Resistance: the Mythos and the Logos

There’s a lot of talk about resistance right now. All kinds of people telling us what we must do, what we must not do, how to act, how we’re bad if we don’t act, how to make a radical act, how to be an activist, how to be the right kind of activist (their kind of activist), how to resist, resist, resist …

Maybe I’m no different, now. I’ve stayed quiet about all this for a good while, but I’m beginning to be disturbed by some of the value judgements I’ve seen thrown out on social media. I’m disturbed mostly because I’ve seen a few angry words directed by people at their ‘friends’ who dare to wonder whether maybe there are other ways of resisting than the creation of civil unrest. Not necessarily better ways – just the thought that other ways might be valid, too, and might still deserve to fall into the category of ‘resistance’. But the webwaves seem suddenly to be filled with people who, whilst spouting words like ‘love’ and ‘solidarity’ and ‘oneness’, seem nevertheless to dismiss the ideas of anyone who isn’t immediately taking to the streets, joining in marches and protests wherever and whenever they happen, signing an endless stream of online petitions, calling their senators and representatives, calling for revolution.

Understand this before reading on: I think marches and protests can be a very fine thing (though as many political theorists have pointed out in recent days, they do carry inherent dangers and run the risk of escalating the very processes they hope to fight). Putting pressure on the individuals who have been elected to represent the people is essential. (I’m not so sure about online petitions.) But the whole tenor of the response to Trump has got me thinking a little more deeply about resistance. About what it is, about all of the things it can be – because there is no perfect one way to resist, just as there is no perfect one way for the world to unfold, or for a person to become. There are many ways of resistance, and each of us has to choose the path that we are best fitted for. The path that speaks to our calling, to our own unique path with heart. The path that recognises who we are, and what gifts we bring to the world.

Anyone who insists that I follow a single path to resistance which cannot accommodate that notion, is no-one I want to be listening to right now. And I offer you this out of the wisdom of five and a half decades spent on this planet: always, always beware of anyone who seems to suggest that there is just one true way to be in this world, or one true way to respond to any particular event. That is dogma; it’s religion. It’s everything that myth is not. There is no one true way to be. There is only ever the way that is true for you to be. One man’s meat is another man’s poison. Forgive the folklorics, but there’s wisdom in the old sayings.

Here is the one truth I know about resistance: resistance has many faces. But when I look at what’s happening out there right now, I find myself reminded of that age-old split between mythos and logos. As a brief aside for anyone who might have missed out on the relevance of these words: mythos and logos are terms which originally were used to describe the transition in ancient Greek thought from a reliance on stories with religious, symbolic significance to explain the truth of existence, to a later reliance on scientific rationalism and empirical methodology. It’s not, and was never intended to be, a perfect distinction, but sometimes it’s a useful way of differentiating between certain modes of looking at, and being in, the world.

It seems to me that the people who insist on a path to resistance which is founded on activism, on doing, on marching, on saying, are acting from the path of logos. But understand this, too, before we go any further: it might be fashionable these days to attack logos as the source of all of the problems of Western civilisation, but as a trained scientist as well as a mythologist, I’m not going to go there. We need both logos and mythos. The trick is to have them in balance. But the problem is that we don’t have them in balance. We live in a civilisation that values logos to the exclusion of all else. And so the dominant view of resistance is perhaps inevitably founded on the notion that it must always be about a particular kind of doing. Anything else might be labelled ‘passive resistance’ at best, but is not usually much admired.

So if that’s a path to resistance based on logos, which is all very fine for the people so inclined to it, what does a path to resistance based on mythos look like, for those of us who are not? I think I understand that path, because it’s one that I am better fitted to take. But let me stress this again in case there’s any doubt: I admire the people who adhere to active resistance. The world needs the marchers who will take to the streets. It needs the placards which will make us laugh or make us weep. It needs the soundbites and the tweeters. It needs the lawyers who will snatch up their laptops and run to the airports to file the sub poenas to prevent the deportations. It absolutely needs the human rights activists, the animal rights activists, the environmental activists. It needs everyone who raises awareness of all of the crises that are facing us, as a civilisation.

