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Written as first-person narrative, the following article describes Toula's utopian vision, inspired by Martin Luther King's famous 'I Have a Dream' speech. In the article Toula articulates her view in which science and narrative (particularly the shared mythic narrative) work in tandem to help improve youth mental health literacy. Toula uses scientific inquiry to validate and support her personal thoughts. (Published by Immanence: Journal of Applied Mythology, Legend and Folktale, Spring 2017, Vol 1, No 2, p. 96)
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Toula Gordillo
I Have a Dream
Many people are familiar with Marn Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream”
speech. Though my roots are planted rmly in Australian soil, King’s speech
resonates with me across me and space. I too have a dream. Mine is a dream
of universal connecon: of science and story employed in tandem through the
shared mythic narrave (Gordillo SITT 4). In pursuing this dream, I nd that Swiss
psychiatrist and founder of analycal psychology Carl Jung (1875-1961), American
mythologist and Jungian advocate Joseph Campbell (1904-1987), and Brish
scienst and novelist C.P. Snow (1905-1980) lead the way. My ulmate dream is
for a healthier humanity (Gordillo “Bridge” 2; Eustress 1).
Just as King dreamed of a beer world for future generaons through the
collecve power of polical freedom and social jusce, I dream of a more connected
world for our youth. I dream that past, present and future generaons will one day
connect through the storytelling medium; and that science will help to explain,
validate and support this storytelling process (Aldama 80; Evans 710; Larner 35;
Nassar 159; Todd 701; Trusty; Wildrich). I dream that science will embrace the
humanies—not as a competor or subordinate in the quest for knowledge, but as
an academic equal. As Dahlstrom contends, “storytelling oen has a bad reputaon
within science” (13614), which he considers unfortunate, since most individuals have
an inherent appreciaon of story. C.P. Snow expanded upon this view y years ago
in The Two Cultures and The Scienc Revoluon. In the rst part of his inuenal Rede
Lecture, Snow claimed that the academic life of western society was split into two
cultures—the sciences and the humanies—and that this division represents a major
limitaon in solving the world’s problems. As he states:
There seems then to be no place where the cultures meet. I am not
going to waste me saying this is a pity, it is much worse than that.
. . At the heart of thought and creaon we are leng some of our
best chances go by default. The clashing point of two subjects, two
disciplines, two cultures—of two galaxies, so far as that goes—ought
to produce creave chances. In the history of mental acvity that
has been where some of the breakthroughs came. The chances are
there now. But they are there, as it were, in a vacuum, because those
in the two cultures can’t talk to each other. (17)
Fiy years later it seems the two cultures are sll not talking to each other
as much as they might. It is my dream that one day they will—and that civilizaon
will be all the beer for it. My vision is that myths and legends, fables and folktales
will one day be valued in their own right: not just as a source of entertainment
for the youth, but for their ability to guide and transform young lives by forming
a connecve bridge between the past, present and future; between science and
story. In accordance with Carl Jung’s depth psychology principles and Joseph
Campbell’s monomythic insights (Vogler 4, 23; Campbell 5), I imagine today’s young
men and women in every culture will learn to have condence in their ancestors’
knowledge: to believe in their ancestral capacity to demonstrate the healthiest
way forward—through symbolic imagery and storytelling (Vogler xxix; Campbell
1) balanced with the science and technology today’s youth so readily embrace
(Gordillo Eustress 9).
Image on page 96: Martin Luther King, Jr. giving the famous “I Have a Dream” speech
at the Lincoln Memorial. August 28, 1963. Courtesy of the National Archive and
Wikimedia Commons.
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CONT. FROM PAGE 97
A myth is a story, not true in the literal sense, but as a symbolic narrave
that describes the natural order or cosmic forces through supernatural or super-
human beings (Cuddon 526). As a legimate mode of knowledge, mythos is a
unique paern of beliefs that guravely express the characteriscs and prevalent
atudes of a parcular group or culture. Jung and Campbell aempted to restore
mythos as the primary mode of explaining natural phenomena—through highly
imaginave and symbolic stories.
According to Jungian philosophy, reason and logic (logos) to the exclusion of
myth and fantasy (mythos) makes us mentally and physically unwell. This scienc-
materialist thinking distances us from primordial healing sources (Jung CW 5: 4-46).
As such, Jung proposed that physical and mental sickness is not just experienced in
isolaon, but instead derives from an ailing Western civilizaon that itself focuses
on science to the exclusion of myth and fantasy (Tacey 17). For the young people
I counsel in my capacity as a Clinical Psychologist and Jungian Psychotherapist,
I simply call it “being out of balance,” and I regularly use the Yin/Yang symbol to
explain that two sides are oen necessary (in many areas) to complete the whole.
