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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mentor

In his eminently readable book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Joseph Campbell describes the figure of the mentor. On every adventurous journey, this smart and wise helper appears to the seeker soon after setting out toward unknown territory. Generally he provides him with amulets to protect him from enemies, with magic weapons to fight off dragons and cryptic advice, which proves to be of incalculable value in decisive moments. Whenever anyone asks me about the role that Harold Prince played in my life, that image occurs to me.

2 comments:

  1. In the business world nobody talks about mentoring but about coaching – even in german language.
    But coaching is only a service, mostly chargeable, and mentoring, in contrast, includes and requires a personal relation. Having a mentor is wonderful. He is a kind of father without all that scrub of relationship.
    It is important to help others, it is useful to coach others and it is a gift being accepted as mentor.

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  2. Especially when your existential situation is very particular and very demanding and your own parents might be part of a problem to be solved, it is a great luck if you meet "the experienced person" (as Ernst Jünger called this figur in "Halley Twice", one of his last books), because in a particular situation it is not probable to meet someone with experiences relevant to your specific necessities. If it occurs, this mentor is among the best things life can offer us.

    Thank you for pointing on this important theme.

    Another important theme is the example. Who is an example worth to be followed?

    It is a great luck again, if we had the opportunity to see good examples, apt to our situation, in our present time, when we were young. A good example must not be anachronistic and it must not have big inconsistencies, shadows, lacks, too big contradictions or other dubious qualities.

    In times which rapidly change, it is not as easy to find a worthy example as it was when times changed slowly. And there are historic situations when the examples we choose might be people offering fruits of another culture.

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