The Power of Myth Prime – Albawater.co

The Power of Myth explores so muchthan myth It delves into the essence of life itself.Joseph Campbell was mythologist, professor, writer, lecturer, historianhe was so much His wealth of knowledge on faith, philosophy and humanity was astounding He has left us, but he has left behind a body of work, a legacy of compassion and understanding for us and future generations Thanks to this interview, conducted by journalist Bill Moyers, we have an encapsulated version of his teachings from The Power of Myth explores so muchthan myth It delves into the essence of life itself.Joseph Campbell was mythologist, professor, writer, lecturer, historianhe was so much His wealth of knowledge on faith, philosophy and humanity was astounding He has left us, but he has left behind a body of work, a legacy of compassion and understanding for us and future generations Thanks to this interview, conducted by journalist Bill Moyers, we have an encapsulated version of his teachings from Campbell s own mouth The interview was and has been broadcast on PBS stations since the late 80s and includes some nice visuals, however, it s not necessary to view This audiobook suffices.You get some of what you d expect from a title such as The Power of Myth Heroes and legends from traditional sources such as the epic Greek poems and Norse gods origin stories from Native America and Africa But you also get Star Wars The interview having been conducted at George Lucas Skywalker Ranch, some of the discussion spoke on the use of mythical archetypes, which became intrinsic to the success of the movie s popularity After all, where would Luke be without the Force, and what is the Force but faith Yes, religion goes hand in hand with mythology In many, or most, cases it is one and the same Campbell s take on religion is refreshing Hearing him speak on the various kinds of world religions, their differences and evenso their similarities, is enlightening When I first saw The Power of Myth on tv, I was only interested in the Star Wars material and thefantastical elements of mythology, the bits about the gods and monsters Today, while listening to the discussion, I m most interested in the aspects of the birth, life and death cycle and of faith Not that I m anyreligious than the atheist teen I once was, but these are the everyman topics It is the human experience that most enthralls me now Luckily for young me and middle aged me and probably old me , there s a little something in The Power of Myth for all In my daily life, I talk about suffering a lot I have had trouble accepting the fact that terrible things happen to people everyday, that the voiceless, the weak have to undergo great cruelty everywhere Campbell says, for our sake we have to affirm the brutality, the thoughtlessness of our surroundings too By doing so, we affirm our world and the experience of eternity here.I once mentioned to an older friend, if our world were to be a circle and we the dots to complete it, then our existence In my daily life, I talk about suffering a lot I have had trouble accepting the fact that terrible things happen to people everyday, that the voiceless, the weak have to undergo great cruelty everywhere Campbell says, for our sake we have to affirm the brutality, the thoughtlessness of our surroundings too By doing so, we affirm our world and the experience of eternity here.I once mentioned to an older friend, if our world were to be a circle and we the dots to complete it, then our existence must be of utmost importance The circle would remain incomplete without only one of us I understand now that I was very naive Anyone can be easily replaced But the idea that I carry the stories of my ancestors, that my behavior is very much influenced by their way of life and that my manners, habits, doings are to an extent what they passed down, makes me less alone and recognize this life to beprofound that I imagined Campbell likens us toOne little microbit in that great magnitudeAnd he talks aboutfollowing one s blissa lot.A few days ago, a distant relative of mine almost convinced me to study a certain subject of apparently great market value She talked about future a lot And about money So, I was considering her words and harboring doubts about myself, about my decisions until I read this book.Who would I be if I don t follow my bliss If I don t hang on to what I love I would be anything but myself and that s a kind of death too.Campbell says, we are partaking in something greater than us, than we can even grasp That makes our experience here very humbling.I didn t fully understand him though I should have read his earlier works first in order to understand his jargon I guess, I ll read this book again in a year Campbell s works resonate to this day His insights greatly help explain our current culture Reading this book was truly an enlightening experience for me I have bought this wonderful machine a computer Now I am rather an authority on gods, so I identified the machine it seems to me to be an Old Testament god with a lot of rules and no mercy Joseph Campbell s Hero with a Thousand Faces is a book that, for better or worse, will forever change how you see the world Once you read his analysis of the monomyth, the basic outline of mythological stories, you find it everywhere It s maddening sometimes Now I can t watch certain movies without ana I have bought this wonderful machine a computer Now I am rather an authority on gods, so I identified the machine it seems to me to be an Old Testament god with a lot of rules and no mercy Joseph Campbell s Hero with a Thousand Faces is a book that, for better or worse, will forever change how you see the world Once you read his analysis of the monomyth, the basic outline of mythological stories, you find it everywhere It s maddening sometimes Now I can t watch certain movies without analyzing them in terms of Campbell s outline But that book had another lasting effect on me Campbell showed that these old myths and stories, even if you don t believe