Insofar as the behavioural sciences denote customary modern psychology,
I dream that analycal depth psychology will provide an “Archimedean vantage
point” (Jones 408) from which to restore the balance between mythos and logos,
between science and the humanies. It is a utopian vision to strive for enduring
physical and mental health through a connecon with the cosmic forces of the
Universe whilst engaging in modern scienc endeavours and pursuits. But
dreamers have always been romanc idealists, and as Jung espoused: “we have to
dream the myth onward” (Jung CW 9, 1: 76).
Healing cradles, Jung and Campbell argue, are expressed through the
symbolic language of mythology and creave imaginaons that accord with natural
laws. Therapeuc mythologies, therefore, are perpetuated through the scienc
(and subjecve) worlds of mental health: “Freud, Jung and their followers have
demonstrated irrefutably the logic, the heroes and the deeds of myth survive into
modern mes. In the absence of an eecve general mythology, each of us has
his private, unrecognized, rudimentary yet secretly potent pantheon of dream”
(Campbell 2).
I consider that my individual imaginings, my utopian vision of science and
story employed synergiscally, are my own unique art-forms—my secret, potent
pantheon of dreams. And I suggest it is important, parcularly for youth who
regularly connect with science and technology, to also connect frequently with
the elemental mode of mythos if they wish to remain physically and mentally
healthy. Youth need to regularly aune themselves to the “secret learning of the
ancients” (Bacon 1) by connecng to the natural world around them, as well as the
shared mythic narrave and their personal creavity, to nd any balance in this
technology-infused era.
As modern society becomes increasingly disconnected from its cultural roots
and mythic stories, I dream that through the advances of modern science combined
with ancient narrave we will learn to reconnect with our past and one another.
Just as universal energies such as masculine and feminine archetypes need to be
balanced in our lives in order to remain healthy (Wilcock 82), I believe we also need
to reengage with our individual and collecve imaginaons, as “creave fantasy
also draws upon the forgoen and long buried primive mind with its host of
images . . . found in the mythologies of all ages and all peoples” (Jung CW 5: xxix).
Figure 1 is a graphic representaon of my utopian vision. Comprising both
scienc and narrave principles, The Connuum of Caring is used in therapy
Figure 1 – The Continuum of Caring
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CONT. FROM PAGE 99
(together with other psychotherapeuc techniques) to help youth nd a healthy
and sustainable level of caring in order to remain physically and mentally strong.
The image contains elements of an ancient fable entled “The Scorpion and The
Frog.The story is used as part of a new and emerging methodology, grounded
in analyc (archetypal) myth and narrave principles and philosophies, entled
Story Image Therapy® (Gordillo SITT 4). During psychotherapy, the image
and ancient story are used in tandem to help young people understand that
behavior may be based on a person’s level of caring about themselves and others
(notwithstanding other factors and extraneous variables). The young person
begins to understand during treatment that somemes they may have unhealthy
levels of caring—that is, they demonstrate extreme levels of over-caring or
extreme levels of under-caring—and that this could be making them unwell. The
young person also learns that extreme levels of caring are “out of balance” and
could be contribung to some or most of their mental or behavioural health
dicules (see Figure 1).1
The Connuum of Caring (or Caring Connuum) is a self-report diagram
in which the young person determines their level of caring in most areas (or
in specic areas) of their lives. The youth describe their level of caring as a
symbolic percentage ranging between 0% to 100%. Lile or no caring (extreme
under-caring) is symbolised by 0% and too much caring (extreme over-caring) is
symbolised by 100%. The graph highlights the importance of nding the balance—
generally considered to be an “ideal” of 80%—with 20% retained “in reserve” by
the young person. “The Balance of 80” concept is based on Pareto’s principle
(Newman 323), otherwise known as: the 80/20 rule; the law of the vital few; or,
the principle of factor sparsity. This mathemacal law states that in most cases
80% of the eects come from only 20% of the causes. The “power law distribuon”
(also known as the Personal Power Law in Story Image Therapy) explains that
many natural phenomena have been revealed, empirically, to demonstrate this
distribuon (Newman 325). When considering how to maintain “The Balance of
80” the youth are encouraged to keep 20% in reserve for themselves—which may
include strategies such as using their connecons—as described in Figure 2.
1 It needs to be noted that The Connuum of Caring and accompanying story are generally
used to assist with mood disorders, anxiety and more minor behavioural problems in
paediatric populaons, rather than the more severe and disturbing mental and behavioural
health disorders. SIT therapy is most oen used in conjuncon with other sciencally
validated therapies and somemes used in conjuncon with psychopharmacological
intervenons.
