review The Power of Myth 103

characters The Power of Myth

review The Power of Myth 103 ß 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 tIllions 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 eng. 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 uestion 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 listThis book is about popular myths from different cultures leading up to present day beliefs and practices It is much than 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 A format based on interviews of Bill Moyers with Joseph CampbellI 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 inspiringJoseph 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 blissA book which is expansive profound and inspiring at the same time engrossing – strongly recommended as a must read

review ☆ eBook or Kindle ePUB Ö Joseph Campbell

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 m. 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 uoting 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 tranuility 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 be of 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 uickly 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 sma

Joseph Campbell Ö 3 review

The Power of MythAging 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 wi. 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 and of 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 are or 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 uite the same way that they had to before We've developed medicine that give people time 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 uestion you don't know the answer to you give up and say Magic The saddest thing is that this book has far bad spiritualism than it does good history Hence my low rating Ultimately I think the myths of our past have to 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 no point 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 is historical 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