Saturday, February 10, 2007

Dreams Of The Marionettes

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
(1571-1610) - Medusa, c. 1597

"Mythology is an expression of the collective unconscious."

"The human psyche is essentially the same all over the world. The psyche is the inward experience of the human body, which is essentially the same in all human beings, with the same organs, the same instincts, the same impulses, the same conflicts, the same fears. Out of this common ground have come what Jung has called the archetypes, which are the common ideas of myths."

"The elementary ideas: what could be called the ground ideas. These ideas Jung spoke of as archetypes of the unconscious. "Archetype" is a better term because "elementary idea" suggests head work. Archetypes of the unconscious means it comes from below. The archetypes of the unconscious are manifestations of the organs of the body and their powers. Archetypes are biologically grounded: the biographical is secondary to that. All over the world and at different times in human history, these archetypes have appeared in different costumes. The differences in costume are the result of environment and historical conditions."

"It's surprising how much memory there is down in the unconscious. There's a whole system . . . which, when we see it in animals, we call instinct. That is the biological ground. But then certain things happen that make it repulsive or difficult or frightening or sinful to do some of the things one is impelled to do, and that is when we begin to have our most troublesome psychological problems. Myths are primarily for fundamental instruction in these matters."

"A metaphor points to two ends: one is psychological, the other metaphysical. The dream is metaphoric of the structures of the psyche, and your dreams will correspond to the level of psychological realisation you are operating on. The metaphysical, on the other hand, points past all conceptualisations, all things, to the ultimate depth. And when the two come together, when the psyche and metaphysics meet, then you have a real myth."

"Myths are the world's dreams. They are archetypal dreams and deal with the great human problems."

"Myths and dreams come from the same place. They come from realisations of some kind that have then to find expression in symbolic form."

"Heaven and hell are within us, and all the gods. All the worlds are within us. They are magnified dreams, and dreams are manifestations in image form of the energies of the body on conflict with each other."

"Dreamtime is the time you get into when you do to sleep and have a dream that talks about the permanent conditions within your own psyche as they relate to the temporal conditions of your life right now."

"Everyone has to pass a threshold of some kind. This is an archetypal thing. So there is a basic mythological theme there even though it is a personal dream. These two levels . . . are found in all cultures. For example, everyone has the problem of facing death. This is a standard mystery."

"A dream is a personal experience of that deep, dark ground that is the support of our conscious lives, and a myth is the society's dream. The myth is the public dream and the dream is the private myth. If your private myth, your dream, happens to coincide with that of society, you are in accord with your group. If it isn't, you've got an adventure in the dark forest ahead of you."

"Dreams come up from the imagination which is grounded in the energy of the organs of the body, and these are all the same in human beings. Since imagination comes out of one biological ground, it is bound to produce certain themes . . . There are certain characteristics of dreams that can be enumerated, no matter who is dreaming."

"On some levels a private dream runs into runs into truly mythic themes that can't be interpreted except by an analogy with myth. Jung speaks of two orders of dream, the personal dream and the archetypal dream, or the dream of the mythic dimension. You can interpret a personal dream by association, figuring out what it is talking about in your own life, or in relation to your personal problem. But every now and then a dream comes up that is pure myth, and carries a mythic theme, or that is said to come from the archetypal person within us. "

"I think the psychology of Freud tends more to relate to what Jung calls the personal unconscious. When you break past that into the realms that cannot be interpreted in terms of personal experience, you're in the field of mythic forms. And if you're acquainted with the mythic forms, you understand where you are in a way that's impossible if you have no previous acquaintanceship."

Joseph Campbell