Figure 2 – Use Your Connections
Sciencally validated intervenons such as mindfulness (learning to be
fully immersed in the present) are reframed in Figure 2 to help youth achieve
personal insight and self-understanding (Hill and Castonguay 1; Siegel xiv). For
example, together with a trained psychotherapist, mindfulness may be explained
and modeled by way of three types of connecons—“Connect to Self,” “Connect to
Spirit,” and “Connect to Nature.As a hobby, or a regular home or school acvity,
the young person can connect to themselves through the mindfulness acvity (not
to be confused with the Self archetype that signies the coherent whole in which
the conscious and unconscious minds are unied). The young person also connects
with their inner spirit or the spirit of others as an outcome of the process of being
mindful, and they are also encouraged to connect to the natural world of air as they
deep-breathe and connect to nature.
Insight (the conscious process of making novel connecons) can be
interpreted as a benecial outcome of the mindfulness pracce depicted in Figure
2. The “Wisdom of Trees” is symbolised by a tree and leaf image, and described as
ancient knowledge that can help young people to develop more healthy levels of
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CONT. FROM PAGE 101
caring through the mindfulness acvity. According to Siegel, “studies have shown
that specic applicaons of mindful awareness improve the capacity to regulate
emoon, to combat emoonal dysfuncon, to improve paerns of thinking and to
reduce negave mindsets” (6).
In keeping with the prospect of scienc inquiry regarding the ancient
narrave, Graça da Silva and Tehrani’s latest research introduces new methods
of applying comparave phylogenec methods and autologisc modelling to
analyse the relaonships between folktales, populaon histories and geographical
distances in Indo-European-speaking sociees. Their research suggests that
similaries among folktale bodies are correlated with populaon histories
and geographical proximity, adding credibility to longstanding oral storytelling
tradions as an eecve means of transming informaon in non-literate
sociees (Nunn and Reid 13). Yet myths are in danger of being lost to humanity as
wholly oral sociees are rapidly replaced by literate, non-oral or technologically
sophiscated ones (Nunn “Sharks” 18). Such losses would be an immense tragedy,
as recognised by sciensts such as Professor Patrick Nunn, who asserts myth’s
inherent value as a fantascal archive of geological history: “Myths may be
inherently dicult to [sciencally] interrogate, but, in the Pacic Islands [and
elsewhere], where most wrien history began only a couple of hundred years ago,
they represent a massive archive of historical material that anyone interested in the
region’s long-term geological history would be foolish to dismiss” (Islands 4).
I dream that the knowledge gained by my ancestors will not be forgoen. That
their lives were not lived in vain, and their fantascal stories grounded in myth and
legend will be remembered for what they provide—a codied record of ancestral
pasts as well as a human roadmap toward integrity, knowledge and self-identy.
We share the associaon of history and our collecve humanity. Time and again we
see recurring paerns, historical decoraons of behaviour that science in isolaon
somemes fails to acknowledge, or that the humanies in isolaon may regard as
too subjecve. Stories pave the way toward present comprehension of our collecve
natures and preservaon of our shared history. Science tells us that our brains are
wired for story—that we are indeed “a storytelling animal” (Goshall xvii).
Jung and Campbell remind us that mythology serves as a method by which
informaon has been readily transmied, stored and retrieved for millennia
through oral tradions. And in keeping with Jungian philosophy regarding the dual
nature of humanity, Kelly maintains that oral cultures also exhibit a dichotomy in
speech paerns between everyday speech and formal narrave (xvii). This inherent
power of ancient storytelling is something our ancestors seemed to understand: “A
dissoluble link that binds us to the men of anquity” (Jung CW 5: 4). Our ancestors’
stories can help us with our own, just as Marn Luther King’s story has helped me
with mine.
I imagine the wisdom and understanding gained through countless past lives
can be transferred through a metaphorical “collecve wisdom baton.” That is, the
older generaons need to keep re-presenng the baton of accumulated knowledge
to future generaons in the race against me to ensure our ancestors’ insights are
not forgoen, or that our descendants do not become rootless—even acultural. I
have faith that by passing on our ancient knowledge through stories “we will be able
to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be
able to transform the jangling discords of our [world] into a beauful symphony. . . ”
(King)—the symphony of the past, present and future; and of science and story.
Technology plays a central role in many of our youths’ lives today. Balanced
by the natural world and ancient stories, perhaps the fantascal mode of mythos
can explain for them what science, by itself, cannot (Jung Self 7). To understand
the acausal connecng principle of synchronicity, for example, the meaningful
Benediction by
Matthew Conklin.
Digital collage.
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connectedness of seemingly unrelated events, as not just a philosophical ight
of fancy, but as a serious level of coincidence that scienc raonalism cannot
explain away (Jung Synchronicity 35). My vision is for our youth to further develop
an understanding of the workings of nature—in its unhindered wholeness—a link
that connects humanity to the source of our individuated Self, to our individual
and collecve idenes. To demonstrate this natural law, permit me to tell you
a story. It is the story of Odin and the runes. For those who may not be aware,
runes are ideographic, pictorial symbols oen carved into stone, wood, bone or
metal (MacLeod and Mees 4), and represent the magical alphabet of the ancient
Germanic peoples.