But the world needs something more, too. It needs the people who can lead by a different kind of example. It needs those of us who are better designed to live by mythos than logos And who live that way not necessarily by active choice, but simply because that’s who we are. It’s the authentic truth of our existence; it’s the only way we know how to be. We are the ones who embody a different but equally necessary path to resistance. We are the people who are focused on different ways of being in the world. Different ways of living. Some of us are artists, or writers. Some of us are permaculturalists, or herbalists, or hermits in the woods. We are the people who have stepped back – a little way back, or a long way back – from the ugliness of consumerism, who refuse to play the game, who refuse to succumb to the blandishments, who reject the values espoused by a sick civilisation, who make different choices about how to live and be in the world, who choose instead to go their own way.

An article on the work of political theorist Hannah Arendt was published this morning in the Guardian. Arendt, you may remember, is famous for her work on the Holocaust, and for coining the iconic term, in a book about Adolf Eichmann, ‘the banality of evil’. Apparently her 1951 book The Origins of Totalitarianism has become a surprise bestseller on Amazon in the past week. But an expert on her work, and on the development of social and political thought, had this to say about what she might have made of the recent response to Trump:

‘Certainly, I think there is a lot to be gained from people gathering together to show solidarity. But in a world where the institutions that we’re protesting in front of are losing their legitimacy and their power, I’m not sure that this has the impact that it once did. If we think of evil as this one person, this one big event, then we tend to want to match that with one big display of resistance. But actually, if evil is banal – a set of ordinary, mundane decisions day by day – then maybe we have to start living differently day by day.’

Living differently day by day. Don’t ever let anyone tell you this isn’t resistance. I’m talking about the people who make us believe that it is possible to live differently, precisely because they themselves live differently. Because we see them doing just that. And look at them – aren’t they thriving? Thriving without all the trappings. Thriving without the slavery, without the attachment to stuff. The ones who decide for themselves what they will hold dear, and who go on to cherish, protect, witness in their own powerful ways. The ones who say – no, this is not about giving up. It’s about refocusing. It’s not about a discrete set of actions: it’s about being alive. It’s about turning your back on ‘reality TV’ and turning instead to the reality of what the mountain has to say.

This is another way of resistance, and it’s a resistance based on mythos. For those of us who live this way, it’s almost always based on a sense of individual calling, on a need to follow our own integrity and authenticity, on an inability to pretend to be what we are not. It might be a quieter form of resistance – though yes, from time to time we’ll come out of the forest and join the marches and add our voices to the voices of our brothers and sisters who have different skills and gifts.

But here is our gift to the world: when the battle is finished and the enemies are quietened but the placards are broken and the houses have burned to the ground – we are the ones who will show you, stone by sharp-edged stone, how to build them up again from the foundations. We are the keepers of wisdom, the carriers of stories, the apprentices of the old crafts. When the blackbirds gather, we know what they are saying. It’s what we do; it’s who we are. We carry the resistance forward in our hearts and in our hands.

Together, we can change the world. Mythos and logos, the actors and the holders, a perfect and beautiful balance. Each of us fighting that good fight in the only true way we can: the way that each of us was designed to fight. Each of us respecting and valuing the unique energy and special focus of the other’s gift.

In thinking about all of this over the past couple of days, I turned again to a passage I scribbled down in a notebook a good few years ago now. It’s from an essay by Freya Mathews, an Australian philosopher whose work has focused (among other related subjects) on the ways in which we might reclaim a panpsychic worldview today. In this passage she is writing about what happens when a student of Western philosophy rejects the determinedly materialistic, rationalistic worldview which has prevailed now for so many centuries, and instead begins to look to the world around her for answers. For me, it’s been a kind of personal manifesto for a good while now. Print it out, and stick it somewhere where you can see it every day. Because this too is the resistance. And it’s a mythical resistance, for sure.

‘Once the philosopher has embarked on philosophy in this new key, she will never be the same again. She will, for a start, be increasingly reluctant to return to the office. Her sources of insight are now beyond the walls. She is drawn to places of revelation … she is disposed to teach in place, mediating the wisdom of a communicative world through the particularities of a given place. The metatext of her message is that wisdom is not the province of human thought alone, but of human consciousness in conversation with the world.

