As humans we all live within a story, or worldview, that is delivered to us via culture. This story shapes our perception, our behaviour and the arc of every life we touch around us. The majority of people over history have never questioned the story that is handed to them and acted out their part in that particular play. But something different is happening in contemporary times. As modern cultures become more secular the grand narratives of the past are losing their appeal. Secular humanism and scientific materialism have attempted to deliver something as juicy as the mythic religions but have been unable to connect to the deepest structures of our psyches which are……mythic.
Many people are currently attempting to forge a story that brings together the mythic and the logical, weaving together the unique strengths of religion and science. I whole-heartedly support this effort. The good news is that we can create a good, true and beautiful story that is potent and sane. The bad news is that if you don’t take the power of story seriously a really crap version can sneak up on you and start running your life for you!
Philosophical view has always been a core part of religions like Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Christianity. This doesn’t have to mean believing something just because the tradition says it’s true. The best of these views are compasses for guiding you to experiences that you can have yourself. It is quite common for contemporary spiritual practitioners to downplay the importance of rigorous philosophy preferring to ‘get out of your head and feel the good vibes’. To navigate any territory, whether that is your life or a mountain range, you require a good map. Not in order to tell you precisely what you will find on the ground or experience, but to point you in the direction of the wisdom learned by those who have travelled before you. You may add to the map, drawing new routes and occasionally even a new destination. Improvising is a key part of life, but usually this creativity is actually a weaving together of pre-existing maps that have never or seldom been brought together.
P and C owned by Ralph Cree 2023