divine Dialogue between the big Self Krishna and the aspirant Arjuna of the Vedic Bhagavad Gita, the Song of God, from thousands of years ago, the prophetic poetry of William Butler Yeats (The Second Coming) in the early 20th century, and the anonymous pre-Christian poet(s) who gave us the biblical Book of Job (in the superb translation by Stephen Mitchell – see Programs 13 and 14 below on this site).
In Part 3, Michael and I went into the nature of story as accessing the deep Source we all share, and in the process finding the thread of deep meaning and purpose that runs through each of our lives. It is in this way, finding the thread that weaves all of the pieces of our personal stories into resonance with a Larger Story, that we can become the “missing piece” of our adolescent cultures: the new elders, giving birth to an elderhood of service at all ages, including the wisdom of the “youth elders” as well as those chronologically older, each engaged in a dialogue of mutual mentoring.
As I say at the beginning of Part 2: “The power in storytelling is the power in helping people to understand how to situate themselves in a world that at times for many people anywhere can seem chaotic and without meaning when we experience ourselves as powerless to change the great course of events that affects us all.” Michael describes the challenge we then address as follows: “On the national and on the global stage, it seems to me, things have become more and more literal, less and less imaginal or mythic. Therefore, more and more rigidly polarized people tend to cling now to ideas that don’t hold water, and people tend to cling to beliefs that no longer transfer the living breath of the living waters of the divine or the eternal. So while holding on to these almost empty institutions and empty thought patterns, people then use them as weapons and attack each other.”
Our response to this challenge is an expression of what I term “The Art and Evolutionary Necessity of Dialogic Mythmaking”. As I say in concluding Part 3, “this call to dialogue that has become so imperative right now is the same as the call to the deep story and the sharing of stories”.
In this concluding Part 4, we dialogue about how the modern mind paradigm and its “mid-level” national myths (including America’s dominance in the late 20th century, often dubbed “the American century”) are losing their energy and no longer have the hold on the planetary imagination they once did. This is the arena of what Michael refers to as the “mesocosm” – that place of conflicting cultural and religious myths which lies between the universal Great Stories of the planet, the macrocosm we spoke about in Part 2, and our individual microcosm stories, which we sometimes experience as unraveling to the extent we fail to explore our inner world sufficiently to see them as linked to the Great Stories, but rather identify with our own culture or religion’s limited surface mesocosm stories (which are themselves unraveling as we enter the 21st century). [For instance, as Fareed Zakaria points out in his new book The Post American Century, India, starting basically from scratch just a few years ago, now has 18 of its own TV news channels, each of which revolves around a narrative with India at the center, no longer dependent on the America-centric narrative of the 20th century and CNN. Yet the new India-centric narrative is still at this point a 20th century holdover to the extent it remains nation-centric rather than world-centric.]
To participate in the dialogic co-creating of a genuinely r-evolutionary New-Old planetary-scale and sustainable Mythos, we each need to catch hold of the thread of our own deep story as our mesocsom “gets messy and comes apart”. This messiness is at once the necessary prelude to a genuine re-imagination of our culture and the falling apart predicted in the prophetic vision of W.B.Yeats in The Second Coming mentioned earlier, “where the center cannot hold” and the desert landscape of our old polarized politics gives rise to negative and mendacious campaigning and governance “with its gaze pitiless as the sun”. As this “beast slouches toward Bethlehem to be born” once again in yet another election cycle, we are in a potentially “tipping point” historic moment, where if we each take our own story thread to the frontier depths of our integrity and return to the center to reweave together a “protective mythic garment” as in the completion of the old Irish myth -- but this time as a “coat of many colors” -- a renewal in the U.S. of the original real dream of America, in its authenticity, character, and wisdom, can occur. (See Programs 38 and 39 with myself and Joseph Ellis, the “Founders’ historian”, below on this site.)
