“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Over the decades, a framework of theories and humanitarian philosophies have been created by an elite group of progressive thinkers. These timeless messages are still relevant in our turmoiled society and reflect the grand premise of Dream Gliding: summoning the wisdom of the ancients.
Their names are familiar to many of us. Albert Ellis, Erik Erikson, and Abraham Maslow provided blueprints for self-actualization while Andrew Carnegie and Og Mandino revealed secrets leading to success. Joseph Campbell, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Carl Jung taught us that we are all interconnected, sharing ancestral DNA beyond the divide of time and space. Mother Teresa and Rev. Robert Schuller were advocates of spirituality. Call them ‘visionaries’ or ‘seers,’ these individuals viewed the world through an enlightened vision and perceived the future as it could be. Our esteemed group of ambassadors and their contributions are listed as follows:
1.Joseph Campbell (1904-1987). Campbell, an American psychologist and philosopher, explored the varied aspects of comparative mythology noting how variations of the same plot are repeated throughout history. He was an avid reader with the ability to retain vast amounts of knowledge about psychology, mythology, and the human experience. Campbell’s philosophy is best represented by the motto: “Follow your bliss” but he also declared, “Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”
His best-selling book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, describes the mono-myth, a shared universal adventure repeated throughout the world in numerous versions. Campbell’s 1949 book compiled hundreds of examples of stories from a wide range of mythology including those from Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Native American, and Greek canons.
Although Campbell’s Hero’s Journey is best known, he also identified tragic, comic, and ironic variations of the myth. In his Encyclopedia Britannica biography, Robert Segal said Campbell believed that the myth possessed vast therapeutic potential:
“For Campbell, myth provides sufficient access to the unconscious, and to have a myth is to need no therapy. Campbell advocated myth as a panacea for not only psychological woes but also social woes, and he attributed almost all human problems to the absence of myth.”
Jonathan Young, the founding curator of the Joseph Campbell Archives and Library, believes that history will view his contributions as both visionary and momentous. He said:
“In the history of ideas Joseph Campbell’s work is becoming
more and more important… His influence on religious thinking,
literary studies, and psychological theory and treatment has
been huge and his contributions have continued to ripple out. He
is by far the most influential mythologist in modern history. When
the intellectual history of the Twentieth Century is written the
impact of Campbell’s thinking will be seen as enormous.”
2. Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). In the 19th centuries’ dawning of
the Industrial Age, the Carnegie Steel Company revolutionized steel
production in the United States and became the largest of its kind, as
Andrew Carnegie assumed the mantle of ‘the richest man in the world.’
Carnegie postulated that those with great wealth must be socially
responsible to help others. He abhorred charity, and used his
money to help others help themselves. Systematically giving away
his fortune, he created over 2,500 public libraries and established
the Carnegie-Mellon University, the Carnegie Foundation for
the Advancement of Teaching, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. By the time of Carnegie’s death in 1919, he had given away $350 million ($4.4 billion in today’s dollars).
He was one of the first wealthy men to believe it was a disgrace to die rich, a message that later inspired philanthropists Sir Richard Branson, Warren Buffet, and Bill and Melinda Gates. Addressing his massive wealth and influence, Carnegie wrote:
“The day is not far distant when the man who dies leaving behind him millions of available wealth, which was his to administer during life, will pass away un-wept, un-honored and un-sung… Of such as these the public verdict will then be: ‘The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.’”
3. Albert Ellis (1913-2007). Ellis was an American clinical psychologist, considered one of the most influential figures in the history of psychology. Before his death, Psychology Today named him the ‘Greatest Living Psychologist.’ Ending his psychoanalysis practice, Ellis wanted to create a more directive form of psychotherapy. In 1955, he developed Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, a psychotherapeutic approach to help patients overcome irrational beliefs and unrealistic expectations. REBT is widely considered to be a precursor to cognitive behavioral therapy. Ellis believed that we do not have to go through life in misery and can make positive behavioral changes in our lives. He said:
“You have considerable power to construct self-helping thoughts, feelings and actions as well as to construct self-defeating behaviors. You have the ability, if you use it, to choose healthy instead of unhealthy thinking, feeling and acting.”
Ellis strongly encouraged people to dispute irrational ideas holding them back and not accept past assumptions. He argued that
we either accept the way things are or change them, explaining,
“Changing beliefs is the real work of therapy and is achieved by the therapist disputing the client’s irrational beliefs.” Ellis called
‘disputing’ the most powerful cognitive method ever invented, allowing us to develop a new way of thinking and new conclusions.
4. Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882). Emerson was an American lecturer, poet, and essayist, and the leading proponent of New England Transcendentalism, believing that people have an inherent goodness and are at their best when truly ‘self-reliant’ and independent.
During Emerson’s 40-year-long career, he gave over 1500 public lectures, captivating his audiences with his speeches against slavery and about the divide between upper and lower classes. He became a major figure in American literature inspiring writers such as Henry Thoreau and Walt Whitman. Emerson was an influential figure in the first recognized American school of philosophical thought and acknowledged our autonomy when he said, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”
5. Erik H. Erikson (1902-1994). Erikson was a developmental
psychologist best-known for his Stages of Psycho Social
Development. He explored personality development which he
believed occurred through a series of identity crises that must be
overcome and internalized. His theories marked an important shift in
thinking on personality; instead of focusing simply on early childhood
events, his theory looked at how social influences contribute to our
personalities throughout our entire lifespans. He wrote:
“Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue
inherent in the state of being alive. If life is to be sustained hope
must remain, even where confidence is wounded, trust impaired.”
