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  • Writer's pictureKarey Pohn

Origins of the Idea

Walt Disney, in a Time Magazine interview in 1937, said “we just try to make a good picture. And then the professors come along and tell us what we it and then they tell us what we do” (Watts, 1997, p. i) Like Walt, I actually created this game without realizing consciously the full extent of what I was doing. I saw that this pattern of death and rebirth depicted by Grof's cartography was pervasive and satisfying. It made sense to me, and I had also experienced it for myself during holotropic breathwork sessions. [GTT] In fact, I actually got the idea for the game after a breathwork session in March 2003. I saw that many of the concepts that were covered in different courses at Pacifica were essentially similar, although our class had not formally been introduced to Grof’s model. At the beginning of the movie Zoolander (Stiller, 2001), Derek Zoolander, to demonstrate his versatility shows a calendar of his different "looks," but all of the expressions are the same. Later in the movie, the villain Mugatu, played by Will Ferrell, on the brink of insanity shouts: “What am I taking crazy pills, doesn’t anyone notice this but me, it's all the same look?” Well, essentially, this is what had happened with me when I saw that this pattern had played itself out through all of my coursework.

To remedy the situation, not my craziness, but to show how pervasive this pattern was, I presented Grof's cartography as my final project.

For my oral exam at the end of my coursework, I was required to make a presentation on a topic that was among other things personally, socially, and culturally meaningful. Since I considered Grof's work to be the most important thing I learned during my graduate work, I created the game as a simple, easy and fun way to describe his cartography to my classmates. This would also remedy the situation of my classmates being unfamiliar with Grof's work.

So here is my first version of the Cosmic Game, Monomythopoly: Eternal Return Edition™, which revolves around this death-rebirth pattern of the eternal return and Grof’s cartography of the psyche. To get to know the cartography better, we will begin by taking a brief tour of the board, followed by a more detailed look, first zeroing in on the corners, and then on the spaces where the railroads are found on a traditional Monopoly board, and finally describe the different property spaces themselves.


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