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Posts Tagged ‘Joseph Campbell’

Go where your body and soul want to go.  When you have the feeling, then stay with it and don’t let anyone throw you off.  That is following your bliss.
  —  Joseph Campbell
[Please forgive my French play on words…  I have sought (and occasionally found) a “temporal shift”, but I have never found, followed, or really sought bliss.  I am more of a “do your duty” person than I am a “follow your bliss” person, anyway.  I refer you to “The Para’s Prayer“.   —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2019 Live For Something
2018 My Dogs Beat ‘Em Up
Is Your Sky Falling?
2017 Unseen Here, Too
2016 Criticized Anyway
2015 Sometimes The Truth Hurts
2014 All Agreed, Say “Aye”
2013 Two Books, Two Movies
Just Because
2012 God’s Requirements
2011 Greater Purity

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If you realize what the real problem is — losing yourself, giving yourself to some higher end, or to another — you realize that this itself is the ultimate trial.  When we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-preservation, we undergo a truly heroic transformation of consciousness.
And what all the myths have to deal with is transformation of consciousness of one kind or another.  You have been thinking one way, you now have to think a different way.
  —  Joseph Campbell
From the book:  “The Power of Myth
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On This Day In:
2017 Vain Expectations
2016 Or Of One Thought
2015 What’s In Your Future?
2014 Light In Darkness
2013 How ‘Bout Just Obeying The Law?
2012 Or Maybe Not
2011 My Interval Is Too Short!

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The Power of Myth”  1988©
Today’s review is for “The Power of Myth“, which is a book based on interviews of Joseph Campbell by Bill Moyers that were the basis for the PBS television series of the same name and the same year.  The book was timed for concurrent release and follows the interview format with editing provided by Betty Sue Flowers.  In fact, the book chapters follow the episode breakdown of the series.
The interviews deal with the universality and evolution of myths in human history and how myths fit (or don’t fit) in the modern day social structure.  Campbell mixes personal experience with stories from many epochs, cultures and civilizations to offer up a thesis that modern society is moving from old mythologies and traditions unique to their times and locations to a new global (and possibly unified) mythology.
Campbell believes myths are the stories / legends / fables which make up their culture.  Campbell believes there are universal “truths” which mankind tries to describe using these myths and this explains why the myths are common around the globe.  To him a “myth” is a way of defining the rituals and oral histories we pass from parents to child.
Because the “myths” of any prior generation were limited by location and technologies of communication, Campbell believes we are in a transition period which is trying to integrate all of the “great” traditions (religions, beliefs and myths) of the past with the rapidly changing technologies of a modern life supported by increasing amounts of technology without concurrent social and moral reinforcement.
Basically, modern culture specifically lacks a social structure to transition males from childhood to adulthood – the traditional “rites of passage”.  Campbell feels this problem is significantly less for females because their rite of passage to adulthood is observationally physical.  On this point, I disagree with Campbell as I don’t believe the completion of puberty is the actual rite of passage from childhood to adulthood except in the most biologically literal sense for males or females.
I found the book fascinating but difficult to read. I find it curious that myths (creation, death, heaven, hell, reincarnation, resurrection and ascension) are common across epochs and continents. I am less convinced that all individuals seek to be “heroes” and to find their “bliss”.  It is my observation that the vast majority of folks (male and female) just want to get on with life and enjoy it (life) and their families with as little hassle as possible.
Final recommendation: highly recommended.  I feel the book is very deep and full of insight – both in word and ideas.  I will be including quotes from it periodically.  My own copy is now high-lighted through large passages of the book. (LOL)
One final note: this book took me almost two years to read, even though, at barely 230 pages, it’s not very long.  This is because it is (was) intellectually challenging (to me) and I felt the need to pause periodically.  The result was start, stop, weeks pass, start, stop, etc.  In the end, I moved on to other books and then (after 90+ pages), when I finally got back to it, I felt I’d lost the train of discussion and started over from the intro.  So, reader be warned…  Well worth your time, but you’ll need to be better disciplined than I am.
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On This Day In:
2017 Happy Meeting Day 33 (And Counting)
2016 Picture Perfect
2015 Life Showed Compassion
2014 And Then I Met Her
2013 Defining Maleness
The Run Continues
2012 All Set
2011 Not Always

