Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Life in Hades


Dang, those ancient Greeks were clever! How did they predict all those years back my life in e-mail? For every Hydra-headed e-mail answered and chopped off, two more spring up to take its place. I push them all like Sisyphus to the top of the mountain and just when it looks like I can rest, there they go tumbling down again. I see the tantalizing grapes just out of my reach and get on my Tantulus tippy-toes to taste the sweet fruit of hunger satiated and they get pulled just out of my reach. Hades ain’t no storybook Hell, it’s the busy modern life of trying to get things done, with ever more glitzy, hyper-speed and demanding technologies.

Before e-mail what did we do? (I know, just talking about e-mail already puts me in dinosaur status—I should mention texting, What’s Ap?, Instagram, Facebook, etc.). I suppose we talked more by phone to arrange lunch or sent contracts or workshop invitations by mail. But somehow it worked. I don’t teach more workshops now because of faster communication then I did 25 years ago or have lunch with people more often. But still every day, there’s that mountain of e-mails to climb, those Hydra-heads snarling at me, those tantalizing grapes dangling.

Well, these first world problems are not as interesting as the fact that the ancient myths speak to them. Joseph Campbell brilliantly pointed us to that truth, in company with folks that came before like Carl Jung, Heinrich Zimmer, Marie Louise-Von Franz and others, folks that came after like James Hillman, Michael Meade, Robert Bly. I’d like to get into this topic a bit deeper here, but hey, I got some e-mails to answer.

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