We are being called upon to hear, live, and tell stories of rejuvenation from our own experience, as is being done out of the view of commercial media in the vital energy margins in many ways, including by people doing hospice work, working with poverty and illness, doing personal depth processing, psychological and spiritual, and as is being done in the public realm by Barack Obama and supporters, co-creating, enacting, and telling a story of hope and possibility that resonates with this land and all lands because it is both new and ancient, a story as I say “which refuses to give in to the lie for personal advantage but actually endorses the truth of our deep reality”.
Here is an excerpt from this Dialogue Part 4:
Duncan Campbell: …There's a lot of racial talk going on (in the U.S. election story of 2008) that’s disguised and it's very debilitating because we have to encounter that old story of America, which is the slavery story and really purge it, I think, considerably more, and ultimately, once and for all, to free the psyche of the country to really live out its great destiny. As I have talked with you previously, the depth psychology of Jung gives a real insight here, that if we don’t bring up from the unconscious these old stories that are influencing us without our knowing it, they will be our fate rather than our destiny.
One of the great contributions you’ve made, Michael, is by collecting all these stories from around the world in your two books and showing us the power of story. You show us both how unconscious stories can be directing us toward ends that are less beneficial for our individual lives and our culture, and by encountering them, by going directly into them, by running towards the roar, by going into the field, going into that unsettledness – “running towards the roar “, your beautiful image presented at the beginning of The World Behind The World -- we can actually encounter and live out the deeper story for the benefit of all.
Michael Meade: Yes, I couldn’t agree more. The destined leaders need to run towards the roar at the right moment and people will follow and safety is found on the other side of the darkness, not in running towards the light.
Duncan Campbell: So tell the short story, Running Towards the Roar, it's an old African story.
To hear Michael tell the story, you’ll have to listen to Part 4 of our dialogue.
I conclude this dialogue with Michael by coming back to the deep story themes which I describe are “the very warp and woof of what we do here on Living Dialogues”, some pertinent examples of which were previewed in Programs 38 and 39 below and in the three previous parts of this dialogue (Programs 48, 49, and 50), and will be seen in next week’s Program 52 with Angeles Arrien, the leading cross-cultural anthropologist of our time, with Episcopal priest become shaman Peter Calhoun in Programs 53 and 54, and with renowned African teacher Sobonfu Some, visionary James Redfield, and others in subsequent dialogues.
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The best way to reach me is through my website: www.livingdialogues.com. Many thanks again for your attentive deep listening in helping co-create this program. All the best, Duncan.
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Michael Meade: My name is Michael Meade, author of “The World Behind the World,” and I can say this about “Living Dialogues.” It's one of the few places in this country where you can hear an intelligent poetic conversation that brings together myth, genuine imagination, the poetic thought natural to people, and the practical issues of the environment and politics. A mixture that is necessary for the re-imagination of this culture.
Thank you, Duncan, for the invitation and for the delightful conversation.
Duncan Campbell: From time immemorial, beginning with indigenous councils and ancient wisdom traditions through the work of western visionaries such as Plato, Galileo, and Quantum physicist David Bohm, mutually participatory dialogue has been seen as the key to evolving and transforming consciousness, evoking a flow of meaning--a dia (flow), of logos (meaning)--beyond what any one individual can bring through alone. So join us now, as together with you, the active deep listener, we evoke and engage in Living Dialogues.
Welcome to “Living Dialogues.” I'm your host, Duncan Campbell, and with me for this particular dialogue, I'm truly delighted to have my great friend and author, Michael Meade as my guest. Michael Meade is the author, known to many of you, of “The Water of Life,” and most recently, his new book, “The World Behind the World: Living at the Ends of Time.”
Of this book, Coleman Barks, the great translator of Rumi in America, has said, “Michael Meade is a master storyteller and story teacher of the soul’s unfolding. He addresses the mess we're in and helps us each discover the unique threads, the poetic DNA we must live out. As interpreter and mythic guide, he is the best there is. Alice Walker joins in this sentiment saying, “Michael Meade is magic. Unlike anyone else one is likely to encounter, Michael Meade is one of the greatest living teachers of our time.”
