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Life Arts    H4'ed 3/12/13

Toward a NEW Anti-Conservative Movement (REVIEW ESSAY)

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(3) THE WAY TO LOVE (1992; reissued 2012), a series of meditations written by de Mello.


In all three of these books, Tony de Mello focuses on awareness as the means by which natural change and growth may occur. He suggests that a non-ego force in our nature is involved in bringing about natural change and growth. I would suggest that the non-ego force in our psyches that is involved in bringing about change and growth is the archetype of initiation that Jungian theorist Robert Moore discusses in his book THE ARCHETYPE OF INITIATION (2001).


The central problem that he calls to our attention in all three books involves our attachments and our inordinate attachment to our attachments. He argues that we should aim to replace our inordinate attachment to our attachments with an attitude and orientation of nonattachment or unattachment.


But as he uses the term attachment, it clearly involves what Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette described as the Lover archetype in their book THE LOVER WITHIN: ACCESSING THE LOVER [ARCHETYPE] IN THE MALE PSYCHE (1993).


What Tony de Mello variously describes as nonattachment and unattachment involves the optimal form of the Lover archetype. What he variously describes as craving and clinging to our attachments involve "shadow" forms of the Lover archetype.


The "shadow" forms of the Lover archetype involve the Child Within (or the Inner Child) discussed by Alice Miller, John Bradshaw, Susan Anderson, and other authors.


When it comes to envisioning the fully functioning and fully individuated person, Robert Moore arguably does a better job in my estimate than Tony de Mello does. In the book AWARENESS (1990, page 149), Tony de Mello sets forth the following vision: "You never enjoy others when you are enslaved to them [e.g., for approval and acceptance]. Community is formed by emperors and princesses. You're an emperor, not a beggar; you're a princess, not a beggar. There's no begging bowl in true community. There's no clinging, no anxiety, no fear, no hangover, no possessiveness, no demands. Free people form community." By free people here, he means people who are free of inordinate attachments and therefore are able to engagement to engage with one another with a nonattachment or unattachment attitude and orientation.


The asymmetry of the terms emperors and princesses here is unfortunate. The terms princes and princesses would have been symmetrical terms. But Moore's treatment of the King archetype and the Queen archetype suggest that the terms kings and queens might have been better terms for Tony to have used here -- had he lived long enough to learn about Moore's work.


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Thomas James Farrell is professor emeritus of writing studies at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD). He started teaching at UMD in Fall 1987, and he retired from UMD at the end of May 2009. He was born in 1944. He holds three degrees from Saint Louis University (SLU): B.A. in English, 1966; M.A.(T) in English 1968; higher education, 1974. On May 16, 1969, the editors of the SLU student newspaper named him Man of the Year, an honor customarily conferred on an administrator or a faculty member, not on a graduate student -- nor on a woman up to that time. He is the proud author of the book (more...)

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