In order to optimise her receptivity to possible communiques, she will find herself in flight from the distractions of a materialistic civilisation. Her way of life will become materially simplified. Absorbed in her subtle concourse with a larger, responsive world, she will be inattentive to the crass blandishments of a consumer society. In time she may no longer fit the respectable mold of the middle-class professional, but may find herself reverting to the ancient mode of the sage, roaming the countryside or dwelling in place, constituting in her very person a challenge to the complacencies of middle-class somnolence, whether that of the professional or that of the dedicated consumer.

Alive to oracular signs and poetic emanations, mightn’t she evolve into the kind of figure who, ‘flashing-eyed and floating-haired’,* could point the way out of modern insentience? Weave a circle around her thrice indeed, for where might she lure us? Into the embrace that, as moderns, we have taken such trouble to flee? Isn’t this embrace – that dissolves our discursive blinders and enables us to hear the imperatives to which we have so long blocked our ears – the embrace of the real?

Where will these imperatives lead, if not underground, into a cathedral of innerness vaster by far than the plain theatres of existence we can at present conceive?”

Freya Mathews, Reinhabiting Reality: Towards a Recovery of Culture. State University of New York Press, 2005

*The reference is to Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, ‘Kubla Khan’.

Featured image: Andrea Kowch ‘The Blackbirds Are Gathering’

2017-02-07T07:36:38+01:00February 2nd, 2017|Article|59 Comments


  1. albaraven February 2, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Thanks so much for that Freya Matthews quote. So relevant for some of us for these times.

    • Sharon Blackie February 2, 2017 at 10:36 am

      Yes – as well as the theory, there’s plenty of good, radical, down-to-earth and practical food for thought in her work. Not your average philosopher 🙂

  2. Kate Gold February 2, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Thank you, Sharon, for helping me feel supported in my response to the world and especially the current dramas. I have no wish to engage with it, I do not want to waste any of my precious life on it, not even moments. It is an illusion to me and I wish only to stay in my truth.

  3. Kate Gold February 2, 2017 at 9:11 am

    Sorry, to be more specific – I mean the world of destructive corrporations and consumerism as a post to the world I love and live in, full of beauty, wondrous sights and as much human kindness to fill oceans.

    • Sharon Blackie February 2, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Yes, indeed. It always amuses me that people think that if you reject a consumerist approach to the world, you must be giving something up. Whereas what unfolds instead is an enchanted world, an enchanted life …

  4. Jo Woolf February 2, 2017 at 9:32 am

    A wonderfully wise and moving post – thank you so much.

    • Sharon Blackie February 2, 2017 at 10:35 am

      You’re welcome 🙂 Thanks for reading.

  5. Yanina February 2, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Wow, what a tremendous read, it felt powerful and full of energy and appropriate. A wonderful post to the start of this day. A big thank you.

    • Sharon Blackie February 2, 2017 at 10:37 am

      You’re welcome! It was heartfelt, for sure …

  6. cora511 February 2, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Thank you Sharon, for bravely reminding us of some other voices of radical resistance. It’s so uncomfortable to see people whose values are dominated by consumerism calling so many of the shots in the resistance movement, now that resistance has become mainstream.
    But like all profound radical thoughts, these ideas raise complex moral questions for most of us. For instance, radical rejection of the mainstream has always come into conflict with family ‘this soft domestic love’ according to Blake. Visionaries have rejected and neglected family bonds since Jesus Christ at least. My only child and only grandchild live in the US, and are expressing their resistance to Trumpism whilst living lives of profligate consumerism by our standards. But even our standards rely on earning money for flights to visit them, just to stay in relationship. So we fly, and drive cars to visit elderly relations in hospital etc. So I’m just saying that however deep the inner desire to reject materialism, to call the alternative ‘ the embrace of the real’ is simplistic … obviously. Reality involves compromise… and finding our true paths are often balancing our own levels of compromise. Now I’m going back to my cave…

    • Sharon Blackie February 2, 2017 at 10:42 am

      Well, there is no one correct way of rejecting consumerism or materialism, either! Truth is it’s virtually impossible to do so completely when you live here in the west, and each of us draws the line where we feel we need to, as appropriate to our work or personal circumstances. ‘Compromise’ is one way of looking at this process, but at the risk of nit-picking that’s a word which often is culturally loaded with ideas of retreat or failure, so it’s not one I’m fond of. But of course you make an important point. And I hope your cave is warm 🙂