Our mutual friend, Robert Bly, says, “Our job is not to comprehend everything but to learn which story we are in. So advises Michael Meade in this thoughtful and subtle book abundant with stories and ideas about this world and the other world. A rich rewarding and knowing book.” Finally, my own great friend as well, Angeles Arrien, great cross-cultural anthropologist and one who's been a number of times as well as these others on “Living Dialogues.” She says, “Michael Meade, a master storyteller reminds us that the world is an endless tapestry of wonder and woe constantly being “re-storied” on the loom of imagination. Michael Meade re-enchants us back into the world behind the world where all the mysteries co-exist. Undeniably, a relevant, brilliant, and original book.”
So Michael, it's a real, deep pleasure of having shared other conferences with you in the past and having had you here on “Living Dialogues.” To have you here in the studio again, it’s just great to spend time together.
Michael Meade: Great to be here, Duncan.
Duncan Campbell: I have to say, this new book is very exciting because in the other dialogues we've done on the “Water of Life,” we talked about the metaphor of water. Also, how certain literalism that happens when our world becomes disenchanted and demythologized when--as you put it--the great garment of nature and the great garment of myth are no longer wrapping us in their protective guidance. When we've deconstructed the enlightenment consciousness to the point where we've really lost touch with the ancient mysteries, and we're kind of wondering in the desert, if you will. We need to bring back stories and we need to bring back myth.
Your phrase, I thought, was very beautiful in that context where you said, “The tales were being told in our media today and in our school system and in our culture simply don’t hold water.” That’s a wonderful way of deepening that very ordinary locution. Now, you're taking it to the next level where you're pointing out that in this world, there really is an enactment of a world behind the world. To the extent, we can make that conscious and get in touch with it through story. We can actually shape the reality that we're in in our everyday world. As you put it, myth and being in touch with myth, seeing the larger story, seeing our own personal story in the larger story illuminated is the most practical thing that one can actually ever learn.
Michael Meade: Yes. I find myself saying that. Myth is actually practical if even though in the modern world it's considered to be a reference to something that’s untrue. Yet, myths are a series of lies that tell the truth, and tell it more fully than it can be expressed through any kind of fact or any kind of measurement. So as this world, one of the things I say in the beginning of the book is in the Western world where science and religion have been at [xx] for so many hundreds of years, they finally come to a point of agreement.
Unfortunately, you see annihilation of the earth they agree upon. On one side, from climate change and global warming; and on the other side, from religious hoping that the Divine will return because this world ends, which is one of the big mistakes in the Western myths. So I decided to write what I call “recreation stories” and I pulled a lot of stories from different cultures about how the world is recreated from its own ashes or from its own demise. Then specifically, as you well alluding to, what's the role of humans, in other words.
It's very hard for a single person to grasp the wonder and amazing intricacies of the world, both the literal world and the imaginal world behind it. But a person can grasp the threads of their own life, and I think that turns out to be the critical factor for the individual. Then using very old thought, humans are the make weights between this world and the other, between time and eternity, between the demise and the recreation of things. Humans are essential and the understanding of humans in terms of personal story and how it connects to the great mythic stories, I think, is going to be the critical thing in terms of re-imagining culture and assisting nature.
Duncan Campbell: I couldn’t agree more. And you know, that’s actually the very warp and woof, we might say, of what we do here on “Living Dialogues.” One of our trademark phrases, you might say, on “Living Dialogues” is that “Dialogue is the language of evolutionary transformation.” I often talk about dialogic myth-making, that myths actually have come down to us from ancient times as a collective expression of a culture.
The great myths like the Bagavagita or Gilgamesh and others, or the Creation stories that you're talking about represent a tapestry and a weave of the collective and all the individuals within it. They are telling each other these stories until you leech out--if you will--all of the irrelevancies and the quirkiness that might be associated with a particular personality. In the end, you get this great archetypal weave that has tremendous potency. So many different individual perspectives traveling through time and space can connect to that weave and be illumined by it.
