William Bergquist and Gary Quehl
The musical “Pippin,” by Stephen Schwartz (of “Wicked” fame), is about the nature of deep caring. It involves the search for life meaning and the beginning of all types of generativity. The protagonist, Pippin, searches for meaning in life as the son of Charlemagne first through warfare, then through lust, then through revolution against his father, then through governance (replacing his father), then through exploration of religious practices and other pursuits, and finally through leading an ordinary life. He runs away from each path – initially including leading an ordinary life with a widowed woman and her son. Finally, he comes to realize that the woman and her son are really what he wants in life, and where true meaning can be attained even if in a rather mundane, day-to-day, and non-dramatic manner. Pippin is discovering generativity.
Schwartz’ protagonist, Pippin, has initiated a journey of discovery not unlike Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz and many other protagonists in novels, plays and myths (as noted by Joseph Campbell in his examination of dominant world myths). The difference between Pippin and Dorothy is that Pippin is traveling on a path toward other-orientation (generativity) rather than on a path back home as is Dorothy. Perhaps this is because Dorothy is much younger than Pippin. What might Dorothy’s journey be like if we were to provide a narrative of Dorothy years later in life when she is a caring parent, modeling the attitude and behavior of Auntie Em. Perhaps, as a mature adult, Dorothy would become a mentor or guide to young women who are restless about growing up in Kansas. She might even set up a scholarship program so these young women can spend a summer in a foreign land (if not Oz), or she might help to establish a museum that features the artifacts of traveling magicians and peddlers (like the Wizard). These would be portraits of Dorothy’s journey to deep caring outside herself and her desire to return home.Download Article 500 Club