them literally indeed, he encourages you not to still hold value for us In our sophisticated, secular society, we can still learn from these ancient tales of love, adventure, magic, monsters, heroes, death, rebirth, and transcendence This book is a transcription of conversations between Campbell and Bill Moyers, made for a popular TV series It isn t exactly identical with the series, but there s a lot of overlap Moyers is interested in Campbell for seemingly the same reason I am to find a value for myths and religion without the need for dogmatism or provinciality The book is mainly focused on Campbell s philosophy of life, but many subjects are touched upon in these conversations Campbell was, in his own words, a generalist, so you will find passages in here that will annoy nearly anybody A good definition of a generalist is somebody who can irritate specialists in many different fields Personally, I find Campbell most irritating when he talks about how bad the world is nowadays since people don t have enough myths to live by It seems obvious to me that the contemporary world,secular than ever before, is also better off than ever before Trump notwithstanding Campbell sometimes shows himself to be a sloppy scholar, such as his quoting of a letter by Chief Seattle, now widely believed to be fake And I certainly don t agree with his adoption of Jung s psychology, which is hardly scientific Indeed, to reduce old myths to Jung s psychological system is merely to translate one myth into another Perhaps Jung s myth is easier to identify with nowadays, but I reject any claim of scientific accuracy In sum, there is much to criticize in Campbell s scholarly and academic approach Yet his general message that myths and religions can be made valuable even for contemporary nonbelievers has a special relevance for me I grew up in an entirely nonreligious household, and I m thankful for that Nevertheless, I sometimes wonder whether I have missed out on something precious Religious is as near to a human universal as you are likely to find, and I have no experience with it Often I find myself reading religious books, exploring spiritual practices, and hanging around cathedrals Although many beliefs and practices repel me, some I find beautiful, and I am fitfully filled with envy at the tranquility and fortitude that some practitioners seem to derive from their faith Campbell has been most valuable to me in his ability interpret religions metaphorically, and his insistence that they still have value Reading Campbell helped me to clarify many of the things I have been thinking and wondering about lately, so I can t help mixing up my own reflections with Campbell s Indeed, there might beof my opinions in this review than Campbell, but here it goes One of the main lessons that art, philosophy, and religion teach us is that society imposes upon us superficial values Wealth, attractiveness, sex, coolness, success, respectability these are the values of society And it s no wonder The economy doesn t function well unless we strive to accumulate wealth competition for mates creates a need for standards of beauty cultural, political, and economic power is distributed hierarchically, and there are rules of behavior to differentiate the haves from the have nots In short, in a complex society these values are necessary or at any rate inevitable But of course, these are the values of the game the competition for mates, success, power, and wealth In other words, they are values that differentiate how well you re doing from your neighbor In this way they are superficial measuring you extrinsically rather than intrinsically One of the functions of art, philosophy, and religion, as I see it, is to remind us of this, and to direct our attention to intrinsic values Love, friendship, compassion, beauty, goodness, wisdom these are valuable in themselves, and give meaning and happiness to an individual life How many great stories pit one of these personal values against one of the social values Love against respectability, friendship against coolness, wisdom against wealth, compassion against success In comedy stories with happy endings the intrinsic value is harmonized with the social value Consider Jane Austen s novels In the end, genuine love is shown to be compatible with social respectability But this is often not true, as tragedy points out In tragedy, the social value wins against the personal value The petty feud between the Capulets and the Montagues prevents Romeo and Juliet from being together Respectability wins over love But the victory is hollow, since this respectability brings its adherents nothing but pain and conflict Art thus dramatizes this conflict to show us what is really valuable from what is only apparently so Philosophy does this not through drama, but reason I m not claiming this is all either art or philosophy does Religion does it through ritual This, I think, is the advantage of religion it is periodical, it is tied to your routine, and it involves the body and not just the mind Every week and every day you go through a procedure to remind yourself of what is really worthwhile But these things can fail, and often do Art and philosophy can become academic, stereotyped, or commercial And religion can become just another social value, used to cloak earthly power in superficial sanctity As Campbell points out during these interviews, religion must change as society changes, or it will lose its efficacy To use Campbell s terminology, the social function of myth can entirely replace its pedagogical function In such cases, the myths and rituals only serve to strengthen the group identity, to better integrate individuals into the society When this is taken too far as Campbell believes it has nowadays then the social virtues are taught at the expense of the individual virtues, and the religion just becomes another worldly power Myths can become ineffective, not only due to society co opting their power, but also because myths have a cosmological role that can quickly become outdated