So as you said in one of our very early dialogues, there are many versions of myths, all basically elaborations on the fundamental warp and woof of the archetypal essence of a myth. The reason there are many versions is that, as you put it, the word “version (verisimilitude),” it comes from the same word for truth that each one of us has our own truth. It's as unique as a snowflake, but yet, if it's a deep truth of our essence, it will resonate with and be seen in the deep archetypal warp and woof of a myth. This has a deep archetypal truth from a culture that then can become universal, like the Bagavagita. It’s not simply an expression of what happened several thousand years ago in India. It's something that you and I can relate to and apply in wherever we live.
Michael Meade: I agree to all that. Then what I decided to do with this book was mostly take what I call “folk myths,” a lesser known and smaller, in one sense, stories that deliver the same knowledge as the Bagavagita but do it in a couple of pages in order to show even further how this thing is the common inheritance of humankind. Then, I want to make this point that when the great myths are often involved with great civilizations and those eventually collapsed. The great myths often have an end to them and that coincides with the end of the culture that’s associated with it.
Since, I think, America and the Western world is in a kind of demise or losing something of the energy and, certainly, the imagination started with, I picked a bunch of folk myths with the idea being that when the great civilizations collapse, the folk pick up their stuff and move along. They don’t collapse because they're too close to the earth. So I tell all these earhtorian stories that I call “folk myths” that are how the world recreates when it looks like it's all ending because, I think, that’s where we're kind of headed into here.
Duncan Campbell: That’s really excellent because in one of our prior dialogues, we talked precisely about this. You said that in many civilizations, they have big myths that foresee an apocalyptic collapse and all that. But a lot of the little stories made of American and otherwise, see the ongoingness of the--[laughs] what's coming to my mind now, kind of outrageously as about “Mad Max.” I mean, in the movie where actually there's always somebody who survives the Apocalypse and every man walking on the earth or riding on the earth. In that case, Cormac McCarthy’s recent novel, father and Son threading across this millennial landscape of Apocalyptic destruction.
We talked last time, I analogized these small stories to the seeds that are in the earth as the Great Fire rages above and then after the entire force of the civilization is burned down, these little seedlings are going to sprout. So what I see in our dialogue now is that there are certain great, great myths, I would say, like the Bagavagita, that transcends civilization. They're in a kind of class by themselves and they really are resonant with the small folk myths. But it's the intermediate myths that are culture-dependent and specific. They go down when those civilizations go down.
Michael Meade: Yes. In the book, I call that the “mesocosm.” You are the macrocosm, which is the great story of the universe and the microcosm, which are the individual stories, in the middle ground is the mesocosm, which gets messy and comes apart. The other two continue, and that’s what I suggest in the book. When people get anxious or afraid nowadays, there are two directions to go in. The great eternal drama of life, which doesn’t come to an end, and the individual story, which may come to an end in terms of the individual life but it's really threaded to eternity. Those are the two ways to term when the meso, middle myth gets very messy.
So I think that’s what we're going through, and we're going through it for quite a while, quite a while. I have stories in there about how the earth, rather than just taking the scientific concerns about climate change, which are real and important to consider and important to deal with. But I take stories where the earth burns to ash. In this one great story from a tribe in Venezuela, all that’s left--two people survived because they're in the other world, that’s why they survived. When they come back, this world is ash.
One of them, looking for food in the ashes, finds a piece of charcoal and has the thought, charcoal was originally a tree and trees also gave us drums. Why do I drum this thing?” He begins playing it and dances the green tender of life out of the charcoal and it grows into the tree of life and from it, all of life comes back. So I'm trying to show how this story show that even on the individual level, if my life falls apart and I'm willing to stay in those ashes a little bit, I can find something through which I can dance my way back into life. That’s based on the bigger story that the earth inhabits. Then I had the idea that the word “end” doesn’t mean end, it means loose end, tail end, or remnant. There is no end, except there is a remnant from which things begin again.
Duncan Campbell: Exactly, the remnant of a garment that then grows into a new garment.
