Posted by: katz | December 31, 2010


Congratulations! You’ve made it to mirror. From here, anything is possible.
(You Are Here with big red arrow pointing at mirror on treasure map)

And so Katz was introduced to Self Builder’s interface, Mirror, for the first time in the real world. It’d been only nine months since they’d originally met up in that strange momentarily electric world of ideas and began conspiring together on this project, the Transparency Project. In only nine months more the world will forever be altered. Soon after Instant Karma and Wagering goes live, the world as we know it grinds to a halt.


Everyone must change. Into what, is for each to decide for his own self. The possibilities are endless. And what could possibly be more frustrating & terrifying, will say so very many of the peoples, who will become aggressive & deceptive in pursuit of slowing & stopping the changing. But this can be hardly anyone or almost everyone, extremely aggressive or not even barely at all. It hasn’t happened yet. We only know the possibilities; likelihoods; inevitabilities. We do not know how it ends. It’s incalculable. Never before has the individual self had such a say in what shall become of it.

The decisions are yet to be made. We know only that they are to be made via Katzenstein’s Self Builder.

Posted by: katz | September 24, 2009

In Which Katz Re-Disappears

“If i’m curt, it’s because time is a factor.”–Mr. Wolf, Pulp Fiction


Dear-dear oh-so-dear Transparency Project Blog viewers & readers,


Thanks for nothing.

This could have been one of the all-time great relationships.

I’d’ve blown the bejarnsus outta your minds, and you’d’ve gotten to shiver with excitement while watching your own selfs do the similar-same wonderfulnesses to my very own.

But, so sorry, you can’t reciprocate, huh?

And boy did you bore me at the end…


We’ll see you in a year!
(sometime between a yearish & never 😉 )


All Our Love,
Transparency Press



BUT! you can add an amazingness to your life that will grow over time if you read the other posts on this site – the Campbell’s Hero’s Journey abridgments – if you read them through and then maybe again in 6 months and then maybe again even later, and on & on into the entrancing dancing night. no, though, you’re not going to enjoy the reading or feel smart about it; but if you read it neither for understanding nor entertainment, but as if inputting information into your brain, as you might download information from your brain by thinking and then inputting it into the cpu, uploading it to the interweb (you know, Indra’s internet, which is a reflection of the collective consciousness, as a culminating technology of inter-reaction & communication, as all technologies are reflections of original creative consciously willful actions – like how cellphones reflect the human capacity for telepathy – and easy & popular skip along the boardwalk in just the most intoxicating love affair of all:



…it doesn’t seem ended, but it is

Posted by: katz | August 25, 2009

(notes for the next that never)

there is the talk with don: thinking of heading over to China to start a magazine for her company. – terrifying

there is seattle: headed to china just after katz first fell in love with her. she got with that poser dick-fuck over there. katz never wasn’t soon to get over it – the realer the love the tougher it is to undo – she finally came back around to being more than friends a couple years later, but China had made her an unfeeling creep, so she immediately moved on to fucking some other poor sap.

talking w/ Frances about how KC is soon to blow up – just wait till i get done with this town – and she was barely listening – she knew better, she’d been to France, where things are different and ancient – as if Katz doesn’t flarking oodles about being different & ancient.

the why of China – sensorial excitement of the seemingly different; the mundane becomes fascinating again – but that’s a state of mind, not a location. as Henry Miller says “All that matters is that the miraculous becomes the norm” “there is only and always the struggle of the individual”

end with the discussion with Don. she may head over to China to start a version of her mag over there. it was the scariest thing Katz had ever heard. he tried to keep his cool, explaining only that this was the time of the drastic decision and telling of his friend who’d just succumbed to such a decision, joining the army.

Posted by: katz | August 3, 2009

In Which Katz Reads Reality Like A Map

“Erg, I look like a tourist,” Jeff grumbled, fearing attire-ridicule from the super-cool crowd expected at the show. Scoops’ car jumped a speed bump-sized metal plate covering just another fissure on the dilapitaded 12th Street Bridge, lowering them into the West Bottoms. Jeff went airborne, slamming his la cabeza into the roof like a real Harry Henderson – “Ow!”