This is where religion comes into conflict with science As Campbell explains, one of the purposes of myths is to help us find our place in the universe and understand our relationship to the world around us If the religion is based on an outdated picture of the world, it can t do that effectively, since then it forces people to choose between connecting with contemporary thought or adhering to the faith For my part, I think the conflict between science and religion is ultimately sterile, since it is a conflict about beliefs, and beliefs are not fundamental to either When I enter a cathedral, for example, I don t see an educational facility designed to teach people facts Rather, I see a place carefully constructed to create a certain psychological experience the shadowy interior, the shining golden altars, the benevolent faces of the saints, the colored light from the stained glass windows, the smell of incense, the howl of the organ, the echo of the priest s voice in the cavernous interior, the sense of smallness engendered by the towering roof There are beliefs about reality involved in the experience, but the experience is not reducible to those beliefs rather, the beliefs form a kind of scaffolding or context to experience the divine presence Science, too, is not a system of beliefs, but a procedure for investigating the world Theories are overturned all the time in science The most respected scientists have been proven wrong Scientific orthodoxy today might be outmoded tomorrow Consequently, when scientists argue with religious people about their beliefs, I think they re both missing the point So far we have covered Campbell s social, pedagogical, and cosmological functions of myths This leaves only his spiritual function connecting us to the mystery of the world This is strongly connected with mysticism By mysticism, I mean the belief that there is a higher reality behind the visual world that there is an invisible, timeless, eternal plain that supports the field of time and action that all apparent differences are only superficial, and that fundamentally everything is one Plotinus is one of the most famous mystics in Western history, and his system exemplifies this the principal of existence, for him, is The One, which is only his name for the unknowable mystery that transcends all categories Now, from a rational perspective all this is hard to swallow And yet, I think there is a very simple thought buried underneath all this verbiage Mysticism is just the experience of the mystery of existence, the mystery there is something instead of nothing Science can explain how things work, but does not explain why these things are here in the first place Stephen Hawking expressed this most memorably when he said Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes universe for them to describe It is arguably not a rational question maybe not even a real question at all to ask Why is there something rather than nothing In any case, it is unanswerable But I still often find myself filled with wonder that I exist, that I can see and hear things, that I have an identity, and that I am a part of this whole universe, so exquisite and vast Certain things reliably connect me with this feeling reading Hamlet, looking up at the starry sky, and standing in the Toledo Cathedral Because it is not rational, I cannot adequately put it into words or analyze it and yet I think the experience of mystery and awe is one of the most important things in life Since it is just a feeling, there is nothing inherently rational or anti rational in it I ve heard scientists, mystics, and philosophers describe it Yes, they describe it in different terms, using different concepts, and give it different meaning, but all that is incidental The feeling of wonder is the thing, the perpetual surprise that we exist at all Campbell helps me to connect with and understand that, and for that reason I am grateful to him The Power of Myth Joseph Campbell and Power of Myth , Joseph Campbell, Bill MoyersThe Power Of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people To him, mythology was the song of the universe, the music of the spheres With Bill Moyers, one of America s most prominent journalists, as his thoughtful and engaging interviewer, The Power Of Myth touches on subject The Power of Myth Joseph Campbell and Power of Myth , Joseph Campbell, Bill MoyersThe Power Of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people To him, mythology was the song of the universe, the music of the spheres With Bill Moyers, one of America s most prominent journalists, as his thoughtful and engaging interviewer, The Power Of Myth touches on subjects from modern marriage to virgin births, from Jesus to John Lennon, offering a brilliant combination of intelligence and wit 1999 1377 344 9643053466 1380 1384 1388 1389 9789643053468 1393 20 Joseph Campbell is seriously incredible Read this, listen to the PBS audio tapes, read anything he writes he s just brilliant, erudite, illuminating, fascinating, lovable, enlightening he reveals things articulately that you always sensed in the shadowy regions of your instinct, and having them so clearly identified has a revelatory and refreshing effect It makes you pensive and hopeful It makes you feel good about being human, part of this thing we do called life I don t know, I think Joseph Campbell is seriously incredible Read this, listen to the PBS audio tapes, read anything he writes he s just brilliant, erudite, illuminating, fascinating, lovable, enlightening he reveals things articulately that you always sensed in the shadowy regions of your instinct, and having them so clearly identified has a revelatory and refreshing effect It makes you pensive and hopeful It makes you feel good about being human, part of this thing we do called life I don t know, I think everyone should give him a try If anything, he s at least incredibly interesting If you were to read only one book in your lifetime, what book would you want that to be Well, that is certainly an unfair