  7. robert February 2, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Tending to translate logos as left-brained, mythos as right-brained, i recall (while being ‘burdened’ with more than 5 1/2 decades of engaging my dubious wisdom) actually being asked to speak on various subjects (though i’ve come to think of all subjects as ONE). “Strange days indeed, most peculiar…” (thanks John). Of course, for me, everything was about passionate creativity, no matter what others anticipated or expected, apparently my raison d’etre. Definitely i fit into the right brain profile, except for occasionally having to fix a leaky faucet or change a lightbulb. Otherwise i no longer play the game.

    So, standing before the audience, regardless of the ‘subject’, i would take a flower, like a daisy, and without speaking, remove its petals and leaves, break its stem into pieces and drop them to the floor or ground, then say: “This is what your left brain can do. It is really great at dismantling, dismembering and examining all the parts of everything that seem to exist. This is reductionism in action. The problem is, for all its wonders and magic tricks, it can’t put that beautiful flower back to together ever again.”

    i think there’s an analogy here. Thank you Sharon for all you offer all the flowers who haven’t been reduced to parts. btw: i no longer pull petals off flowers. Seems i’ve come at least that far.

    • Sharon Blackie February 2, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      A powerful example to offer an audience, and a good analogy indeed. Thanks for sharing it! (And I’m grateful for the flowers’ sake that you’ve moved on 🙂 )

  8. Aurora J Stone February 2, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Powerful and insight-filled words, Sharon. I am going to copy off the whole blog, for these are thoughts ‘read, mark and inwardly digest’ for some time. At a time, what seems like the beginning of a new epoch, of radically pointed unrest and uncertainty it is absolutely essential to hold to the way of mythos as you define and describe it. Thank you for sharing and affirming a different way to perceive and be, in a way that challenges complacency.

    • Sharon Blackie February 2, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks, Aurora! And for sure, I don’t think we’re going to see the end of this kind of thing for a good while, whatever happens to El Trump …

  9. Wild Child February 2, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Thank you. I needed to read this. 🙂

    • Sharon Blackie February 2, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      You’re most welcome 🙂

  10. lundberg472 February 2, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Thank you Sharon for the deep wisdom and courage of these words– they are especially nourishing in this troubled time and I will return to them whenever I need their sustenance. Bless, Norma


  11. kenshohomestead February 2, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Several times reading I felt you were addressing me personally! I’ve been quite surprised by the level of backlash against Trump and “the alt-right” in general, so much of it turning hateful and even violent, like last eve at Berkeley. Wow! I find the hypocrisy of it quite alarming. But one thing you wrote reminded me of a way I’ve come, finally in middle age, to understand a core issue in our relationship with “authority”. “Anyone who insists that I follow a single path to resistance which cannot accommodate that notion, is no-one I want to be listening to right now.” So true for me too! I’ve got myself a “code word” — anytime I sense someone is being condescending I say to myself, “here is a con descending.” 🙂 Thanks for the great read!

    • Sharon Blackie February 2, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      I think I understand the backlash; what’s going on is pretty horrifying, and I’m certainly not wanting to short-circuit the batteries at all. I find a great deal of comfort in watching so many people come together and protest. I think it’s what we’ve needed to shake ourselves out of our complacency. But this was simply to say there’s another way, too …

  12. Sara McCarthy February 2, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    Beautiful, thank you. Great also to be introduced to the work of Freya Matthews

    • Sharon Blackie February 2, 2017 at 3:53 pm

      Yes, she’s well worth reading. There are a few downloadable articles on her website. So much interesting work seems to be coming out of Australia on these issues.

  13. Nicole Gnutzman February 2, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Having just recently come out of the woods to return to “civilization” after the election (Spirit made it apparent that’s what she wanted me to do despite my best efforts to ignore Her and stay in sanctuary), I find myself so tempted to go back into the woods after reading your article :). I believe that we can have a beautiful and deep impact from there. And I wonder if there’s a third way for those of us who were once enmeshed, entrained and enslaved by society’s conditioning and “rules,” and finally had the sense to break away from those chains and go deep into ourselves and rediscover and reclaim our soul gifts and path, which is to go back in and embody the values and the way of being of which you so eloquently write to guide others. This will be my form of protest, my contribution to the resistance. Mythos and logos together as one. I hope I survive the test (there are days when I wonder if I will).

