Being Able to See Whole

The monsters, villains, tragic heroes and others who embody the dark power have a blind spot; they are obsessive; they live in a fantasy world of wishful thinking; and this distortion of their vision is inextricably linked to the egocentricity.

What stories show us is how it is in the very nature of egotism is that it can only see the world in a subjective, restricted fashion. Wherever it holds sway it casts around it a shadow which also tends to obscure the vision of everyone else who is in that shadow.

Snow White

Snow White

The Feminine Value

There is a fundamental polarity which is crucial the the structure of storytelling. At one pole is the power of darkness, centered on the ego, limited consciousness and an inability to see whole, making for confusion, division and ultimately death.

At the other is the power of the feminine, centered on selfless feeling and the ability to see whole, making for connection, the healing of division and life. At the deepest level, it is around this opposition that the whole of the eternal conflict presented by stories revolves; and it is this, which, in a sense, makes the light heroine the ultimate touchstone of storytelling.

For it is she who above all and most directly embodies the feminine value. It is she who most often and most obviously has to be brought forth from the shadows in order for the complete happy ending to a story to be achieved.

And this applies not just to those stories where a strong hero has to rescue a defenseless heroine, but just as much to those where an 'active' heroine has to emerge from the shadows to rescue a helpless hero, as in the myth of Theseus, Jane Eyre, High Noon, The Merchant of Venice, Fidelio.

The Masculine Value

The true hero, if he is to succeed, must be fully a man. The way in which this is represented may see straightforward enough in those types of story which require the hero to engage in direct physical conflict with the powers of darkness, where in order to overpower or outwit the 'monster', or to survive all the tests and ordeals of a Quest, he has to show such obvious manly qualities as outstanding physical and mental strength and stamina.

The masculinity of such legendary heroes as Odysseus or Theseus, Gilgamesh or David, King Arthur or Robin Hood, Superman or James Bond, may never seem to be in doubt. As doughty fighters, they show it in their mastery of sword, bow, axe, spear or gun, in their powers of leadership, their courage and combative skill. They seem to be virile figures in every way. But what it is to be fully a man has rather more to it than just these qualities. And we can see this reflected still more clearly in the last of the seven plots, Rebirth.

The only way the hero can achieve a completely triumphant resolution is by fully developing his masculinity in a way which is positive; and this means in perfect balance with his inner feminine. It is this which alone can bring masculine strength fully to life by giving it the vital ingredient of connection, of joining up; through feeling, which gives a link to others and to the world outside the ego; through the intuitive insight which gives proper understanding by allowing him to perceive the wholeness of things and their mysterious, hidden connections.

When these are brought into balance and harmony with the masculine, then what a transformation we see. When power is brought into conjunction with true sympathetic feeling for others; when the sense of order is brought into harmony with the capacity to see whole; then both are miraculously made life-giving. The strength of power becomes a force making for life, not death, serving the whole rather than the ego of he or she who possesses it.

The patterns of the sense of order and structure are imbued with life because they are no longer just dead mental constructs spun out of the limited consciousness of the human ego, but connect up with a living totality. We thus see how each of the four elements--strength, order, feeling and intuitive understanding, or body and mind, heart and soul--is ultimately essential to all the others to make a living whole. And nowhere do we see the balances of this delicate equation expressed more subtly than in the workings of the plot of Rebirth.
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