Joseph Campbell is smiling


To offer a synthetic view of world myths might be an even more daunting task than to do the same with the world religions. Yet our hero has managed to do just that. We take a quick look at his legacy.

Joseph CampbellLet us start with some of his quotes:

  • Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.
  • The way to find out about happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you are really happy — not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy. This requires a little bit of self-analysis. What is it that makes you happy? Stay with it, no matter what people tell you. This is what is called following your bliss.
  • Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.
  • It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. Where you stumble, there lies your treasure.
  • Wherever the poetry of myth is interpreted as biography, history, or science, it is killed. The living images become only remote facts of a distant time or sky. Furthermore, it is never difficult to demonstrate that as science and history mythology is absurd. When a civilization begins to reinterpret its mythology in this way, the life goes out of it, temples become museums, and the link between the two perspectives becomes dissolved.
  • Love is a friendship set to music.
  • Marriage is not a love affair. A love affair is a totally different thing. A marriage is a commitment to that which you are. That person is literally your other half. And you and the other are one. A love affair isn’t that. That is a relationship of pleasure, and when it gets to be unpleasurable, it’s off. But a marriage is a life commitment, and a life commitment means the prime concern of your life. If marriage is not the prime concern, you are not married.
  • The adventure of the hero is the adventure of being alive
  • A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.
  • Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy.
  • Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.
  • God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that.
  • I don't have to have faith, I have experience.
  • I think the person who takes a job in order to live - that is to say, for the money - has turned himself into a slave.
  • Is the system going to flatten you out and deny you your humanity, or are you going to be able to make use of the system to the attainment of human purposes?
  • Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning.
  • The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.
  • Myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths.
  • Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging.
  • When people get married because they think it's a long-time love affair, they'll be divorced very soon, because all love affairs end in disappointment. But marriage is a recognition of a spiritual identity.
  • When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.
  • Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again.

If the quotes did in fact wet your appetite, you can further explore his influence with the following PDFs They all open in the window below.

PDFs: [The Hero Cycle as seen in the Star Wars saga] [Jung, Christianity and Buddhism] [Existential perspective in the thought of Carl Jung] [Joseph Campbell's Monomyth (Hero With A Thousand Faces)] [Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth] [Interpretations] [The Heroic Journey] [The Question of Meaning] [Carl Jung from "Man and His Symbols" lecture notes]

Sources / More info: wiki-campbell, wiki-comp-myth, wiki-monomyth, wiki-hero, wiki-lost-generation, wiki-archetype, wiki-hero-1k, wiki-muller, campbell-quotes, yt-mit

You can't have a Campbell retrospective without his amazing "Hero" book:

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