In Norse mythology the runes’ innate home is in the Well of Urd (meaning
“the well of desny”) with the Norns (three maidens whose carvings consist of
the runes). The runes do not reveal themselves to anyone unless they prove
themselves praiseworthy of fearful insights and abilies, so Odin—the supreme
Norse God—voluntarily chooses to hang himself from a branch of the World-
Tree to prove his worth. He removes his own eye in the pursuit of wisdom and
knowledge, and pierces himself with his spear. Verging on the point of death, he
peers down toward the shadowy waters below, forbidding any of the other gods
to assist him as he calls out to the runes for nine days and nights. At the end of
the ninth night Odin at last perceives the shape of the runes in the depths. His
sacrice accepted, the runes reveal themselves to him—not only their form but
also their secrets. . . the mysteries of health and happiness, of wisdom and insight.
Secure with this knowledge, Odin ends his ordeal with a scream of exultaon as he
connects with the wisdom of the world (McCoy).
In this narrave, the Norse God Odin’s “Reward” is the knowledge of all
things and the ability to read the sacred runes (Vogler 178). In purchasing the
treasure through his personal sacrice, in eect Odin was buying the “elixir,” the
medicine for the world’s ills. Odin’s elixir, according to my interpretaons, would
be to understand the power of connecon and the importance of balance. Within
the spiritual world of healing, I would argue, it is the power of connecon between
the past, present and future; between the natural and unnatural worlds; between
people and their stories/symbols that aords us the all-important balance. In
summaon, I contend that it is our connecon to our dreams, ancestral memories
and creave reecons buoyed and embraced by science that is the elixir.
Jung claimed we have insucient connecon to ancient wisdom in the
Western world. And we suer for it. We create a purely logical, grinding, banal
existence that we desperately try to escape by invenng new fads and fashions:
technologies, appliances and gadgets—any form of sensaon—as we become
capvated by common forms of newness and impression (CW 10: 488F). Jung
believed that such capvaon is to our peril if we are unable to transcend it.
Therefore, according to Jung, neurosis and mental illness are negave forms of
transcendence. That is, when we are unable to transcend the logos in our daily lives
using posive, creave and deliberate avenues for otherworldliness through creave
means, the psyche is expressed in negave and destrucve ways (Tacey 110).
Posive ways to transcend the psyche therefore need to be explored and
valued through the power of the shared mythic narrave. I propose that one way
could be through the power of Young Adult fantasy con grounded in myth and
legend to reframe mental health messages and to deliver posive psychology
intervenons that are grounded in science (Seligman and Csikszentmihalyi 5).
Myths, legends, fables and folktales from around the world are the literary
ideology that have stood the test of me. They reveal something that has already
been expressed, and that is at the same me creave and archetypal. According
to Tacey, Jung’s ideologies and mythic insights will become clearer in the future
because his work is relevant for a future charge—to rediscover the totality of life
rather than to simply be content with exploring fragments of it in specic (and at
mes opposing) disciplines (6).
Now is the me for science and narrave to discover the totality of life. To
encourage the dreamlike and fantasc, as well as the physical and tangible. Today
I nd myself proposing that Young Adult fantasy con readers can use mythology
based stories to travel on a physical journey as well as a psychological one. I would
like to think that Jung, Campbell and Snow would be pleased.
*I wish to oer special thanks to Professor Patrick D. Nunn, Professor of
Geography and Associate Director, Sustainability Research Centre, University of
Sunshine Coast who was kind enough to share his knowledge and experse of oral
storytelling tradions combined with modern scienc invesgaons. My hearelt
thanks are also extended for his generosity in reading earlier dras in preparaon
of this arcle for publicaon.
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CONT. FROM PAGE 103
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Toula Gordillo is a practicing clinical psychologist and Jungian psychotherapist
specializing in children and youth. In 2014 and 2015 Toula conducted PhD research
regarding ways in which students aged 15-25 use technology to cope with stress.
One of the key themes to emerge from her qualitative analysis was that young
adults relate to stories and images, online and oine, as a way of coping with their
problems that lead to mental health concerns. Toula is now pursuing doctoral
research in the field of Creative Arts/Creative Writing at the University of the
Sunshine Coast to investigate ways of delivering mental health messages through
Young Adult (YA) fantasy fiction, grounded in myth and legend. Toula is further
involved with the Australian Institute of Story Image Therapy (AISIT) and Talk to
Teens program.
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  • Roots Of Indo-European
  • Folktales
Roots of Indo-European Folktales." Royal Society Open Science, vol. 3, 2016, p. 150645, www. dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsos.150645.
Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies
  • Lynne Kelly
Kelly, Lynne. Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies. Cambridge UP, 2015.