Power of Myth: Joseph Campbell: The Message of the Myth

Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers

a Winstar Fire Video

The Message of the Myth:

-Campbell says don’t be interested in things merely because they are said to be important, but get a proper introduction to them and you may find indeed that they are very important.

-myths can help give you the guide signs along the way so you don’t have to figure out everything for yourself.

-the life has to do with meaning. We can find that meaning out. What is the meaning of a flea? It’s just there. That’s it. Your own meaning also is that you are just there. There is a rapture associated with being alive.

-God is a reference to a thing that transcends all other things.

-everything in the field of time is dual: is and isn’t, dead and alive, male and female, good and evil, light and darkness. Things always come in pairs. Put your mind in the middle. Most of us put our minds on the good side, we must realize all realities.

-myths are true in different senses. Our religion is ethical, between right and wrong, for that is the world we live in, a world of opposites. God and man are different. God is eternal man is not. In the Garden of Eden Adam and Eve didn’t even know they were different from each other, mere creatures, then they learn there is more to it.

-in some religions in the near east as in the bible Christianity and Isalm, is that there is nature, and you are corrupt if you are acting in spontaneity, for nature is corrupt, and you must fight such, this brings us to an entirely different society. The bible shows God is not nature, he is something separate, something higher. Hinduism is a different place without the narrative of the Garden of Eden. They think natural impulses aren’t to be corrected but beautified.

-when you enter an Indian home you are a visiting diety and you feel that by the way they treat you.

-there is a standard motif of the one forbidden thing like the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. God knows man will eat that fruit, and with the eating of that fruit, man becomes the initiator of his own life, the person in charge of his venture.

-the African legend of the Unumbate is similar to the Genesis creation narrative

-the snake can represent the power of life to throw off death, like how the God can extend life, the snake cuts it short by getting the man to take the forbidden fruit etc.

-it’s a childish idea to think that life should not have been because of it’s pain, it’s essence and character. Some say that is the case.

-this is our little eternity here and now: this is our current eternity. If you don’t get it here and now, you’ll never get it. This is it. Our participation here in this life, in this world, is how we will participate in eternity.

-all life is sorrowful is the first reality of life is the first Budhist saying

-one must embrace life the way it is; history is a nightmare from which one must awake; don’t be frightened by it, but embrace how it is. Pain is part of therapy. But these things don’t entail that we do nothing for good; we must participate in the game, the wonderful opera (except for that it hurts). This is not a private fight, anyone can get into it. The hero is the one who can participate in it decently without rancor. We can get in the army, or whatever we see how to do good, we join in and do our part to make things better.

-mythology helps you see your life as a poem, and that you are participating in that poem.

-Campbell claims that Christ’s ascension is symbolic not real, that all seeming miracles are mere ideas not realities. He teaches heaven hell and all the gods are within us, as well as all the worlds. This is the Indian way of thinking, that they are magnified dreams, images and body being in conflict with each other. That myth is symbolic manifestation of the dreams of the body, and the desires of the several organs of the body including the brain. (*I believe in the assertion of Christ into a celestial astronomical sphere heaven)

-in the Thomas gospel Christ says who drinks from my mouth becomes as me; this has similarities to  the Budah consciousness.

-when a society loses it’s myths it succumbs to disease and destruction; when there is no fixed star, no known horizon, things decay. That is why preachers are begging for old time religion.

-if a person has no myth in his life, all he must do is read the newspaper. It’s it’s own idea.

-Campbell says it’s ridiculous to go back to the old time religion seeing as there are other human values in our world today (*I see this true on some levels, but absolutely false on others).

-is the machine, society, going to crush or help the humanity which is from the heart? Luke’s father Vadar had been playing the role of the executive, the system. And under the mask of Vadar is an undeveloped man, something of a worm.

-each kind of religion is like a computer software

-the infrastructure of a computer is like a heiarchy of angels working together to do something

-one Chinese legend has a god who sleeps and a lotus flower grows from out of his stomach, that his dream is the universe (*Like the Egyptian depiction of the lotus flower from growing out from under the throne of Osiris, or the analogy of it coming from the throne of Abraham as Joseph Smith teaches, and how Abraham, as a prophet of Jehovah, shows how that is what God is like, Abraham is a type of Jehovah, teaching the world what Jehovah is like.)

-each galaxy in outer space may be like a lotus growing from out of  a “Brahma”.

-speaks of a myth wherein the man is going to be a meditator for life, but finds out that it is better to go and have a family, and live, thus, in the present, the time that really matters.