Michael Meade: Yes.
Duncan Campbell: Exactly, yes. As in the notion of fractoles [?], even if you have a remnant of a garment, it is the fractole [?] that come and grow into the full blown garment. It's the weave that he or she who survives looks at that remnant and understands how to replicate it and inspired by that weaves of whole, new garment. It's very beautiful, the way you talk about the mesocosm, I think, because that’s really it. It's what Coleman--our mutual friend, Coleman Barks--is referring to in what I quoted earlier where he said that, “Michael addresses the mess we're in and helps each of us discover the unique threads--that would be the small stories--the poetic DNA we must live out.
So there's a combination here of unique threads, like you have your unique destiny of calling and I have mine, but we share a poetic DNA, which would be the big, big stories. That’s why we can have, out of the many, we are one. That’s the great paradox, and it's learning to hold the tension of opposites, in the union sense, and to develop a paradoxical consciousness that allows us to live mythically.
I think of Jean-Jacque Rousseau who in, we might say, reaction to the overemphasis on the intellect and reason as the liberating force in the French Enlightenment, the European Enlightenment, he said in his first political discourse, something I used--this quotation in a paper I wrote as a freshman in college--kind of catching on to this weave. He said, “I prefer to be a man of paradoxes rather than a man of prejudices.” In French, “Je préfère être homme de paradoxes au lieu d’un homme de préjugés.” As you point out as well and as I pointed it out then, préjugés means pre-judgment.
So the way that we can open to the world behind the world is to have that groundedness in our own story and the willingness to persevere in the midst of the collapse of this middle stories and the despair that that can engender. When we watch the television and we start hearing these middle stories, they're manipulative and commodifying and what not, we look at the landscape everywhere in culture and we say, “There's no exit here. It's not going to work.” We can have what people have called “creeping despair.”
Then we hear a story, and it's like the water of life. We hear a story of rejuvenation and it touches somewhere in our heart, that gives us hope. Not unlike the speeches, I might say, of Barack Obama amidst our desert-like landscape of polarization for the last 20 years in America. Why are 35,000 people turning out? Because it resonates, he's telling a new story which is an ancient story.
Michael Meade: He's trying to revive, I think instinctively, the real dream of America, which is a dream--as I understand it--that’s in the land. I use some Native American stories in the book that are very much stories of the land. This land is a place of recreation according to the native people. So they understand that things come to their conclusion and begin again. I think, I agree that Barack Obama has picked up something of the dream of this culture that’s trying to enter again. I use the idea that when everything seems like it's going to end and when the middle is falling apart, myth tries to reenter and dream is really another word for myth. Dreams are the myths we have when we're sleeping, and they try to enter the world in a bigger way when things fall apart.
The other thing that’s interesting about Obama is that he's coming, of course, partly from an African-American background. So it says, “If the margins of the culture are trying to move to the center, because the vitality is all at the margins.” I was talking with Bill Morris, and he said, “Well, tell me what stories are alive in this culture?” because he was having like a moment of despair. I said, “Well, I tell you. All the vitality is at the edges.”
Go to the margins and you'll find people are doing hospice work, it's working with the dead but it has vitality in it! People are working with poverty and working with illnesses and working in prisons. I said those are the places in America where you can find vitality, the renewal of dreams and creative imagination. That’s based on an old Irish myth that says, “When the middle falls apart, which it does, it doesn’t disappear, but the pieces all go to the edges.” Then it becomes the job of individual people to go to the margin, that both scares them and intrigues them. There, find the thread and then pull the thread back to the center. When enough people do that, the center is reconstructed from the individual threads of people’s lives.
I think that’s where we're going to go now. There isn't going to be one big answer, there isn't going to one solution, there isn't going to be one party, there isn't going to be that kind of thing. This is going to be a whole lot of threads of vitality brought from the dark ages of culture back to the center by individuals who had enough courage to live their own life. From that, those individual threads, the reweaving of culture can occur and the re-imagination of how to deal with nature as well. That’s how I end the book by saying that’s our individual job and if we do that, we'll die well as well as live in an interesting way.
