Tag Archives: Joseph Campbell

Redemption Interview on Rogers TV “Daytime Ottawa” May 22, 11am – noon.

First questions taken from Tiferet Interview with Melissa Studdard:

Tiferet Journal is at the nexus of literature and spirituality. It publishes high-quality poetry, prose and art that further meaningful dialogue about what it is to be human and conscious in today’s often divisive world. http://tiferetjournal.com/

MS: Redemption the manuscript has been on quite a journey. It was written in 1975, lost for decades, rediscovered in 2011, and published in 2014. In what ways is this journey relevant or parallel to Redemption’s plot? What do you hope will be the next stage of this book’s journey?

IP: In 1975 I was writing way over my head and lacked the maturity to understand the deep nuances emerging from my pen. The book was writing me and it is fitting that it was not published until 2014, as the time lapse allowed me to grow into the insights and revelations writ large. I was a total mess in 1975 – with a failing marriage in the Hebrides and trying to keep my career intact as a young professor at Carleton University in Canada. I was not doing a good job with either. The surprise for me in 2011 was how could I have written such a powerful book while in a desperate state of mind? The themes of mental illness and alcoholism are writ large in this deep and turbulent Hero’s Journey to emancipation. Redemption is an allegory for the depression and life difficulties I once experienced, though I did not realize it at that time.

Redemption front cover

MS: Speaking of the Hero’s journey, can you say a bit about the connection between Redemption and Trailing Sky Six Feathers and why the Hero’s journey works so well to convey your ideas?

IP: I consider Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey as an underlying template for all great books and weave its threads through my writing. Redemption is the first book in a trilogy that has Trailing Sky Six Feathers as the second book. They are companions – but the reader may not cotton on to that until they read the final chapter of Trailing Sky Six Feathers. Chapter Nine is titled “The Circle Closes” with a return to memories of the insane sea journeys I undertook in the Hebrides. That chapter is quite an “AHAH” moment. The final book in the trilogy (under construction) takes characters from both books, placing them in the future on a new planet. From the 18th century, Rising Moon (daughter of Trailing Sky) is hurled by shamanic means to the new planet. From the 21st century Tom and Sian Hagen with their daughter Catriona get there from a failing spaceship. Life on the new planet permits a beginning anew for our species – A Hero’s Journey to reconstruct a society based on ecology, sharing and caring.

But there are calamities to endure – a brutal abduction and rape, a militant group hi-jacking a spaceship in order to take over the new planet, the desperate loss of pioneers in an exploding spaceship. I do not shy away from the reason for finding a new planet and place in the mouth of Dr. Tom Hagen a speech to the UN that I would like to give from the future. It is about the willful ignorance displayed by corporate and government cabals invested in the carbon/oil complex, while eco militias murder in the streets and social disorder is a norm. The first chapter of the final book is a lyrical and dangerous meeting on the new planet between Catriona and Rising Moon. Instead of killing one another they become blood sisters. The second chapter is quite dark about the perilous destruction of the spaceship and safe departure of some of the travellers. Chapter three is a love story. Chapter four and five are dark yet permit the human spirit to prevail. The end game is a philosophy to endure and not repeat the mistakes of the prior civilization on Planet Earth.

The Hero’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey

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 My book Failsafe: Saving the Earth from Ourselves was written as a Hero’s Journey for our species. Available as an e book http://www.amazon.com/Failsafe-Saving-Earth-Ourselvesebook/dp/B006DLB4AK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329677682&sr=8-1

 Testimonials:

In Failsafe, Ian Prattis offers a way to a perceptual transformation that is absolutely critical if we are to find a truly sustainable future.   David Suzuki, author, environmentalist and host of CBC’s “The Nature of Things”

“Ian’s book respects and reflects on Aboriginal Prophesies about the Eighth Fire and care of the Earth Mother.  He investigates the spiritual lack in the modern world and proposes sound means to guide the course of humanity. For this he draws on the Wisdom of the Elders. This is a book for our times. It has his experience of Taming the Wild Mind, serving the Earth and the cause of Peace.”  Grandfather William Commanda, Algonquin Elder, founder of the Circle of All Nations. Order of Canada.

Joseph Campbell’s ground breaking work on mythology, The Hero With A Thousand Faces way back in 1949, contained a highly radical agenda, which was somewhat obscured in his later works.  In the Epilogue of the 1968 edition he carefully mapped the reality of the Hero’s quest in modern times.  With the insight of impermanence Campbell shows that times have clearly changed, that meaning no longer resides in the community or nature but in the individual.  This makes the hero’s quest a radically different and more difficult venture as without the support of community, nature or religion the hero’s quest is to save the planet – not the bounded community or nation – and transform the entire social order of the world.  Campbell is adamant that the great religions of the world cannot assist with this task, as they are complicit in the partisan fracturing of the world carried out by factions that curry favour with outmoded expressions of cultural nationalism. Their “monkey holiness” is not the stuff that can aid the hero (1968: 389), who now has a somewhat solitary task because the center of gravity of mythology has changed from nature and locality so that humanity itself is now the mystery to be unravelled.

Yet despite all this, the hero has the “all” within him, within her.  The particular cultural and national characteristics do not tell us anything about what it is to be truly human.  And so the task is to step beyond these boundaries, discover through experience that there is no separateness, thus gaining the knowledge and insight that can transform humanity.  The influence of the Vedas of Ancient India and their non-dualism is clearly with Campbell in that he feels it is essential for humanity to see the same redemption in different forms – Truth is one and the sages call it by many names.  Thus the propagation of any form such as fundamentalist Islam or fundamentalist Christianity becomes highly dangerous.  Campbell is certainly correct about the world’s religions that require belief in a God, culturally and nationally defined – “monkey holiness.”  Yet the instruments of mindfulness practice in Buddhism with their intent on freeing the human mind from suffering may have some pertinence, as the practices are free of the stigma of cultural nationalism – or should be if the Buddha is listened to carefully!  Cultural nationalism is a redundant and obsolete force in the 21st century – that is for the task of transforming the social order of the world.  However, the religious right in America and their identical twin – the Taliban in Afghanistan – and other religious groups like them refuse to recognise that they are obsolete, still appealing to the ignorant and fearful.  Thus the hero’s task in the modern era is ominous and lonely.  Campbell (1968: 391) in the last paragraph of his classic states:

The modern hero…cannot, indeed must not, wait for his community to cast off its slough of pride, of fear, rationalized advise and sanctified misunderstanding… It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse.  And so every one of us shares the supreme ordeal – carries the cross of the redeemer – not in the bright moments of his tribe’s great victories, but in the silences of his personal despair.

My book Failsafe strikes chords with Joseph Campbell’s insights from over a half century ago.  Its genesis is in line with Campbell’s views, though I doubt if he anticipated the present global ecological emergency.  This slim volume endeavours to provide understanding, issues a call for the adventure of transmuting the existing world social order by bringing the reader to a deep spiritual understanding of what needs to be done, and finally casts the hero’s mantle on all of us.  Transforming the fabric of the entire social order asks citizens of the world to do the work of becoming spiritually responsible rather than remaining spiritual captives. This is so the revealed knowledge and wisdom gained from this adventure can be applied to society and the environment.

I ask of everyone, including myself, to be a modern hero and heroine for our time.

Understand the challenge

Accept the challenge

Listen to Nietzsche – “Live as though the day were here.”