Is "Piece of Mind" a "Peace of Self?"
- I'm reposting this reply to Wibro's post about "Peace of Mind," since
it doesn't appear to have successfuly downloaded.
"Not to play semantics (although that is part of the play, after all,
at least on this particular stage, not to mention the stage of life
in general), but it might help to say that we're seeking peace of
Self vs. seeking a peace of mind. And this peace of Self would be
definied as union with the Self (captial "S" clearly intended).
Or maybe better still, we can scrap the whole "Self" terminology
(perhaps not altogether, but only temporarily, because it is highly
useful on the WHOLE) and simply say that on the most elemental
ontolgoical level we seek fullness, the Pleroma, or at least Gnostics
do anyway, although we all experience limit while outside the Pleroma.
So, what we're talking about here is not merely a dissolution, but an
integration. Of course, it's certainly much easier to describe the
dissolution since we daily experience what is to be dissolved (the
world of limit and its seemingly unlimited faces of limit) whereas
we're merely only coming (or coming and going,as may be the case) to
experience that which is to be integrated.
As for myths, they simply re-present the whole existential case that
always stands before us (limit relative to fullness), and thus
perhaps they hold the potential to expand our consciousness so that
we may see or move towards this fullness which is otherwise
occultized or hidden from us (a whole story in itself, which Gnostics
zero-in on through their own myths, though ultimately, it's at the
root of all myths).
Now then, if myth is seen as fact, then it is merely a story among
countless stories, and it merely presents a perhaps amusing
alternative world, but it's still just another place of limit--
offering us a piece of mind rather than true peace of mind.
In such cases, such stories (and our piecemeal approach to them)
possess as much the capacity to narrow our scope as to widen it.
In fact, given that the practice of literalalizing myth is by
definition a kind of narrowing, then we might expect it to yield
narrowing results. Why should it open us up to anything?
In other words, if we limit myth, then it will surely limit us.
I might add that whenever myth is taken literally, it no longer may
be defined as myth since it no longer functions according to the
definition of myth--and one must rely on definitions to effectively
use language, especially in such instances as this where linguistic
distinctions are so closely tied, and senstive to, sensible and
At any rate, when myths are divested of their mythic function, they
effectively become nothing more or less than stories or else beliefs
(or even belief systems, such as they may evolve) or else... whatever
else--they're just no longer myths, and in typical fashion, they
become meaningless to people over time.
Considering the literal/material predisiposition of the modern world
and its tendency to narrow its focus, it's small wonder that the past
three centuries (the Age of Microscopes, one might say) has seen a
devaluation of myth.
As a result, more people than ever know more microscopic details than
ever about our world, but perhaps relatively fewer know about their
Reality. Perhaps I'm overstating the case and being a tad too
cynical, and who knows, maybe we're even about to enter a new
Macroscopic Age, eh?
More likely, the yin/yang, light/dark, micro/macro, etc./etc. world
will march onward. But where to?
Well, I don't think I'm being overly cynical when we look at the
world's great religious myths and we see how literalization has so
often limited human and individual consciousness and growth, whether
this literalization was undertaken by the political, ecclesiastical,
or academic right or left.
However, the exceedingly good news is that when myth is perceived as
something more than fact, it releases us (or more accurately, we
release ourselves in the process of a dialogue with myth) from limit
to greater fullness. We exerience greater realizations, greater
insights, and greater consciousness.
That should be a welcome experience for anyone in any language."