Harry Henderson and the Hendersons

“Just stay close by me,” Katz said, “and no one will even notice how poorly you’re dressed.”

Jeff, laughing, “Is that a self-deprecating joke?”

“Um, I guess so. My wardrobe really is very small & pathetic. It’s pretty funny, I think. I don’t actually take it personally though. I mean, I don’t really identify myself with my clothing – it’s the least of my worries at this point.”

After that it was all wide eyes and noses on windows as they turned through the desolate streets between the decaying buildings, resting and popping out just down the block from 1323 Union. A train moseyed coal on down the line just a stone’s-throw away.

For many years, especially the original years, the West Bottoms was the heart of Kansas City. The area is thick with the past: French & Injun traders on the Santa Fe Trail, stockyards & cowboys, Union Depot & railyards, the 1903 flood, WWII & tank factories.

These days it’s mainly empty crumbling dead buildings so much more alive than any of the thrivers filled to the brim with the so-called living in the rest of the city. It’s a case study in the fullness of life surrounding so-called death; a perfect counter-point to the throbbing mass of lifelessness parading through Kansas City’s newest area, the Power & Light District. Perhaps its richness remains simply because it has for so long held off those people, Life’s tourists, so afraid of the past as to yelp upon glimpsing their very own shadow.

They will come though, soon, with their money, their hurried & constant automatic movements, their glazed eyes, their money. The money-grubbers will buy the buildings and make them to look like all the same places where the money-spenders, with their defective memories, have been trained to exchange their money for last time – remember last time, wasn’t that fun? Yeah, I bet I do remember that, I bet that was fun. I certainly felt like I was doing something. The other people like us seemed to think they were having fun, I bet I did too! Let’s try the newest version of the new place this time.

But not yet. And so it’s still there. It’s still alive. There’s still time.

“Do you know why they call this the Emerald Space?” Katz asked a tall, skinny, almost bumbish-looking character with a full beard and a flopsy army-green hat upon his head; he seemed comfortable enough to know all about it.

The first band was already playing, a gaggle of Iowans just down to be part of the show. The crowd was, at best, still en route.

“Because it’s green?” the character asked back.

True, the facade was green, but it was not emerald. There’s always something in a name. Still, Katz knew better than to press and instead relaxed.

That was the end of his investigational instigations. As is always the case with inspiration, it must be allowed to flow of its own accord. The best you can do to encourage it is to get your own self – thoughts, desires, insecurities – as much out of the way as possible. Katz was not there to pry, to extract information from the experience; he was there to watch & listen, to be aware of all information that came to him, both internally & externally, in this space. He would not jump to conclusions, presumptions; he would examine how the information changed him, allow it to change him right into his future.

Mostly, of course, this called for silence & stillness. And so he spent the night walking extremely slowly, being aloof; conversing, sure, barely, but mostly standing just removed from the discussions; lots of looking around with a wide-angle lense; lots of focusing attention on subtle reactionary feelings within his self, aroused associations & memories; lots of listening to others; lots of cigs.

“So have you talked to Frances yet?” Jeff inquired about a female friend he’d recently introduced to Katz, lighting their cigarettes.

“No. I only became her friend on Facebook,” Katz replied.

“I thought that was the whole point,” Jeff laughed.

“Really? Yeah, I guess. I don’t know what the point was. I’m interested. I’d like to know her but she’s not here, you know. She doesn’t seem too interested in being in KC. She’s probably going back to France or something. I’m pretty sure she’s gone anyway, right?”

Koney, Sweetums, Kaos and Silly Dilly – the acb’s – strolled up with a fan, an Emerald Space resident. Silly Dilly was percolating, peppering her with questions about the place.

“How many people live here? How much is it? Who owns it? What’s it like to live here; in the winter; the summer?”

Bravo, Silly Dilly – Bravo. He wasn’t just curious; he was determined, hatching schemes for the residential takeover of the Emerald Space. Katz couldn’t agree more.

