Yesterday there was a posting on a blog I frequent, The Writers Circle, that got me thinking. So much so that I commented. It hit home in both the artistic, which is not my voyage, and the personal, which is. The part of the topic that interested me, how many stories come from three basic myths. This concept was put forth by Joseph Campbell a scholar of comparative mythology. Below is the pertinent portion of my comment.
“You hit on a very interesting topic, multitudes from a single source. A PBS documentary on Jason and the Argonauts made a similar point, stating that James T. Kirk and his crew were merely the most recent incarnation of Jason’s voyage. From my “basic” understanding of Campbell’s work, fiction comes from a few fundamental source myths and like your fractal reference, writers continue to uncoil their own version of these fundamental stories. It is a journey I find myself on both in my work and in life.”
I spent the better part of today chewing on this idea; many from few or one. Could this also be applied not only to art but life itself? Not so much reincarnation but multiple versions of the one. Am I the sum of the parts, not just the individual who ekes out this solitary existence?
Why do I ponder this topic? Does it lead to some answer I am afraid to ask the question of? Multiple me’s? I joked in my last post about this exact idea, myriad cheerios on a cosmic string. Could I have hit closer to the target’s bull’s eye than I thought, or am I merely striking out at clues, a blinded gladiator seeking blood from empty air.
Nature copies itself multiple times. Is each copy a new creation or just the rebirth of the fundamental? And if there are multiple me’s, how many are there. String theory suggests the existence of eleven dimensions. That is if we only seek dimensions that fall in line behind the original three. What if, like countless stories from three basic myths, dimensions exist all around, beyond our ability to calculate? What if I choose to go left yet another version of myself chooses right? How many worlds, universes, or dimensions would that lead to? And if these myriad plains bubbled forth with each human choice, what constant could there ever be to contain all this chaos?
I am not smart enough for this train of thought yet I find myself beckoning at the gates of these questions. And like a beggar who waits for scraps, I starve slowly seeking clarity, clarity of where I came from and how to get back.