Psychological Self-Help

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unrealistic or unscientific picture of what their future will be like, what
kind of person they will marry, how their kids will turn out, and even
some idea about when and how they will die. That's our myths, not
science. These unfounded beliefs can be very confining. 
Likewise, many of our opinions about life in general reflect our
cultural inheritance, the stories and assumptions we are told and
believe, not what we have experientially or experimentally found to be
true. Examples: the Hindus worship cows, we eat them. Chinese eat
dogs, we don't. Certain Indians destroy wealth, we covet it. Families
assign work on the basis of what is believed to be sexually
appropriate, not experimentation with who can do the best job--girls
baby-sit and help cook, boys mow lawns and wash cars. Some families
expect to be wealthy leaders, others expect to be poor. Each person's
place is set by the family script--Larry is the good student, Linda is the
little mother, Barb is the cheer leader, Bruce is the loner, etc. If anger
and violence are used by parents to threaten children and by heroes
on TV to right wrongs, the children will use angry threats to intimidate
other kids without investigating what works best. We live submerged
in a sea of unproven beliefs. 
The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but
the myth--persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.
-John F. Kennedy
Joseph Campbell (1949) felt myths disclosed--via stories--the
great mysteries of our internal world, i.e. our psyche. Myths, like
therapy, books, and dreams, can be used to gain insight into our
unconscious motives, needs, fears, wishes, conflicts, etc. The
implications of our myths aren't based on scientific knowledge; it is
"wisdom" of the ages, however, waiting to be tested scientifically.
Campbell summarized a common myth from many cultures about a
hero or heroine: he/she undertakes some task and soon faces a
challenge. He/she accepts the challenge, a "call to adventure," and
soon faces many tests, often a shadowy presence or a strange but
vaguely familiar force. The "obstacle" may be a strong, controlling,
punishing female or a tempting but unattainable woman. It may be a
stern, demanding, physically threatening male. The test may be a
difficult moral dilemma (like serving your family or living your own
life). Sound familiar? In the myth, the hero or heroine overcomes
these obstacles, gains esteem and spiritual power, and generally
improves and enriches the world. Campbell sees each of us as the hero
or heroine of our own story. Each of us has the wondrous opportunity
to explore the unconscious psychic world within--to "know thyself," to
know that all the heroes/heroines and God/Goddesses that ever
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