Campbell: The troubadours were the nobility of Provence and then later other parts of France and Europe. In Germany they’re known as the Minnesingers, the singers of love. Minne is the medieval German word for love. They were poets of a certain character, yes. The period for the troubadours is the 12 century.
The whole troubadour tradition was extinguished in Provence in the so-called Albigensian Crusade of 1209, which was launched by Pope Innocent III, and which is regarded as one of the most monstrous crusades in the history of Europe. The troubadours became associated with the Manichean heresy of the Albigensians that was rampant at that time-though the Albigensian movement was really a protest against the corruption of the medieval clergy. So the troubadours and their transformation of the idea of love got mixed up in religious life in a very complicated way.
The troubadours were very much interested in the psychology of love. And they’re the first ones in the West who really thought of love the way we do now- as a person-to-person relationship.
Before that, love was simply Eros, the god who excites you to sexual desire. This is not the experience of falling in love the way the troubadours understood it. Eros is much more impersonal than falling in love. You see, people didn’t know about Amor. Amor is something personal that the troubadours recognized. Eros and Agape are impersonal loves.
Eros is a biological urge. It’s the zeal of the organs for each other. The personal factor doesn’t matter. Agape is love thy neighbor as thyself- spiritual love. It doesn’t matter who the neighbor is.
Moyers: Now, this is not passion in the sense that Eros mandates it, this is compassion, I would think.
Campbell: Yes, it is compassion. It is a heart opening. But it is not individuated as Amor is.
Moyers: Agape is a religious impulse.
Campbell: Yes. But Amor could become a religious impulse, too. The troubadours recognized Amor as the highest spiritual experience… That’s completely contrary to everything the Church stood for. It’s a personal, individual experience, and I think it’s the essential thing that’s great about the West and that makes it different from all other traditions I know.
Moyers: So the courage to love became the courage to affirm one’s own experience against tradition- the tradition of the Church. Why was that important to the evolution of the West.
C: It was important in that it gave the West this accent on the individual, that one should have faith in his experience and not simply mouth terms handed down to him by others. It stresses the validity of the individual’s experience of what humanity is, what life is, what values are, against the monolithic system. The monolithic system is a machine system: every machine works like every other machine that’s come out of the same shop… the usual marriage in traditional cultures was arranged for by the families. It wasn’t a person-to-person decision at all… In the Middle Ages, that was the kind of marriage that was sanctified by the Church. And so the troubadour idea of real person-to-person Amor was very dangerous."
- excerpts from The Power of Myth
A Tea Partier decided to pick a fight with a foreign president. It didn’t go so well.
America’s workforce has changed, but the nation’s public policies have not kept pace. Women and mothers are a permanent fixture in the workforce — and odds are slim that after a child’s birth its mother will stay home full time while its father works as the family’s sole breadwinner. Seventy-two percent of women work at some point before giving birth to a first child; among women who worked during pregnancy, 73 percent return to work within six months of giving birth.8 Seventy-seven percent of mothers with children under the age of six and 78 percent of mothers with elementary- to high-school-age children work outside the home.9 In fact, 71 percent of children live in households where all parents work.
What’s more, women’s wages are critical — both to the national economy and the economic security of their families. The wages that a woman brings home can increasingly make or break her family’s economic security. Women are now the primary or co-breadwinners in more than six out of 10 households, and nearly 40 percent are the main or sole breadwinner. In lower-income households, women’s earnings are even more important to the family’s economic survival.
These demographic and economic changes make the imperative to update the nation’s public policies more urgent than ever. There needs to be a national commitment to promoting families’ economic security while giving parents the time to care for themselves and their children after birth or adoption. Without a public policy standard that gives new parents the time and financial support they need, they are forced to cobble together individual solutions in order to manage work responsibilities, children’s needs and financial obligations.