    • Sharon Blackie February 2, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      Yes, I think your ‘third path’ is an important one. Having followed precisely that path you speak of, I now find myself with one foot in the woods and one in the village! One of these days the woods will win. But right now, there’s a different calling to follow …

  14. Tania Marie's Blog February 2, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    thank you so much for sharing this and amplifying this message. i feel many need to hear this. very resonant and reflective of what i shared in my post a few days ago: much love and gratitude <3

  15. Judy Herzl February 2, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Thank you so very much for this. It speaks to something I have been seeing that is quite disturbing.

    Thank you so very much!

    Judy Herzl

    Connecting the Dots platform creation mentor for authors & creatives sufficiency & feminine leadership coach : organizational consultant 505.982.2576


  16. laurabruno February 2, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    Thank you, Sharon! I am heartened that, even though we are certainly the minority, more and more people are recognizing these other options for empowered resistance and creation. Bless you for articulating these dynamics in such easy to understand language and metaphor. You are a beacon of peace and strength in this world — a model of your book’s title, “If Women Rose Rooted.” Continued blessings on you and your work…

    • Sharon Blackie February 3, 2017 at 8:29 am

      Thanks, Laura! Every day it gets a little crazier; every day we have to tend our roots carefully or we’ll shrivel … but yes, I’m heartened by the number of people choosing other paths. Fertiliser for the soul, indeed.

  17. Linette February 2, 2017 at 8:37 pm

    This rang inside me like a bell! I have had my own struggles with my role in the changes happening, and just yesterday started to find some comfort in the work of Joanna Macy. You’ve said here just exactly what I was feeling about the value of leading by example. I am not a marcher or a caller or a carrier of placards, and so much of what I see on social media right now is truly harsh toward those of us who have chosen a more subtle way to resist that is more in alignment with who we really are. What I AM is a smiler-at-strangers, a helper-with-groceries, a woman who shares her tea with coworkers while they fret about world events and sends them all incognito Reiki. I am support staff on the battlefield, if we want to use that analogy. I prefer to think of the whole situation, though, not as fighting fire with fire (for we just set the whole damn thing ablaze that way), but as meeting aggression and intolerance with a gentle but very firm “No”. And I love, love, love how you wrote that when the battle is over, we are the ones who go into action then, rebuilding, healing, nurturing, and helping create something new. Thank you so much for helping me find my center and love my place again!

    • Sharon Blackie February 3, 2017 at 8:31 am

      So glad it resonated, Linette! And I love the idea of incognito Reiki …

  18. ztevetevans February 2, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    Bravo, well said!

  19. vagabondtabby February 3, 2017 at 3:34 am

    The best kind of activism, of resistance, as it is with any part of life, is the kind that works for the person who is doing it. I march; I also create jewelry out of what other people would call trash. I have a friend who calls his congresscritters, & also creates beautiful LGBT stories. A have several friends who resist in the simple act of their survival, from one day to the next, in a world that is trying to hard to kill them. There are so many ways to resist; what’s important is to find the way (& you have!) that works for you.

  20. candace nagle February 3, 2017 at 6:02 am

    Thank you, Sharon. This is exactly the insight and guidance I needed tonight. Very helpful!

  21. maskednative February 3, 2017 at 7:49 am

    ‘We are the ones we have been waiting for’ – ( from Hopi Indian Prophecy)

    Thank you Sharon, for the thoughtful and courageous words you write.

    • Sharon Blackie February 3, 2017 at 8:32 am

      And thanks for reading.

  22. Cindy February 4, 2017 at 1:40 am

    I relate! Thank you Sharon for articulating the mythos way, and the need for logos and mythos to be more balanced. Both are needed, for sure, not either or. I’m not an overt activist sort, but have lately been trying step into that role, but nope, it doesn’t fit. I can make a positive impact by taking actions that are aligned with my nature rather than trying to force myself into ways that that are not.