Another train cruised by at hopping-speed.

“You gotsta love them trains,” Scoops said.

“Oo ya,” Katz agreed. As the sound drowned out the nearby conversations, it reminded him of Crumbs’ old place in Chicago, which remembrances always came with a hefty side of Don. He liked trains, trains of all types, especially these, the old-schoolish ones. But this was not about his own preferences or endurances. He scrunched up his face, “The noise could be an issue.”

There was talk of striking a deal with the trains then, re-routing them if need be. The space was becoming their very own place. They’d make it theirs, and the world would adapt them. Silly Dilly was planning the layout of the living quarters: “See, in the summer you just move the Super Nintendo into the basement…”

“The perfect place to build a community, really,” Katz said, eyes twinkling.

The second act kicked up their jams, and Katz maxed his relax on the couch, toe-tapping. The crowd was still disappointing. Where were Nick & Nora, where were the cool high-schoolers sneaking out to chase the thrills of music & times, locales. This was their perfect opportunity. Did they not exist in KC anymore? Worrisome.

He imagined Seattle, the prospects. It felt very self-sufficient, with consistent progress and steady inspiration – the very things Katz with his sprint & rest style had so lacked, for always even. How he had struggled to balance his life in the ways Seattle seemed to offer; how he had hated on himself for always failing.

But wait, there’s more! Seattle also felt like deep breaths of fresh salt-watery air, pine needles – lush, frolicky, emerald. And that’s when he realized: Seattle is the Emerald City.

His brain flurried with thought, worries. He was cheating here, trying to cram a square Emerald Space into a round Emerald City hole. There was no Wizard here. The Wizard was all the way out there, where he clearly should be. How could he have missed that before? He’ll move out there, write his shit, it’ll be a big hit, and the Wizard will then send him home better than ever, ready to love and be loved, flourishing, with even money and power enough to help. He was just afraid. This whole time, he’d only really been afraid, treading water for fear of progressing.

These thoughts circled around the inside rim of his head like one of those circus motorcycle daredevils zooming around on the walls inside the steel-egg cage. The band ended their set, and Katz stumbled outside for yet another ciggie. He took in the West Bottoms; he loved it there. He relaxed, calmed & quieted his mind, slowly turned back toward the venue and, for the first time that night, spotted a simple cardboard sign very prominently placed in the window of the Emerald Space.

The sign read, “Your Future.”

 Your Future w/ Mask

Talk about a sign! The rest of the night was glorious. The crowd thickened. Them acb’s put on a truly impressive show, as if reluctantly teaching the other bands: “See, these are hits, and this is how you perform them and get the smiling bodies bouncing.”

Katz even dared the collapse of the universe, shooting Don a carefree texter: “This is katz. Check out chapter 1 @” Waffling, re-considering, then finally choosing the winking devil smiley over old plain-jane jolly-yellow winking smiley as his sign-off. So stupid it’s got to be funny…right?

Electricity still seemed to pop throughout the crowd as it oozed back outside for the post-show chatterfest. There was talk of going out, of course. But what they settled on was at least as exciting. Katz & Scoops were headed back to Holly for a smorkle and a viewing of The Forgotten with Mr. Marbles; Jeff’s sights were locked onto Sonic.

On the ride home, Katz contemplated the Wizard, the trip to the Wizard. The Wizard of Oz wasn’t really all-powerful or even all-knowing. He was just a trickster. All he really did is trick beings who couldn’t believe in their own selfs to believe in him, to fear and therefore imbue with power his lame histrionics so that they would actually listen to him when he told them exactly what they needed to hear to believe in their own selfs. And he provided cheap, imitative reminders of their own powerful natures. They already had the power to do whatever they so very wanted; they’d had the power all along.

Katz sat there in the dark, grinning like a fool, his eyes tracing the leaves & lawns on the landscape as it zoomed past. 

“You should talk more to that girl, Frances,” Jeff suggested, amused. “I’ll be interested to hear if you do.”

Katz again admitted his own interest.

“I think she’s moving to China,” Jeff added.