6. Carl Jung (1875-1961). Jung, the founder of analytical psychology,
is considered one of history’s most influential psychiatrists. His major
contributions included individuation, the persona and shadow selves,
and synchronicity. His Dream Analysis interpreted symbols from the
collective unconscious that show up in dreams, while his concept of
the collective unconscious outlined a universal cultural storeroom
of archetypes and human experiences. He wrote:
“The collective unconscious comprises in itself the psychic life
of our ancestors right back to the earliest beginnings. It is the
matrix of all conscious psychic occurrences, and hence it exerts
an influence that compromises the freedom of consciousness
in the highest degree, since it is continually striving to lead all
conscious processes back into the old paths.”
7. Og Mandino (1923-1996). Mandino’s book, The Greatest Salesman
in the World, has sold fourteen million copies and have been translated
into 18 languages. He began his incredible journey after reading
Success Through A Positive Mental Attitude by Napoleon Hill and W.
Clement Stone, claiming that the book saved his life.
Mandino believed that all successful people take on their own lives
by ‘charting’ or consciously choosing both the desired destination
and the path to reach it. His intention was to pass on his secrets of
success by bequeathing The Ten Scrolls as a guide to his readers.
He believed, “Therefore, if I must be a slave to habit let me be a
slave to good habits. My bad habits must be destroyed and new
furrows prepared for good seed.”
For those suffering from addiction, Mandino offered a message of
empowerment. He declared, “I will not fail as the others, for in my
hands I now hold the charts (the Ten Scrolls) which will guide me
through perilous waters to shores which only yesterday seemed but a
dream.” By blending behavioral science with positive psychology, and
spiritual beliefs, he advised us to replace bad habits with good ones.
8. Abraham H. Maslow (1908 -1970). Maslow was arguably the
most successful organizational psychologist of the 20th century.
He is best known for his hierarchy of needs which suggested that
people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to more
advanced needs. He believed that people have an inborn desire to
be self-actualized, but in order to achieve these ultimate goals, a
number of more basic needs must be met such as food, safety, love,
and self-esteem. Maslow described self-actualized people as being
self-aware, concerned with personal growth, less concerned with the
opinions of others, and interested in fulfilling their potential. He said:
“It may be loosely described as the full use and exploitation of
talents, capabilities, potentialities, etc. Such people seem to
be fulfilling themselves and to be doing the best that they are
capable of doing… They are people who have developed or are
developing to the full stature of which they capable.”
Maslow investigated variables that made people happy and things
they did to achieve that aim. Like Carl Rogers, he emphasized
the importance of self-actualization, a process of growing and
developing as a person in order to achieve individual potential.
Maslow said, “What a man can be, he must be.”
9. Rev. Robert H. Schuller (1926-2015). Rev. Schuller was a
motivational speaker and televangelist who believed everyone could live
a successful and fulfilling life. One of his best quotes was, “Spectacular
achievement is always preceded by unspectacular preparation.”
Schuller started his Orange County ministry in 1955 preaching from an
abandoned drive-in movie theater. He built his 10,000 member Crystal
Cathedral as the epitome of modern-day Christianity. The Los Angeles
Times reporters Lobdell and Landsberg wrote:
“The silver-haired evangelist rose from humble beginnings to
become one of the late 20th century’s most recognized religious
figures… He created the weekly “Hour of Power” television show
that at its peak popularity attracted an international audience
of millions, wrote dozens of books with titles such as “Turning
Hurts Into Halos” and “If It’s Going to Be, It’s Up to Me,” and
built a 40-acre church campus with buildings so striking that
the American Institute of Architects gave him its first lifetime
achievement award in 2001.”
Schuller was in the right place at the right time. Distancing himself
from ‘fire and brimstone’ preachers, he delivered a positive platform
of pop-psychology, ‘possibility thinking,’ and the words of Jesus
Christ. Schuller’s Sunday television audience boasted an estimated
10. Mother Teresa (1910-1997). Mother Teresa was a Roman
Catholic nun and a living symbol of humility, self-sacrifice, and
compassion for the world’s invisible outcasts. Born Agnes Gonxha
Bojaxhiu, she is considered one of the greatest humanitarians of all
time. According to The Washington Post:
“She was acclaimed worldwide for her works of mercy and
succor among the destitute and forgotten. The founder of the
Missionaries of Charity, she became known as the Saint of the
Gutters and received the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize for her care of
the sick and dying in Calcutta.”
Mother Teresa’s religious order, The Missionaries of Charity, grew
from a single convent in 1950 to a global congregation with hundreds
of houses on six continents. Her philosophy was to actively help the
poor in every way, as we honor our relationship with God. Her most
famous meditation was ‘The Final Analysis Prayer:’
People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior
motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and
some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be
honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your
best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It
was never between you and them anyway.
Each of these Dream Gliding ambassadors were secular prophets
who lived ahead of their time passing down lessons learned from
the past. The ancient philosophies of Aristotle, Pythagoras, and
arcane Egyptian spiritual teachings were revered and replicated.
We can still hear those voices sounding from the temple
minaret, vibrating against warring incense and desert air. These
ambassadors existed in a realm of imagination and possibility
envisioning a world that promoted peace, education, and respect
for all. Their collective wisdom remains with us today.
Maxim W. Furek has a rich background that includes aspects of
psychology, addictions, mental health and music journalism. His book
The Death Proclamation of Generation X: A Self-Fulfilling Prophesy of
Goth, Grunge and Heroin explores the dark marriage between grunge
music and the beginning of the opioid crisis.
Learn more at www.shepptonmyth.comMaxim W. Furek, MA, CADC, ICADC