  23. Ellyn Sanna February 4, 2017 at 3:39 pm

    I would say that logos should emerge from mythos–but in times of crisis, that does not excuse us from taking an active stand to protect the vulnerable from evil. The I Ching emphasizes that all external change must be rooted in inner change–but inner change naturally expresses itself outwardly. I’m also reminded of the early Celtic saints who believed that life was a cycle of contemplative retreat and active involvement. They withdrew to isolated places in Nature in order to reestablish their inner connection with God–then emerged, often reluctantly, called out by the demands of society for their truth and justice, to take an active role in blessing the world–and then once again withdrew, when circumstances allowed, in an ongoing cycle much like our bodies’ natural circadian rhythm of activity and renewal.

    But we must be careful not to excuse our reluctance to take active stands by saying it doesn’t align with our inner nature. For many of us right now, myself included, activism feels uncomfortable, even frightening–but I question whether we can justify turning away from it by saying we are pursuing mythos over logos. The comparison to Nazi Germany may seem overused lately but it can also be a useful metaphor for helping us see more clearly. Could we have justified turning away from activism under those circumstances? Can we today?

    Martin Luther King Jr. is a wonderful example of an activist mystic / mystic activist. His writings on nonviolent resistance as a spiritual act inspire me and give me practical direction for connecting mythos and logos in this current reality. We may lack his unifying spiritual leadership in today’s crisis. That doesn’t excuse us from becoming that leadership.

    • Sharon Blackie February 5, 2017 at 6:43 am

      I’m certainly, as I hope was clear, not advocating that people turn away from action – I think that is a misreading. My point is that there is action, and action. There are other fragile but important things which many of us have been growing and which must be tended still while all this is going on. There are different ways of activism. Is tending to a forest you inhabit, while people are marching in the cities you don’t, an act of cowardice? I would suggest that actually, it’s an act of radical resistance too. (And actually rather Taoist …)

      • Stacey Gassman February 5, 2017 at 6:55 pm

        Let me take a slightly different angle to what Ellyn is saying.
        It is not that I disagree with your article. As an introvert, I must tend my energies well for resistance. As an artist living with other artists, we spend time thinking about positive propaganda, and ways to engage people with art, and how to up the ante on critical thinking. We engage our calling in this way. But I do feel the need to point out the inherent privilege in what you are talking about. If it was your son who was shot down in the street for the color of his skin, would you still feel it was an option to only resist in the ways that you feel most naturally called to? Tending a forest is both a form of resistance and highly valuable, no doubt, but would it be sufficient? White skin privilege gives us the option of opting out of the “creation of civil unrest” in ways that are not an option for many POC. I suspect most of us would probably rather tend a forest than march and risk pepper spray and imprisonment.

        It is not that other ways or third ways are unimportant. In fact they are critical and I find great value in them. I believe art is transformative. But I think it is both/and, and not just on the macro level, but for us as individuals. My neighbors are Mexican immigrants. My neighbors are Somali refugees. (And I mean these literally, within a few blocks of my home.) My perhaps quieter, long-game resistance, important as it is, may not help them when ICE shows up at their door tomorrow. Does that mean there is no value in those things? No, of course not. But I have to ask myself, does my long term tending come at the cost of their immediate future?

        There is a wonderful meme going around with all the ways one can play a support role, if you aren’t able to, for instance, march. It is incredibly helpful. Certainly, resistance is not one size fits all, but I hesitate to let us all off the hook so easily. To Ellyn’s point above, do we not march* because we aren’t able? OR because it’s simply inconvenient or outside our comfort zones? We can’t do everything. We can’t march in every march without killing ourselves. I’m not advocating that. But perhaps we’d do well to employ the 80/20 rule.

        There are valid, valuable and important means of resisting other than direct action (for me, personally, this is the 80{dfcff890319302f46ab35fe6ec2620f1d9065a3bb1c18be035d79a8d0e9eda38}) – AND – I can’t help but acknowledge that POC have repeatedly called those of us who benefit from white privilege to put our lives on the line, as they have no option but to do. So I damn well better use that 20{dfcff890319302f46ab35fe6ec2620f1d9065a3bb1c18be035d79a8d0e9eda38} wisely and well. If I value the lives of my brothers and sisters of color, I owe it to them to show up when they call, in the ways they require of me. I can live by example in how I act while I’m there, and resist in my own ways when I get home.