“That’s hilarious,” Katz said. “I have quite a history of meeting girls on the verge of disappearing into China.”

Posted by: katz | July 30, 2009

In Which Katz Is Off To See The Wizard

The rock-n-roll show was at a place called the Emerald Space, two nights after the eclipse. Katz had projected the afterhang of this event as the site of his decision on and communication to Seattle. When he’d decided that, he didn’t even know where this place was, what it was like, what the show was to be like, or who would be there. It was to be an highly irregular appearance for him: Thursday night, outside the heart of the city, hefty entrance fee, high probability of no friendly accompaniment. He knew only the best band in Kansas City – the acb’s – would be playing at some point, and the venue was called the Emerald Space.

Though he loved that band – friends & Legends all – it was the name of the place that so attracted Katz to the experience.

“It’s because of tracking a Wizard of Oz motif lately,” Katz mentioned earlier in the week in an email to possible companions for the night. “Kinda strange behavior if you ask me…”

He was hoping, somehow, in some form, to find the Wizard there. The Wizard of Oz lives in Emerald City. City, space – close enough. It seemed perfect, destined almost. Katz was oh-so relieved to have this coalescence to help him with his decision-making. Without it, he was clueless about where in the anywhere to even begin to make such momentous decisions on which his entire future would turn.

“He’ll know what to do,” Katz thought with excited & curious anticipation. “He can solve any problem – he knows everything. Someone will be there, something will happen. And then I’ll know. With the Wizard’s help I’ll realize my future. Then I can swell with confidence & purpose and move on to the next brain-busting problem along this path.”

Katz imagined the trip out to Emerald Space: the car jam-packed with smiles, singing, “we’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of oz.”

Well, there wasn’t singing, and Katz was the only one occasionally visibly smiling, but the ride with Scoops & Jeff sure was pleasant. They stopped at QT for some BYOB. Scoops, of course, went with a sipper of vodka and a sipper of syrupy sweetness – mouth-mixers. Jeff graciously agreed to descend into Katz’s depths of destitution, halving a priced-right 12-er of Milwaukee’s Best Light.

“I’m excited about this Beast Light,” Katz said. “I’ve never had it. You think Dorsey drinks this stuff? I bet he does. I bet he just loves Beast Beer.”

Katz was even more thrilled to learn the Emerald Space was located in the West Bottoms. “I am on record proclaiming the West Bottoms the most interesting area of Kansas City. Still true, I think – more than ever even. Though I haven’t been out there in years.”

Scoops agreed as he wound the car through the detour.

Katz took a sip of beer. “Ahhhhh…”

“It tastes like metal,” Jeff announced from the back seat.

Katz: “It’s like a vacation!”

Posted by: katz | July 29, 2009

In Which Don’s Stats Shame Katz’s

Posted by: katz | July 29, 2009

In Which Katz’z Statses Be Brandished

*lives with his parents
*moved back into this, his South KC childhood home, 16 months ago

*college dropout (also expelled)
*18-months unemployed streak
*walked away from his career just as the US began its worst economic depression ever
*no possessions of note, save the Nighthawk:

*has only ever really kissed one girl
*virtually no intimate physical contact since puberty cooled his parents’ loving touches
*prone to crushes, “one-itis”, hopeless romanticism, falling in (actual) love
*although perhaps looking better than ever, spent much of his life being fat & ugly & confusedly depressed
*penis size: it be small mon

*excessively spiritual
*multi-dimensional meditator
*suspects self-reflection & self-expression are the only truly necessary supra-survivalistic pursuits
*has major difficulties running his own day-to-day life – struggles with doing the normalcies
*yes, confused by Life & Society alike

*recently celebrated birthday #30


*pretty darn self-aware
*fucking brilliant
*a true futurist
*his whole life ahead of him

*High 5 & 7 Up
*Very Good FRIENDS
*Battie Bros
*Perfect Pair
*Backseat Suds Buds
*Shortian Accordians
*BK Boyz

*being around Don
*looking up

Mario Kart
Toad’s the best!
"I'm the best!"


