I forget what fast-talkers the Zimmers are. I come from a family of talkers, but they expound at a cogitatin’ Mark-Twain Missouri pace. Zimmers can’t get those big thoughts out of their heads fast enough. Irene (Eric’s wife and Mark’s mom) has learned to raise her hand. I’ve learned to just butt in. Anyway, with our pretty liberal vs kinda conservative perspectives, we’ve learned to hammer out solutions to all the world’s problems… or at least to see the absurdity of it all.
Meanwhile, I’m still thinking about conversations with Joe and Pat, in which we admitted our youthful prejudices — me about Protestants (the minority of “Publics” who went to public school in our mostly Catholic neighborhoods) and them about Catholics (cultish people to be suspicious of, who knows why). And didn’t Jim tell me that kids in his neighborhood had rock fights with the “mackerel snappers” (those kids who ate meat on Fridays)? We can mostly laugh about this now, though we admit to little pockets of sensitivity.
Then I opened my Joseph Campbell mythology book the other day and, wouldn’t you know, he was referring to psychologist Carl Jung and the differences between Protestants and Catholics. Here’s the deal: we are in true harmony with the universe when we are tapped into our collective unconscious via the mythology (e.g. religion) we buy into. “The structure of any completely unfolded, well considered mythological system… is harmoniously beautiful and of Apollonian [poetic] clarity, and at the same time fully electrified with experienced… life significance and radiance.”
The problem (in a generalized nutshell): Protestants suffer from “chronic iconoclasm” [banishing idols and false gods] resulting in an “alarming poverty of symbols,” such that many Protestants feel drawn to the fullness of Eastern religions. Catholics have preserved the complete and harmoniously beautiful mythology, but have strangled it with doctrine; myth (and access to the collective unconscious) is patterned by authority, instead of being emergent from life itself.
Hmmm… a new perspective for me, something to explore.
Oh well, here we are in Savannah, stuffed with hush puppies after a long day’s drive from the Tampa Bay area. Maybe enough philosophizing…