        *When I say marching, I’m using it more as a catch all for the active resistance methods you list – taking to the streets, joining in marches and protests, signing online petitions, calling their senators and representatives, calling for revolution – rather than as marching specifically or exclusively.

        • Sharon Blackie February 6, 2017 at 7:02 am

          I find it curious that your reply is couched in ‘white privilege’ terms, but then I inhabit a different country. There are many things to resist, for sure – racism, sexism, lunatic politicians – but the way I choose to handle it doesn’t have the slightest thing to do with privilege. I come from a profoundly unprivileged social background, grew up in a part of the inner city inhabited largely by Asian immigrants, now live in an impoverished rural area, and many of the strongest ‘active’ activists I know are middle-class white and, by your definition, profoundly ‘privileged’. Such easy categorisations are not only inaccurate in many cases, but serve only to polarise the schisms in society which are already causing these problems. It is so easy to judge people who you don’t know based on the way they seem to you. And doesn’t that just get right to the heart of the problems in the world right now? So very easy to label, classify, accept, reject. I am arguing wholeheartedly for the opposite of that. I am arguing for an ecology. For people to be allowed to be who they are. Diversity, above all.

          And I think, if you will forgive, that you are misreading my article. I’m not talking about being ‘let off the hook’, or about being lazy, as you suggest. I am talking about the different ways in which being in the world also amount to resistance. Do you imagine those choices about alternative ways of living are easy to make in this hard world which above all requires conformity to its processes, a product of mere fecklessness? Sure, there are crisis times when we all need to take to the streets anyway. But I am arguing against the kind of attitude which implies that, if you don’t follow a particular rule – in your case, 80/20 – you are inherently a bad, privileged, white, lazy, uncaring person. These are times for understanding others’ ways of being in the world, not accusing people who are different from us. The world isn’t black and white. The choices are complex, not binary.

          My own path of resistance involves quite a lot of work. It is just different work, perhaps, from yours. I use the gifts I have. I seek to transform hearts and minds with stories; I remind people of the ways in which story and myth offers not only hope but insight. I help people to adopt ‘resisting’ ways of life. I write about transformation, above all I tell people that change is always possible. I think that’s valuable, too; whether it is or not, it’s who I am. And if the secret police come knocking at the door to take my neighbours away in the middle of the night, I’ll run out in my dressing gown and try to stop them. I think that’s okay.

  24. Anne McCabe February 4, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Sharon, thank you for this. It is a beautiful way to be reminded of the necessity of balance – mythos/logos, yin/yang. And, how true that in the West we have been living by the action/doing metric to the detriment/weakening of our reflective/being sides. I could take the metaphor further to masculine vs. feminine but that would be over-generalizing and certainly I feel these times require strength and action and resistance. Change is needed in a big way and we can’t be passive and accepting to bring about change. However, without the quiet and opening, there lies ulcers, to bodies and spirits.

    • Sharon Blackie February 5, 2017 at 6:44 am

      Thanks, Anne. I do want to be clear that I’m not advocating passivity: rather, a different kind of resistance.

  25. wildingmarcy February 4, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Oh Sharon!
    This is gold of the purest sort…all of this…thank you so immensely for this post…for your wisdom and generosity. Your words here, and those of others you’ve shared here, are all that I needed to land in my heart right now…and settle and be stirred, nourish and soothe and encourage. So very grateful. Blessings as plentiful as blackbirds to you!


    • Sharon Blackie February 5, 2017 at 6:45 am

      Thank you, Marcy! The blackbirds deserve our attention, too, lest we become too focused on ourselves …

  26. rosey3thorns February 4, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    This is deeply comforting to me. Thank you, Sharon. I’ve also been blogging about my experience in the world right now, as an American and as a woman. All the noise overwhelms me, and I what I can do is not what so many fine, concerned active people are doing. My contribution looks and sounds different as a story carrier, a seed gatherer and a community dancer. We must continue to nourish the roots and take care of the dark earth in which they grow.

