Where do myths come from?
On a recent Wisconsin Dells trip, I enjoyed being an inhabitant of a mythical realm called Wizard Quest. This land advertises itself as created for adults, with children in mind. Being surrounded mythical creatures while exploring and questing really makes your curiosity come alive.
This is the kind of the fantasy experience that I really love and I’ll be returning to. It really tests your collaborative mettle and that’s part of what sets it apart from the all too common competitive games. While there’s no actual wining in this game, it’s still a lot of fun.
At the end of my journey but before it was time to return to the real world, I saw a black shirt with a dragon on it. I saw there were none in my size. That's when my inner critic said, It's probably meant to be. Aren't you a little too old for dragons? Conscious of this negative self talk, I responded back with a no and out curiosity asked the salesperson if they had any in my size. It turns out that they did and if I had listened to that critical voice or hadn't been curious those choices would have been the difference.
Fantasy is in the limelight again with House of the Dragon and Rings Of Power. An aspect of such shows that I don’t enjoy is the constant pitting of women against men in one pointless competition after another. House of the Dragon really doubles down here compared to Rings Of Power.
What they both have in common though is that books were their genesis. Men and women are better together than divided. However, our world may often seem intent on such division rather than unity. Myths have tremendous dividing power.
Myths which are believed in tend to become true— George Orwell
A single limiting belief can be the genesis of a myth. If someone puts forth an opinion which someone else accepts without being curious then it can become widespread whether true or not. This has been happening long before any claims of false news.
For example, the popular statement women read more than men is a myth. However, when repeated and accepted enough without challenge, it can become an accepted belief by the majority. However, the statement above when subjected to the rigors of curiosity can produce some revealing questions.
What do women read more of? Social media? Magazines? Blogs? Books? Let’s say it’s books. What kind of books? Fiction? Nonfiction? Let’s say it’s fiction. What genre? Romance? Mystery? Thriller? Let’s say romance.
Reading isn’t a competition but is often turned into one. Some result in harmless fun while others have unintended consequences. The superficial point is that individuals prefer to read what they like. Going deeper, it becomes evident that being a man or woman doesn’t actually influence how much one reads. The question here is why? We could keep asking questions but let’s stop here and introduce some concepts from Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung.
Feminine energy is passive and about being. Masculine energy is active and about doing. These have nothing to do with biology or sexuality. All humans have both like estrogen and testosterone. The difference is intangible energy versus tangible chemistry. Anyone living in the 21st century, should be familiar with both. However, acceptance of both is another matter which humans have struggled with for much of our collective history.
Societal conditioning has conflated one’s tangible biology with the intangible nature of being. Characteristics of both of these energies may have been suppressed by both the nature and nurture of one’s individual life experience.
This usually happens because of fear and lack of self-awareness irrespective of one’s biological makeup. Denial is often the autopilot’s reaction but responding with curiosity can often reveal why the resistance is there and increased awareness can help one let go of it. In my experience, the autopilot’s justifications can’t stand up to curiosity. However, it has taken courage for me to be curious.
Reading can be both active and passive. Reading for pleasure channels the feminine energy. Reading to achieve a goal, gain knowledge to simply to reach the end are simple examples of how one might channel the masculine energy.
Fiction books are better when read slowly rather than quickly. Reading isn’t something you do as much as it is something you experience while choosing to be in the present moment. If one reads fiction too fast, one can miss the subtext, emotion, symbolism and more.
The masculine energy is superficial. It’s mostly interested in just the plot and characters. The feminine energy goes deeper and wants to emotionally connect with all the various elements in the story. Perceiving content through one energy alone instead of both is limiting. Neither energy is better than other because they're meant to be an interdependent power. Acceptance of both is key to a unified experience.
The perceived tangible benefits that can come from nonfiction books may be just one reason why someone may read more quickly. However, even while reading a nonfiction book, there can be moments of momentary pause to reflect. This is such an automatic shift to the feminine energy that one may not even be aware of it.
Becoming more conscious the state is in can produce a more satisfactory experience through both being and doing. Too much doing can be detrimental just as too much competition can be.
Being and collaboration often don’t receive the amount of attention they deserve. Just remember that doing, competition, being and collaboration are all choices. Getting curious about why we do or don’t be can offer clarity where there previously was none.