Similarly stated, James Hillman views metaphors "...less semantically as a figure of speech and more ontologically as a mode of being, or psychologically as a style of consciousness" (Re-Visioning 156, italics mine).
As an illustration, imagine you are visiting a culture that had never heard of computers. Imagine sharing something you suddenly deem unimportant to someone in that culture, and exclaiming, “Oh, never mind, just delete my last comments from your mental hard drive.” They would have no idea of what you are talking about because they do not share the mental concept which precedes and informs your culturally conditioned metaphor.
Campbell does something like this when he says: “There can be no reading of the [biblical] images of God and Satan as metaphors of any kind” (Inner Reaches, 114-15). Campbell's critique of the Hebrew story assumes the Hindu construct of ultimate reality as being "all one," not allowing for the Hebrew cultural concept of the necessity of separation and alienation. He appears to forget that separation and unity are both archetypal and native to the human psyche. He is imposing the Hindu construct on the Hebrew narrative. The conceptual construct of separation would have made no sense in the Hindu and Native American religious worlds in which Campbell stood. He and they view unity as the ideal goal of spirituality, while the Hebrews incorporated the experience of separation into their spiritual paradigm. This makes Campbell's critique of the angels with the flaming swords not only irrelevant, but wrong--at least with regard to the biblical mythology.
According to some Jewish, Christian and Jungian interpreters--this novel Hebrew notion of the necessity of separation and alienation introduced a radically new paradigm into Near Eastern religion and eventually the larger world. The animated dust-born human in Eden was neither wholly divine nor wholly animal, yet contained some elements of each while also evolving from both, toward what dialecticists like Hegel called Absolute Spirit, and the Jesuit priest and scientist Tielhard de Chardin called the Omega Point. Unlike the Eastern ego the biblical ego was not originally intended to be one with God. Their notion of the ego-self was imagined as a seed pod made in the image of God, yet separated from the originating "Divine Source" in order to morph into an entirely new Self by going through the various post-Edenic pathololgies (sufferings) of material and psychic existence--symbolized by pain in child birth and working by the sweat of the brow.[ii] The angels with flaming swords, keeping humans from the Tree of Life, is seen by some biblical interpreters as a metaphor indicating that the way to the spiritual life was forward, not backward. While the the Navajo Pollen Path and Indian sushumna way requires one to march through the fearful angels into the peaceful center, the Hebrew path requires the nascent soul to leave the nest and enter earth-life. There is room for both ideas in a soul-making world which requires one to first leave the peaceful center, journey through a world of pains and troubles, and
SOUL-MAKING REQUIRES SEPARATION AND DUALITY
For many Jews and Christians, separation and dualism are a necessary condition for transformation into what the Eastern Orthodox Church calls theois—becoming divine. That is why Process Philosopher Alfred North Whitehead said, "The Old Testament is the story of the evolution of consciousness without equal in the literature of the world" (Religion in the Making).
Clifford Geertz includes facticity in his general definition of religions when he says,
order of existence and clothing these conceptions with such an aura of factuality that the moods and motivations seem uniquely realistic" (Hale, Part 1). In other words, “authoritative factual accounts” and an “aura of ‘factuality” do not contradict myth or necessarily contaminate metaphors, especially when the cultural conceptual metaphor is not fully understood. Myths most often present themselves as factual and authoritative. That is why James Hillman can refer to the "fiction of science" as well as "science fiction."
Finally, from an archetypal perspective, ‘literal facts’ are just as necessary, and perhaps symbolical, as ‘metaphors.’ If hard religious facts are dogma, then these dogmatic kernels are the solidified seed pods of the wilting and wilted mythical flower which contains the next myth. Dogma is the seed of myth, the dead husk of the new emerging idea (archetypal pattern of consciousness). Dogma and fact are as necessary to myth as metaphor. The ‘nonsense’ is just as necessary as the ‘sense.’ Campbell was a genius in detecting the old husks, cracking them open and stripping away the old shards, and releasing the new seed ideas into a cultural soil ready for new images of soul.