    • Sharon Blackie February 5, 2017 at 6:47 am

      Thank you for this, and the link to your blog. Yes, as I keep trying to express in the comments here, the stories still need to be carried, the seeds still need to be nurtured. We can’t just abandon the garden and hope it’s still there when we get back …

  27. Daphne February 5, 2017 at 12:47 am

    Thank you for this post Sharon! I am grateful for your wrapping words around the position I find I must take for the sake of good health, in all the senses of that phrase, within the maelstrom. Much appreciated.

    • Sharon Blackie February 5, 2017 at 6:48 am

      Thanks, Daphne, and stay well.

  28. Donna Mae Linton February 5, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    Your article is interesting but I would suggest as well that your argument is flawed. You speak of those in tune with mythos as stepping back from consumerism, of refusing to play the game, of rejecting values espoused by a sick society, as choosing to go their own way; as deciding for themselves what they hold dear; of being keepers of wisdom; of being authentic…etc. do you really really think only mythos types share these traits? This is pure romanticism. Think of Dorothy Day, surely a logos figure by your accounts of what that means.

    • Sharon Blackie February 6, 2017 at 7:05 am

      Actually I wasn’t attempting to classify people into ‘mythos’ and ‘logos’ types; as a psychologist I’m very much aware that such oversimplified categorizations of individuals never works. I was talking about different ways of being in the world, some of which are more aligned with ‘mythos’ and others more aligned with ‘logos’, according to the accepted definitions of those terms. I’m for sure not a romantic, but I don’t mind being labelled a Romantic 🙂

  29. emmaatlast February 6, 2017 at 1:59 am

    I tried being fire for a moment- intense, focused, hot – but then my soul reminded me that I was water after all. And so it seems i have been spreading out, flowing and falling, and offering a drink to the just and the unjust alike.

    • Sharon Blackie February 7, 2017 at 5:23 pm

      Lovely, and yes, water has a way of prevailing, doesn’t it …

  30. Deborah Gregory February 7, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    This is the best article I’ve read so far this year! My whole being just dances in delight, as your words speak clearly to this poet and her soul. For I know, I too, am better designed to live by mythos resistance, and recognise that I live a little way back from the world. Being a student of Jung, I’m forever in quest of balance, and working on the tension of the opposites.

    Furthermore, to read the diverse, and rich reflections of many like-minded souls here, has been most enlightening. I love the image you’ve featured, as both (words and image) create a beautiful fusion. Your book, “If Women Rose Rooted” is truly awesome! Mama Gaia; I hear your call! Thank you so much Sharon for inspiring the world with love, magic and beauty! Blessings, Deborah.

    • Sharon Blackie February 7, 2017 at 5:23 pm

      Thank you, Deborah, and so glad you’re enjoying the book, too!

  31. John Backman February 7, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    The word “brilliant” is mightily overused, but this article is brilliant. You have described my life and my vocation to a T–or, at least, you’ve described what I earnest desire to be. Thank you so much.

    • Sharon Blackie February 7, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      Gosh! It’s okay though, I’m old enough for it not to go to my head 🙂 … but thank you very much.

  32. entheos February 12, 2017 at 12:17 am

    I love this! It’s as tho’ you have turned up in my life at just the right time to help me synthesize all that I’m already doing and to refine it further. Here and in your other writings I find missing pieces of the puzzle. I am constantly reweaving the cloth of my life and of the larger world around me in my own gentle and hopefully, impactful way. It’s a relief to feel that what I do also has value and that the myths that have since childhood, sustained me are still being honoured and seen as vital to our work in creating a more beautiful world. Thank you Sharon Blackie, I bow before you.

  33. lornasmithers February 16, 2017 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks so much for this. You have captured exactly how I’m feeling right now and put an explanation to feelings I couldn’t put my finger on. Likewise I’ve recently felt a alienated by a resistance built on logos alone when my work is in myth. A while back on the Dark Mountain site Dougald Hind brought up the analogy of Perseus and Medusa – if you look at the monster directly you’ll turn to stone, look through the mirror (of myth) you may find some way to defeat it… Mine is the indirect way of myth too. No it doesn’t come with the direct effects and recognition of going out and shouting but I believe the quieter work of deconstructing and revisioning our myths is essential.

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