Duncan Campbell: Exactly. I must say, it's very beautifully said just now and in your book. It also resonates profoundly with the vision and the practice here on “Living Dialogues.” We've said from the beginning here on “Living Dialogues,” that the new consciousness is in tuned and in resonance with and inspired by our deep, ancient knowingness that’s in our DNA. Yet it is something new, it's taking us beyond the indigenous culture’s embededness in an alive natural world. It's including the empowerment of the modern mind separating itself almost as witness to that. In the process, going too far and denaturing and disenchanting the world and leaving us with the consciousness, as you point out, of modern science and religion, which is each in their own different way, commodifies experience and keeps us isolated from our own inner experience.
Just like King Midas wished for gold and that everything he touch might turn to gold and then he touched his own daughter. This was the tragic aspect of that story, that we now know we don’t need to live that out. I think of you're talking about this old Irish story of the center cannot hold, we think of the great poem of Yeats, “The Second Coming,” which you and Robert Bly and James Hillman included in your great poetry collection, “The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart” which we can highly recommend to our listeners.
One of the gems in there is Yeats’ “Second Coming” where he says, “In the ever widening gyre, this center cannot hold, the falcon cannot hear the falconer, the blood red tide is loosed, the best lack all conviction, and the worst are full of passionate intensity. What is this beast, its slow thighs moving in the desert, its gaze pitiless as the sun that slouches toward Bethlehem to be born.” This could be a description of our current political [laughs] electoral map there.
There is this sort of gaze pitiless as the sun, that things that negative campaigning and saying whatever and doing whatever to win to lie is somehow OK. It's the sign of a truly combative and strong person rather than he, who can actually keep his conviction the best. He who can keep that conviction by keeping their equanimity and their rootedness in the earth and standing up for this fragile yet really powerful and only really powerful humanity. One which refuses to give in to the lie for personal advantage but actually endorses the truth of our deep reality.
This is really another great story that we are all enact in. Here on “Living Dialogues” we say that this new consciousness, this new awakening, this new evolutionary consciousness that we're called to in order to survive of holding the paradox, of all of the diversity, not in conflict but in a wholistic consciousness. So you have the both end of the whole and their particular parts at the same time, and that requires a collective gathering of threads - your individual thread, mine, coming together in a dialogic creation like we're doing right now.
You and I, honoring what you're bringing to the table, what I'm bringing to the table, and what's been evoked from the two of us by our deep listening virtual audience. We know it’s having an impact on eliciting these vocalizations even though in the time, space, coordinates, they're not present right now. But from a non-locality perspective of the latest in energy field physics and Quantum physics, we know that they are here present with us.
So even as you are telling the story and being called to put these beautiful stories in the book, it's being evoked from you by all the people that have lived those little stories and that will listen to them and appreciate them. Just like you say, Obama is actually feeling in his DNA, he's feeling in his rhythm the energy of the earth, and it's coming out in his speeches. That’s why they're so powerful.
Michael Meade: Oh, yes, he's tapping that.
Duncan Campbell: Tapping an energy field that’s not about him creating something, and fortunately, and he doesn’t have the hubris to think it's about him. Unlike the other candidates, he's saying, “It's not about me. It's about us. If you'll stand with me, we will stand together and together we will.” So he's standing up for what we're all standing up for.
Michael Meade: He's in an struggle, too. I watched him struggling. He is challenged if this is his destiny. Of the various people running for office, he's the only one to my eye, that looks like there might be some destiny in it, not just bold faced ambition. But he's challenged like Olivares, is seems to me that the human has to have the hubris of their destiny. So he's in an extremely challenged position to stand against the history of white culture, the history of Western civilization to a certain degree.