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You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you.  This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.  This is a place of creative incubation.  At first you may find that nothing happens there.  But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.
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For them [the Plains Indians] the whole world was a sacred place.  But our life has become so economic and practical in its orientation that, as you get older, the claims of the moment upon you are so great, you hardly know where the hell you are, or what it is you intended.  You are always doing something that is required of you.  Where is your bliss station?  You have to try to find it.  Get a phonograph and put on the music that you really love, even if it’s corny music that nobody else respects.  Or get the book you like to read.  In your sacred place you get the “thou” feeling of life that these people had for the whole world in which they lived.
   —  Joseph Campbell
From the book:  “The Power Of Myth” (with Bill Moyers)
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On This Day In:
2017 Pretending
2016 And Songs Too…
2015 On The Road To Failure
2014 Each Moment
2013 Conversation
2012 4 Down, 11 Done (At Last)
I’m Not Afraid
2011 Who’s Risk Is It, Anyway?

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The Bible is a wonderful source of inspiration for those who don’t understand it.
   —  George Santayana
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.
   —   Joseph Campbell
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On This Day In:
2014 Love Light
Orange October (III) – Giants Advance To National League Championship Series (NLCS)
2013 Nothing Ridiculous
2012 Keeping Faith
2011 Summon Us, Don’t Criticize Us
2010 Obama’s Wars – Book Review
Game Two – Hearbreaking Loss

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Myths and dreams come from the same place.  They come from realizations of some kind that have then to find expression in symbolic form.  And the only myth that is going to be worth thinking about in the immediate future is one that is talking about the planet, not the city not these people, but the planet, and everybody on it.  That’s my main thought for what the future myth is going to be.
  —  Joseph Campbell
From: “The Power Of Myth
Written by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers
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On This Day In:
2014 Hands
2013 Because You Have Lived
2012 47%
2011 Conservative Values: Low And Lax
2010 A Non-Zero Sum Game
What If “c” Isn’t A Constant?
2009 Pictures from UCLA trip…

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…Technology is not going to save us.  Our computers, our tools, out machines are not enough.  We have to rely on our intuition, our true being.
  —  Joseph Campbell
From Bill Moyers’ “Introduction” to their book: “The Power Of Myth
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On This Day In:
2014 Are You Even Listening?
2013 Namaste
2012 Looking Up
2011 Et Tu Brute?

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[Two quotes and a poem for Memorial Day 2015.  Please say a prayer of thanks for the sacrifice of those we’ve lost and for their families.  One side note:  the poem was found on one of the blogs I follow and is presented as it appeared there.  In researching the poem, I found there are multiple versions and an “original”.  As a matter of curiosity and for comparison, I am also presenting that version.   —  KMAB]
A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.
  —  Joseph Campbell
American Writer/Lecturer
Let us never forget the heroes who saw beyond themselves and the families they left behind to pledge and deliver all they had to uphold the liberties we all cherish.
  —   Carolyn W. Colvin
Acting Commissioner
Social Security Administration
A Thousand Winds
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft star-shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
Written by: Mary Elizabeth Frye
[This (above) was the version used by the newspapers for Mrs. Frye’s obituary. — KMAB]
[Found at: http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/
The specific blog post is at: http://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/tribute-2/ ]
[Original version:
A Thousand Winds
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there, I do not sleep
I am in a thousand winds that blow
I am the softly falling snow
I am the gentle showers of rain
I am the fields of ripening grain
I am in the morning hush
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight
I am the starshine of the night
I am in the flowers that bloom
I am in a quiet room
I am the birds that sing
I am in each lovely thing
Do not stand at my grave and cry
I am not there I do not die
Written by: Mary Elizabeth Frye
End of “original” version]
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On This Day In:
2014 I Resemble That Remark
2013 Long Range Exploration
2012 UBI
2011 Opportunity