NHL ’94

pizza hut & pepsi


*weight lost: 80 lbs.
*time awake: 68 hrs.
*w/o a jack: 5 months
*water-only diet: 7.5 days
*longest meditation: almost 2 hrs.
*highest thermometer reading: 104.9°
*driving w/ expired tags streak: 27 months
*hours spent playing Zelda, The Windwaker: **Top Secret**

And he just spent his last dollars on a few cans of Milwaukee’s Best Light and admission to a rock&roll show.

Posted by: katz | July 24, 2009

In Which Katz Considers Changing Venue

A move was proposed. Seattle.

A sweet house, there’s acreage and a blueberry patch.

“We just got the house today,” Seattle telephoned excitedly, short on breath. “And we got the owner to let us have all the blueberries.”

Seattle & Dawn are filling the house with wonderful people. The front room is going to be a meditation & yoga studio. The energy there, the atmosphere is sure to be stupendous. Katz had always dreamed-of, envisioned a large house filled with a community of hilarious & fun, imaginative, forward-thinking & kind humans, all working together on projects – so very many exciting projects & times. Seattle seemed to be calling to him with just such a dream-come-true, like Over The Rainbow even.

Was Kansas City rather a variable in the dream than so integral as he’d imagined? Seattle laughed at his attempt to discuss “what life would be like somewhere other than Kansas City,” because his physical experience of such was so miniscule as to be laughable apparently.

Were these people – his beloved friends – variables only as well, variables past their expiration date even? He’d failed them. He should’ve made a better influence by now – time to move on to a more willing crowd? Seattle promised the most amazing & interested group, just unfathomable potential. Then maybe, after success there, he could return to Kansas City, stronger, wiser, for another try.

Katz was always willing to question himself, really do it even, really wrap himself up in the feeling of the imagined what-if, for days, just to be sure. Careful – no question Katz was careful. It was his curiosity, of course, always building & building, that only ever finally moved him to action.

And he just was not too curious about Seattle. He’d always said that all that’s out there is a vacuum, the vacuum of space. Sure he could move away, and find a different, seemingly better opportunity. He could move anywhere, in fact, and find whatever supposedly better scenarios he could imagine, his calibration pulling opportunities – people, positions, experiences – into his orbit.

But that happened in Kansas City. And there just was no denying the people, his people there. They were the most interesting in all the world. If there must be an area and there must be people – and there must – he would find no more fascinating place than Kansas City and no more fascinating people than these he had already been gifted, for whom he is so constantly thankful – these Legends. Because your ability to inspire and be inspired by a place & people is measured internally, within your own self, rather than registered upon a personality or atmosphere.

Or anyway, Katz likes a challenge. And he’d never minded getting killed. There were lives yet to give.

Evenso, an offer he perhaps could not refuse: he was invited to live in Seattle rent-free till he got a job and a couple paychecks under his feet; the whole basement would be his. He would also have Seattle and her magical friends, to assist in the getting of a job, healthy foods, and wonderful times; to assist in constructing his best life. He had no one like that in his life in Kansas City; hadn’t since the last time he was in love, several years ago, with Seattle. And there was no question Katz needed some serious help putting his civilized life back together.

Given his past with Seattle, and the timing of the discussion, Katz agreed to consider it carefully for the next week, waiting till after the eclipse to really begin to organize his feelings toward making an actual decision. He didn’t want to do it. He didn’t want to move. He did not want to abandon & reassign his dreams, his vision for the future. It felt like giving up, though perhaps that was really only the misdiagnosed feeling of movement, the natural & inevitable separation anxiety.

Katz would need a hefty accumulation of signs & wonders to make this decision. He concentrated on keeping an open mind and paying super-close attention to every detail of the next week’s happenings.

Days later, the night after the eclipse, when his father asked again in passing, prodding: “How’s that job search coming?” Katz practically resolved to accept Seattle’s invitation right then, scrounge the money by any means necessary and move immediately.

Oh, did I mention Katz is penniless and living with his parents?