He has two things he has to do – be in touched with the great story and find his feet anchored deep in the earth. He has three things, actually. Find that anchoring in the earth, have the courage to live up to the great imagination inside his own life, which I think he struggles with that at times, he could actually stand even a little bit taller. That brings up the third thing, and that is to know when to duck because in this culture, they remove leaders by assassination. So he, I think, has a remarkable destiny. But, I think, we're also in a time where certain leaders have to live their own lives in a more full way and take more risks. Then the rest of us do, too, we can expect some of the carrier [sp] force.
In the books, I finally get to write about one of my great heroes, which is Scheherazade, who saved all the women and, therefore, the feminine of the realm by going against the sword of doom. All the women were being killed after one night of sleeping with the king who was out of his mind as many leaders nowadays are. But she goes against all of that doom and all of that destruction and all of that manipulation and all of that distortion with nothing but stories. Because that’s her destiny, she has to live with stories. I had the greatest time getting inside the imagination of Scheherazade and try to write about what allowed her, cost her, required her to go against the sword of certain death and have nothing but stories as her weapons and her tools.
Then the great thing that happens in there, which is amazing to me, she doesn’t just stop the murderers’ murdering every dawn of life and, especially feminine life, she actually heals that king. Most people don’t know that in the end of the “A Thousand and One Arabian Nights,” they're married and they have two children. She has brought him from the darkness of destruction back into the arms of love. She, herself, has grown and gone from being a young woman to a mother and a queen. So it's a tremendous story about the reversal of everything through story. That was one of the best parts for me of this book was getting to write and dwell with Scheherazade for a while.
Duncan Campbell: Beautiful! In fact, in our very first dialogue that we did, which is up on the website, LivingDialogues.com that’s available at PersonalLifeMedia.com, and you click on the Living Dialogues. In the very first one of the three that we have up there, I mentioned Scheherazade, as in exactly this way. We didn’t go into it deeply at that time, but I pointed out she her as odd [sp]. There's a deep feminine resonance here of bringing things together and then bringing the new life, as you point out, at the end of the story.
To, as we come into the end of our time, put Obama in a certain kind of context here, when I said he didn’t have the hubris to think it was about him, I wasn’t projecting on him. Really, I was wanting to call attention of the fact that most candidates in politics think it's about them. “I will fight for you.” They think that they're the ones that are creating the energy field, and it's about them, there's a kind of adolescent Narcissism there. He needs to have, not hubris I think, but just a very powerful sense of the rightness of his own story in his own calling.
I think, that’s what happened to him at the time when Jeremiah Wright scandal first came out. It was made into a scandal where all his advisers said just let it flow over, and he said, “No. I feel a deep calling against all the political advice to make a speech to the nation about how, as a nation, we need to come to grips at depth with our whole racial story and this original sin of America, of slavery.” So when he gave that speech on March 18, it was against the advice of all of his campaign people because they thought that it was calling too much attention to it. But he made his stand there because he could feel a larger calling.
Now, there are aspects now that are being acted out that I think are very interesting for all of us because, certainly, John McCain is living out his story. Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton are living out their story. Now, as we look at these three or four stories, it's up to the people to see which ones they're going to be called for in a culture that is, actually at this point not educated, [laughs] to really see the deeper story.
It will really kind of depend on things that are, as we said, inponderable. Whether the underlying truth of what's really, deeply called for in evolution is going to come through at this point or whether it's going to be blocked by this meso level, the mesocosm and the messiness of politics as it's been done for decades now in its polarized way. If that happens, the mess will continue to get even more messy, and we shall see.
Michael Meade: Yes. I'm thinking that he might be coming upon another moment when this challenge is before him. In other words, to live one’s destiny or one's story, a person has to grow against and through their own ego--by which I mean, ego attitudes and ego limits, not biggie. That’s one kind of ego. The other kind of ego is the restricting ego, and destiny requires that a person breaks through the skin of that. For some people, they should bend down a little low. I won’t say which candidates needs to bow their head a little bit, for others, they need to stand up a little taller.
Duncan Campbell: In a different time, you say the same candidate needs to know when to stand tall and when to duck; when to hold them and when to fold them.
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