existed are somewhere within us too (Fagan, 1989). Or we can refuse
to take the adventure.
...the heroes of all time have gone before us... we have only to follow the thread of the
hero's path... where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our
own existence; where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.
-Joseph Campbell, 1949
Where there is a way or path, it is someone else's footsteps. Each of
us has to find his/her own way... Nobody can give you a mythology.
-Joseph Campbell, 1987 (cited in Feinstein & Krippner, 1988)
We also accumulate myths or stories about heroes and villains
which support our beliefs and ethics, which give our life meaning. As
Keen (1988) says, "Myth is... the unconscious information, the
program that governs the way we see 'reality' and behave." In
general, myths are a conservative influence keeping things the same--
honoring our forefathers and old heroes. However, a powerful force for
changing a society is to change the stories (movies, books, TV) told to
each other. We change ourselves by changing our heroes and our
beliefs (see chapter 3 and later in this section). A critical step in coping
with a changing future is to become aware of our life story and the
myths that have governed our life thus far, including an awareness of
the unwitting assumptions and unconsciously determined habits
involved. We may need new beliefs. That is the focus of
psychotherapy, especially Freud's and Jung's analysis, Adler's early
memories, and George Kelly's personal construct theories. Likewise,
this self-help method uncovers personal myths and attempts to
provide us with a way to change.
Feinstein and Krippner (1988) take a broad view of myths. To
them, your unique personal myths developed gradually as a result of
many factors, including stories, e.g. Rambo or Gandhi, told within our
multi-media culture, family values, peer pressure, religious teachings,
and perhaps even genetic predispositions (as in Jung's collective
unconscious or emotional predilections). These complexly determined
views influence how we see the world, how we handle new
information, how we decide on our values and purposes in life, how we
relate to the mysteries and "powers" around us, and generally how
well we deal with life. By understanding your own highly complex and
quickly changing system of beliefs, you can supposedly become more
in control of your life. There is no scientific evidence of increased self-
control via this method, but it is a personal myth--a belief--of the
writers cited here.