Posted by: katz | July 23, 2009

In Which Katz Declares His Love

“I love you, Don. I am in love with you.”

This is how it begins. Finally. When Katz accepts and declares his love. Finally.

And so it has begun.

Thanks to a recent channel flip landing (yet again) upon 10 Things I Hate About You, this time on Don’s very own hometown Chicago superstation, and hearing Heath Ledger assert, “Don’t let anyone ever make you feel like you don’t deserve what you want.”

And realizing, yes, he had been doing that; being, in fact, that jerky anyone to his very own self, and projecting it onto others, onto circumstances, onto the universal organizing principle. All the while a foolishness, an undeserved weariness growing inside of him, imploring him to move on, get over it, finalize the ill-conceived self-denial – tear down, rebuild.

He tried but could not. Not without her help. He couldn’t do anything without her help. All that he had accomplished these two years past, he could not have done without her help. She was too much a part of him, somehow intimately entwined with his essential self, deep inside. She was his fuel, his motivation.

His attempts at avoiding this because of the past, because of her physical distance, because of her silence, because of fear led only to immobility, the onset of withering, confusion and acute despair. But with her help, when he accepted himself and his own love’s direction, went with it, he became something extraordinary, more like how he always knew he could be than ever before. And Life seemed to stand up and applaud, throwing the most wonderful & exciting moments before him as if in tribute.

But now a culmination point had been reached. The time for becoming, the internal journey, was done. It had become the time for being. This was to require more of her, her actual physical presence, interaction at least. He could not carry her along within himself as he’d done before – he hadn’t the strength. She would have to become something else to him – lover, companion, friend, face from the past – or he would have to make her into something else for himself.

Whatever was to come, as before, he needed her help to get started.

“Though I could (and you know I’d love to) use thousands more words describing the incredible intricacies of this reality, the reality of my enormous heart, instead I ask, ask only for help from your own heart, Donny, your spectacularly singular heart,” Katz said. “But please-please let’s not be adults about this.”

“I must be going,” he continued, “expanding out into the world in whatever phenomenal capacity Life has planned for me. My greatest wish is that you’ll accompany me, and let me accompany you on your own fascinating expansion. Even if that is not to be, I will still flourish, as I know you will as well – I believe in you completely.

“And without help from you, I’m not going anywhere.”

Posted by: katz | July 22, 2009

The Keys

written by Joseph Campbell, quoted from his book The Hero With A Thousand Faces!

“The adventure can be summarized in the following diagram:


The mytholigical hero, setting forth from his commonday hut or castle, is lured, carried away, or else voluntarily proceeds, to the threshold of adventure. There he encounters a shadow presence that guards the passage. The hero may defeat or conciliate this power and go alive into the kingdom of the dark (brother-battle, dragon-battle; offering, charm), or be slain by the opponent and descend in death (dismemberment, crucifixion). Beyond the threshold, then, the hero journeys through a world of unfamiliar yet strangely intimate forces, some of which severely threaten him (tests), some of which give magical aid (helpers). When he arrives at the nadir of the mythological round, he undergoes a supreme ordeal and gains his reward. The triumph may be represented as the hero’s sexual union with the goddess-mother of the world (sacred marriage), his recognition by the father-creator (father atonement), his own divinization (apotheosis), or again – if the powers have remained unfriendly to him – his theft of the boon he came to gain (bride-theft, fire-theft); intrinsically it is an expansion of consciousness and therewith of being (illumination, transfiguration, freedom). The final work is that of the return. If the powers have blessed the hero, he now sets forth under their protection (emissary); if not, he flees and is pursued (transformation flight, obstacle flight). At the return threshold the transcendental powers must remain behind; the hero re-emerges from the kingdom of dread (return, resurrection). The boon that he brings restores the world (elixir).

“The changes rung on the simple scale of the monomyth defy description. Many tales isolate and greatly enlarge upon one or two of the typical elements of the full cycle (test motif, flight motif, abduction of the bride), others string a number of independent cycles into a single series (as in the Odyssey). Differing characters or episodes can become fused, or a single element can reduplicate itself and reappear under many changes.