question since it is difficult to make that choice However, if I was given the option of choosing only 20 books to read in my lifetime, The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell would certainly be on that list.This book is about popular myths from different cultures leading up to present day beliefs and practices It is muchthan that as well it is about life, purpose a If you were to read only one book in your lifetime, what book would you want that to be Well, that is certainly an unfair question since it is difficult to make that choice However, if I was given the option of choosing only 20 books to read in my lifetime, The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell would certainly be on that list.This book is about popular myths from different cultures leading up to present day beliefs and practices It is muchthan that as well it is about life, purpose and what we can be if we can learn lessons from myths and the universe The book is in a QA format based on interviews of Bill Moyers with Joseph Campbell.I read Joseph Campbell s A hero with a thousand faces a few years back I found it a difficult and hence a slow read with its references to various cultures and legends The scholarly nature and importance of the work was evident though and since then I have read several passages of his work, which have always been insightful and inspiring.Joseph Campbell very easily picks stories from several cultures of the world and how they share common patterns He is respectful, at the same time gently advising on the kind of lessons one must draw Rather than being literal with myths we need to understand them as metaphors to deeper truth and lessons He describes how many rituals evolved as a way to reinforce outlook to life A large part of that is now lost and people tend to live at the surface missing the depth of the metaphors The examples are all excellent For instance viewing marriage from the perspective of myth makes you view it in a healthy longer term perspective rather than as a love affair which is always temporary and will end There are interesting discussions on divinity, femininity, rituals, practices, non duality There are insightful passages on how many of the myths encourage you to look inward to find yourself, and follow your bliss.A book which is expansive, profound and inspiring, at the same time engrossing strongly recommended as a must read The Power Of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people To him, mythology was the song of the universe, the music of the spheres With Bill Moyers, one of America s most prominent journalists, as his thoughtful and engaging interviewer, The Power Of Myth touches on subjects from modern marriage to virgin births, from Jesus to John Lennon, offering a brilliant combination of intelligence and wit This is my first first person experience with Campbell And I find it an incredibly frustrating book There are parts that are wonderful when Campbell takes a few moments to tell some of the myths that have been floating around for years Or when he compares the motifs in multiple myths from different cultures in different parts of the world Campbell was clearly a master story teller, and even in just a couple of sentences, he really makes these ancient stories come alive Similarly, the compa This is my first first person experience with Campbell And I find it an incredibly frustrating book There are parts that are wonderful when Campbell takes a few moments to tell some of the myths that have been floating around for years Or when he compares the motifs in multiple myths from different cultures in different parts of the world Campbell was clearly a master story teller, and even in just a couple of sentences, he really makes these ancient stories come alive Similarly, the comparisons really help draw me in to the idea of a single world wide culture of humanity As a sci fi fan, this is hardly a foreign idea but a shared mythology really drives home the point that all human beings share some really fundamental experiences Where Campbell starts to lose me is when he insists that these shared experiences birth, adolescence, death, the physical act of eating something that used to be alive, etc are indicative of some Mystery that underwrites the universe Here he becomes less historian or anthropologist andof a mystic By using the word transcendence a lot, he seems to think that it doesn t matter that there s no evidence or reason to think that this Mystery is real and not merely a by product of our own brains firing in a pattern fixed by millions of years of evolution As a rationalist or realist or materialist or skeptic or whatever label you find on me, I find this sort of spiritualism pointless and silly Beyond that, I think that focusing on this fanciful mystery so heavily can really lead to serious problems with living At one point, Campbell says something to the effect of But you can t try to make life better This is all there is You have to learn to accept it But that s absurdly untrue Thanks to people who refused to learn to accept it, we ve built democracies that areor less egalitarian and thousands of times better for the average citizen than the brutal civilizations that gave us some of these myths Thanks to people who refused to learn to accept life, we ve developed communications technologies that allow mothers to not have to give up their children to distance in quite the same way that they had to before We ve developed medicine that give peopletime than ever with their loved ones including Campbell himself who was in his eighties when this conversation took place And, it s entirely possible that we ll defeat death one day Not in the mythical way that Campbell celebrates death leading to rebirth of a new generation But actually making it so that death just doesn t happen any at least, not death of old age that s the first goal and it seems perfectly attainable in the next couple of centuries Think of that And none of this could ever happen if people took Campbell s advice of taking