Myth is an attempt to narrate a whole human experience, of which the purpose is too deep, going too deep in the blood and soul, for mental explanation or description.
– D H Lawrence
We’ve been working since the spring on The Year of the Roses and now comes Guns and Roses, the latest installment of our Mythic Imagination Magazine. This will actually come out in installments once a month for while, as Guns and Roses has proved to be an inexhaustible subject. The whole Creativity in Captivity project which began with music written in the concentration camps of WW 2, the ceaseless Afghanistan Iraq Iran War, the whole bloody history of mankind testify to our bondage to war and violence.
To get very real — we are unable to face or to understand the reality of what we do. A great soul may be able to say, Forgive them, they know not what they do, and because it is his own body that is being tortured, he is allowed to say that. But in surveying the sanguinary field, we cannot forgive ourselves, we must attempt to leash our dogs, understand our needs, our drives, our wickedness, our desperation, our grief and use all of our power to combat the will toward destruction. This is the true meaning of jihad. It is the INNER struggle over the infidel — the unfaithful one — inside ourselves that we are to fight with.
But in order to face the reality, we need to wade into the mythic imagination, that field of dreams in which our capacity for empathy grows. We hear the news, about thousands being slaughtered and it moves us not, except to weariness and avoidance. But as we watch Saving Private Ryan, the life of one man becomes enormously important to our hearts. Apocalypse Now finally does bring home the horror. And with the myths, even more so, as they have been perfected with the exact intention to pierce our rejection of reality.
We thought that if we could contribute something useful to the work with violence, it would be to bring people into this dimension from which change can actually come. We have to want to change. There is no movement without desire. And it is by being opened to the reality of someone else’s experience, the reality of what we are doing, the reality of the consequences of our actions and inactions that desire may be ignited.
The people who make war are us. I met a man a few days ago who was a guard at Abu Ghraib. His shirt was immaculately pressed, he was creating a beautiful birthday party for his girlfriend and he was very nice to me.