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Archetypal, Mythic Strong Women and Patriarchy -- A Conversation with Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD-- Transcript

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storycon.org H4'ed 12/14/15
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JSB: (Laughs) What I think I need to do from what you just said was, there's a hero's journey which starts out with a call to adventure, and it's a voluntarily taken journey, in which you run into difficulties and you overcome them, and you bring something back to the culture as a result. And I say that yes that's true now and in America it's true for women too, that you can have a calling to do something from that heroic side. My going into medicine had something to do with that side of things. But the other side that applies to all of us is what I would call a heroinic journey where, like Atalanta, you didn't ask to be abandoned on a mountaintop, nor did you ask to be discriminated against or to have a boar coming charging you with your bow and arrow to face it....will you give way? Will you respond? What will you do in unchosen circumstance? And that's the something that I see that really differentiates Campbell's Hero's Journey from what I describe as a heroinic journey -- it's the journey that starts with circumstances that you did not want to happen, but it did. So now what? And that shapes you and builds character and makes a difference.

And so Atalanta's story of having to make decisions in the midst of a drama of life she didn't choose is everybody's story, too. And what we decide to do matters if this journey were honest, truly a soul journey, as I believe it is, then I think that character and what we do here...the myth we live out....Joseph Campbell made the point that we each have our own mythic journey to live out, and I know that for just about everybody it starts off with a variation of dysfunctional family. And we start out as very innocent babies and what happens to us and what we do as a result shapes the story that is ours to live. So I make a point, as lots of others probably have, that this is the great work for each of us. How do we shape the story by our choices? One of the reasons for loving archetypes in mythology is that I'm able to see the stories and help people to see the stories that they are living out.

Rob: That's a great place to finish I think. I loved this interview. We spun off from the book, Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Every Woman by Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD. And we've gone to some pretty amazing places. Thank you so much.

JSB: Thank you Rob. It's been a pleasure because you do bring in so many different aspects.

Rob: And do you have anything you want to wrap up with? Any....to kind of finish us off? Is there a website that people can go to to find out more about you? Any other message that you want to give?

JSB: Our websites....J-E-A-N-B-O-L-E-N.com and there's also for the 5th world conference on women, it's simply 5-W-C-W.org.

Rob: 5-W-C-W.org, and that's 5th world conference...what is it, 5th world conference for women?

JSB: On women, yeah.

Rob: And where is that going to be?

JSB: That is what I'm advocating as a major possibility of helping to tilt things in the evolutionary rather than the end-destructive place that we are in history.

Rob: When is that conference going to be and where is it going to be?

JSB: First of all, it will only happen from the bottom up. And it's on the edge...if Prime Minister Modi of India will say what...will act on what he has already said is his principle, then he will have his country at the UN support a 5th women's world conference on women, and offer to be host of it. And then it will happen within 3 years in 2018. And I think it's maybe moving in that direction. But then I thought it was moving in that direction in 2012 when the Secretary General and the then President of the General Assembly came out with a joint-statement said it is high time that we had a 5th women's world conference on women and asked the General Assembly just to pass out a simple resolution saying let's have a women's conference again. And it blocked...

Rob: And the last one...it was blocked?

JSB: It was blocked. The United States and a couple of countries in the EU. And everybody backed...who was for it then backed off. And that was in 2012, and that was...it made me realize that how much activism is a labyrinthine journey, that there are U-turns on the way...to the center.

Rob: Yes.

JSB: That was a big U-turn.

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