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Last night I completed watching the science-fiction, war series: “Space: Above and Beyond“.  The series ran for one year back in the mid-1990’s.  The basic storyline is that some outer-space Earth colonies are attacked by an alien race and so Earth is thrown into an intragalactic war.  There are five young folks who join the U.S. Marines for various reasons and they are the focus of the series.  They become Marine Corps pilots, but throughout the series, they seem to spend as much time fighting on the ground as they actually do in space.  The pilots become the 58th Squadron and are nicknamed: “The Wildcards”.
In addition to the principle story line of the war and the sub-arcs for each of the five pilots, there is a sixth principle character (their squadron commander) and multiple sub-arcs which include racial prejudice and subjugation, corporate malfeasance, and a prior war between humanity and a race of artificial intelligent androids/robots.
When I say I “completed” watching the series, that’s a bit of a mis-statement.  The series is available on Youtube.com, but three of the twenty-four episodes are missing.  The series is actually listed as having twenty-three episodes because the “pilot” is a two-part combined episode.  As it stands, watching the available episodes are more than sufficient to give you the flavor of the series.
I am a bit of a history buff and military history in particular.  I like this and the fictionalization of it in all formats – books, movies, songs, poetry, TV series, whatever…  This series is right in my wheelhouse / comfort zone!
About one quarter of the episodes are based on some historical occurrence, fictionalized and then referenced back to the history.  This is one of the classic ways civilizations use their “current” media to create / promote the heroes / legends of their past.  So as someone with a degree in Political Science, I find it is interesting to see a TV series do this “myth-making” for current generations.  I’m sure somewhere (in Heaven) Joseph Campbell is smiling.
One of the interesting sub-arcs is the proposition that a corporation has placed a colony on two planets they “knew” belonged to the alien species.  The colonies are owned by the corporation, but lightly defended by national troops – in one case, by the U.S. Marines.  When attacked (and slaughtered), the corporation demands the Earth go to war in retaliation for the “unprovoked” attack on their employees / “civilians”.
Another interesting idea from the main arc is the aliens make a point of mutilating our dead.  Earthlings, of course, assume this is an act of barbarism by a dark-hearted enemy.  In fact, we come to discover the aliens have no concept of an afterlife and “discover” this concept only by monitoring our electronic transmissions.  They don’t know how we manage to “rise from the dead”, but they are positive we believe we can.  So their act of mutilating the dead is actually just an attempt to ensure our soldiers don’t rise to fight again.
The series fell victim to time-slot shuffling and poor ratings and was cancelled late in the first season.  However, because the show was allowed to complete the season, the writers were able to come up with a terrific last episode with explanations (leading to more questions) and cliff-hangers galore.
While some of the acting is poor (particularly in the early episodes), the actual battlefield tactics are amateurish (if not suicidal), and the special effects are dated by today’s standards, the series remains very viewable and I highly recommend it.  I’ve read on the internet that the show is frequently re-run on the Sci-Fi channel and I will be keeping my eyes out for it so I can catch the three episodes I’ve missed.
Ooo-rah!  Semper Fi!!
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On This Day In:
2014 Winning?
2013 Still Inventing
2012 Motivated
2011 Waiting In Line At Starbuck’s

 

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Nietzsche was the one who did the job for me.  At a certain moment in his life, the idea came to him of what he called ‘the love of your fate.’  Whatever your fate is, whatever the hell happens, you say, ‘This is what I need.’  It may look like a wreck, but go at it as though it were an opportunity, a challenge.  If you bring love to that moment — not discouragement — you will find the strength is there.  Any disaster that you can survive is an improvement in your character, your stature, and your life.  What a privilege!  This is when the spontaneity of your own nature will have a chance to flow.
Then, when looking back at your life, you will see that the moments which seemed to be great failures followed by wreckage were the incidents that shaped the life you have now.  You’ll see that this is really true.  Nothing can happen to you that is not positive.  Even though it looks and feels at the moment like a negative crisis, it is not.  The crisis throws you back, and when you are required to exhibit strength, it comes.
  —    Joseph Campbell
From: “A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living
[This reminds me of another quote: “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.”
 ―   Suzanne Weyn
From: “Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
Rising up, again.  That is the difference between acceptance of fate and hope in the future…   —    KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2012 Beyond Reasonable Doubt
2011 Celebrating Values
2010 Is it just me, or is it suddenly dark around here?
Dance!

 

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You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, when you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you.  This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.  This is the place of creative incubation.  At first, you may find that nothing happens there.  But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.
  —  Joseph Campbell
[Is anybody else flashing back to “In My Room“, by the Beach Boys?  —  KMAB]
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