Updated: Feb 10
I'm a believer in the power of metaphor, the validity of the Carl Jung's collective unconscious, and the ultimate truths embedded within Joseph Campbell's hero's journey. I think all three instruct us powerfully and beautifully throughout the unique cyclical journeys, quests, callings and adventures we are invited to experience throughout our lives. Our lives, thus, end up forming a complex spiral, each cycle building upon and venturing deeper than the last. If you stick around, you'll find that I will continue to use metaphor, cycles, spirals, Carl Jung's work, as well as the Hero's Journey in all sorts of contexts, if not for us as educators, then for students. I will be posting some curriculum that utilizes the hero's journey as a framework for English courses and units, American History courses and units, Leadership classes, Advisory classes, as well as Career and College Preparation classes.
For whatisarealeducation, I have embraced it as a way to navigate through our quest for a "real" education. I will initiate a more in depth dialogue about that and paint a more detailed picture of what I see, later on, at some point. For now, though, I'll just briefly provide a little context. Campbell, after studying hundreds of cultures in the present and throughout history, saw a pattern, an incredible pattern. All human cultures seek and make meaning of their lives through storytelling as a way understanding the internal landscape of ourselves and of our contemporaries and of our ancestors. All of these diverse stories are structured the exact same way across space and time despite the lack of contact or communication with one another. From the sharing of these metaphorical and sometimes sacred stories, we gain insight and guidance in how to live our own lives and how to venture out on our own adventures. Ultimately, we are transformed from each journey we dare to embark on. We return home with our treasures that we will give to others thereby constantly improving upon our world as we improve with a better version of ourselves. We then construct and share and pass on our story so others will possess the wisdom we acquired, which will equip those who come after us with tools to begin at an accelerated and deeper place than we did.
Every hero's journey that we embark on begins at the top of a circle. This placement is referred to as home, literally and figuratively. This is where we develop our identity, beliefs, goals, experiences, and values. This is where our consciousness is raised to be concerned and oriented toward problems, people, and possibilities, all of which are preparing us for personal invitations from destiny to pursue our potential to be the hero of our own lives, to participate in the grand quest of our lifetime by daring to commit to the smaller journeys, walkabouts, adventures, trials, endeavors, and missions throughout our lives. And as Campbell explains, it is at home that we develop enough self-identity to visualize what we love, what consumes us and fills us with wonder, what drives us to be large and extraordinary. He calls this our bliss. He pleads with us all to find our bliss.
Far too many of us choose to stay "home" for our entire lives. We never find our bliss or search for it. We live lives of conformity and habit, un-reflective, stagnant, risk-free and closed to what is possible within us and beyond us. No one has to venture away from home although it is that very venturing that brings meaning to our lives.
If we are going on a quest for whatisarealeducation, we need to establish who we are, as educators today, what influenced us, what beliefs and assumptions we have now, and envision what we want to ultimately achieve. One useful exercise might be to identify where we currently fall on the spectrum of educational philosophical orientations between traditional and progressive. It will serve to help us clarify our starting point. The traditional progressive survey will potentially also stimulate dialogue and raise questions that could further help us as we listen for the call to our adventure.
In the next blog entry, I'll introduce the spectrum and I'll post a survey self-assessment to take before venturing from "home" to begin the quest.