“The outlines of myths and tales are subject to damage and obscuration. Archaic traits are generally eliminated or subdued. Imported materials are revised to fit local landscape, custom, or belief, and always suffer in the process. Furthermore, in the innumerable retellings of a traditional story, accidental or intentional dislocations are inevitable. To account for elements that have become, for one reason or another, meaningless, secondary interpretations are invented, often with considerable skill.

“In the Eskimo story of Raven in the belly of the whale, the motif of the fire sticks has suffered a dislocation and subsequent rationalization. The archetype of the hero in the belly of the whale is widely known. The principal deed of the adventurer is usually to make fire with his fire sticks in the interior of the monster, thus bringing about the whale’s death and his own release. Fire making in this manner is symbolic of the sex act. The two sticks – socket-stick and spindle – are known respectively as the female and the male; the flame is the newly generated life. The hero making fire in the whale is a variant of the sacred marriage.

“But in our Eskimo story this fire-making image underwent a modification. The female principle was personified in the beautiful girl whom Raven encountered in the great room within the animal; meanwhile the conjunction of male and female was symbolized separately in the flow of the oil from the pipe into the burning lamp. Raven’s tasting of this oil was his participation in the act. The resultant cataclysm represented the typical crisis of the nadir, the termination of the old eon and initiation of the new. Raven’s emergence then symbolized the miracle of rebirth. Thus, the original fire sticks having become superfluous, a clever and amusing epilogue was invented to give them a function in the plot. Having left the fire sticks in the belly of the whale, Raven was able to interpret their rediscovery as an ill-luck omen, frighten the people away, and enjoy the blubber feast alone. This epilogue is an excellent example of secondary elaboration. It plays on the trickster character of the hero but is not an element of the basic story.

“In the later stages of many mythologies, the key images hide like needles in great haystacks of secondary anecdote and rationalization; for when a civilization has passed from a mythological to a secular point of view, the older images are no longer felt or quite approved. In Hellenistic Greece and in Imperial Rome, the ancient gods were reduced to mere civic patrons, household pets, and literary favorites. Uncomprehended inherited themes, such as that of the Minotaur – the dark and terrible night aspect of an old Egypto-Cretan representation of the incarnate sun god and divine king – were rationalized and reinterpreted to suit contemporary ends. Mt. Olympus became a Riviera of trite scandals and affairs, and the mother-goddesses hysterical nymphs. The myths were read as superhuman romances. In China, comparably, where the humanistic, moralizing force of Confucianism has fairly emptied the old myth forms of their primal grandeur, the official mythology is today a clutter of anecdotes about the sons and daughters of provincial officials, who, for serving their community one way or another, were elevated by their grateful beneficiaries to the dignity of local gods. And in modern progressive Christianity the Christ – Incarnation of the Logos and Redeemer of the World – is primarily a historical personage, a harmless country wise man of the semi-oriental past, who preached a benign doctrine of ‘do as you would be done by,’ yet was executed as a criminal. His death is read as a splendid lesson in integrity and fortitude.

“Wherever the poetry of myth is interpreted as biography, history, or science, it is killed. The living images become only remote facts of a distant time or sky. Furthermore, it is never difficult to demonstrate that as science and history mythology is absurd. When a civilization begins to reinterpret its mythology in this way, the life goes out of it, temples become museums, and the link between the two perspectives is dissolved. Such a blight has certainly descended on the Bible and on a great part of the Christian cult.

“To bring images back to life, one has to seek, not interesting applications to modern affairs, but illuminating hints from the inspired past. When these are found, vast areas of half-dead iconography disclose again their permanently human meaning.

“The popular interpretation of baptism is that it ‘washes away original sin,’ with emphasis rather on the cleansing than on the rebirth idea. This is a secondary interpretation. Or if the traditional birth image is remembered, nothing is said of an antecedent marriage. Mythological symbols, however, have to be followed through all their correspondences through which they represent, by analogy, the millenial adventure of the soul.” –Joseph Campbell, The Hero With A Thousand Faces

Older Posts »