nature as it is as the the only good way of the world This approach made perfect sense to tribal hunter gathers a thousand year s ago I think it s possible that, as a species, we ve moved past that just a little While nature is red in tooth and claw, maybe we can do a little better than that Campbell also commits one of my major pet peeves At one point, he says something to the effect of scientists don t know what a particle is Is it a wave Is it a thing They don t know From this, he concludes that there must be a magic energy field in the universe which gives everything life Or something It s transcendent so he doesn t feel that he has to be specific This perversion of science really annoys me Aside from getting the particle physics wrong it s not that we don t know It s that the duality is actually what s going on Or something I m also not a physicist so I won t pretend to have a real understanding of any of this , he also really fails to understand the point of science Scientists and, through them, our entire civilization are trying to understand the innermost workings of the universe You can never do that if, when you find a question you don t know the answer to, you give up and say Magic The saddest thing is that this book has farbad spiritualism than it does good history Hence my low rating Ultimately, I think the myths of our past haveto teach us about who we were and we are Campbell thinks they also teach us what we should be I find that notion to be abhorrent we can be so much better than we are or were and if we re going to settle for that, then we may as well give up There s nopoint to us Since the book is so much of this, I can t love it or even like it Fortunately, there s enough in here that I do like in bits and pieces , that I m still looking forward to reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces I understand that this ishistorical and factual Also, Campbell wrote it when he was much younger So I m hoping that the religious and spiritual life he made developed later in life won t pervade it so much I suppose I ll just have to find out There is something very fishy about our existence We are unaware of it most of the time, but it tickles us all from time to time.Suddenly we realize we are , we actually exist That s a weird thing One day we open our eyes, and there s a world outside.These things trouble me Since when do I exist How come I wasn t here, then I suddenly came out of nowhere How s it possible that something as concrete as I actually came out of nowhere And exactly at what time did I come into being At my There is something very fishy about our existence We are unaware of it most of the time, but it tickles us all from time to time.Suddenly we realize we are , we actually exist That s a weird thing One day we open our eyes, and there s a world outside.These things trouble me Since when do I exist How come I wasn t here, then I suddenly came out of nowhere How s it possible that something as concrete as I actually came out of nowhere And exactly at what time did I come into being At my mother s womb, or after I ve seen the first sunlight on this planet If I started at my mother s womb, exactly at what time in my mother s womb One week, one month, or 6 months And when would I really cease to exist I read that all the organs do not die at the same time Are birth and death as real as they seem, or just mere illusions Neuroscientists tell us there s really nothing concrete within us that can be recognized as I , all things are in constant flux, nothing stays the same for long What we experience as the continuous self is actually an illusion If there s no I inside me, who was born and who would die Maybe nobody.Sometimes I wonder, What if I actually existed all the time, and will continue to exist There s a glass of water on the table and I touch it It actually exists How come a thing can exist in itself I feel an eerie tingling sensation in my lower spine From where does these weird feelings really come Where does thoughts come from I don t choose my thoughts I don t know what I would think one minute from now It s all very weird We try to build some logical explanation to cover up the freakish nature of reality, but it s not much of help By scientific methodology, we know that everything is energy in one form or another, but we do not know what this weird thing energy really is We see electron behaving as both particle and wave, which defies common sense Nature shows us common sense doesn t work everywhere We know the universe has come into being through some cosmic incident known as Big Bang, but we don t know why it had to be Science help us to familiarize and to make sense of the world to a certain extent, but in the end science just exposes us the naked mystery itself Black Holes Quantum fluctuation Entanglement.And scientists doesn t know what consciousness really is, some say it is unknowable We know there sto the world than our eyes and our rational thoughts meet We can feel it.There s where myths come.Myths are not science Myths are not facts Myths are not mere cuck and bull story stories Myths are poetry Like poetry, myths doesn t have a linear, literal meaning It stands for something beyond itself, beyond the words and images Myths are a gateway to the transcendental realm where thoughts cannot reach.When myths are taken as too concrete and literal, it loses its original essence It becomes religion Joseph Campbell shows us the multi dimensionality and the depth of myths and mythological symbols Today we live in a world where we are totally accustomed to literal and linear thinking, we have forgotten how to think with symbols and imagery We live in an alienated world Campbell is nowimportant than ever We need to hear what the myths are telling us Re read this one after several years, and it was evenpowerful this time I think the time and the age between helped in my understanding and comprehension Very accessible text, and I am sure I will revisit this one again someday maybe I can finally watch the PBS special too.