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Joseph Campbell - The Power of Myth Joseph Campbell (1904-1987) has an outstanding place in the study of Comparative Mythology and, it could be said also easily, within the American Culture (although not hemmed in necessarily necessarily to t o the most important i mportant developments developments of that t hat rich Culture but also to another Cultures and Styles of Life).The other great Scholar devoted to Mythology and Comparative Study of Religions was Mircea Eliade (who qualified at the University of Chicago). Notwithstanding, Notwithstandin g, and without furthering this issue, Campbell was a free and independent writer and scholar more gifted than the encyclopedic encyclopedic and orthodox Eliade. His work is vast, covering many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarized by his phrase: "Follow your bliss." He always explained the human aura and what the person exhibits in his documentaries. Joseph believes that heaven and hell both are within us. Do you believe in anything? If you do believe in something, especially of a spiritual nature, what do you believe and do you know why? Many Jains might say ´Donating every part of your body after you die.µ In a departure from many Campbell says that just a metaphor. Some Christians would say ´I believe in the resurrection resurrection of the body and life everlasting.µ This confirms what Campbell told that heaven and hell are both with each of us as inner energy of the body. Campbell says, "We are all here to wake up to the Jesus within." Jesus said, ´Today you will be with me in paradise.µ Now that·s
something Campbell buys. We don·t have to wait until death to experience heaven and/or hell. Campbell points out that the "experience of eternity is here and now in the functions of life." Joseph Campbell and The power of myth is a long and extensive documentary with Bill Moyers. It is a two dvd boxset covering a series of interviews between the two regarding Campbell·s life work in world mythology and pop culture. . The series aired as six episodes on PBS in the spring of 1988 just a few months after Campbell·s death. The series begins with an in-depth examination of what myths are and the role they play in our individual journey to transcend humanity and re-associate ourselves with the power of nature, ´The Hero·s Adventure.µ Prodded by questions from Moyers (who has won more than 30 Emmys), Campbell talks about his years of research, what he has learned, and how listeners can effectively apply this knowledge in their own lives. Much of this segment deals with his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. His more than 40 years teaching experience make it easy for him to talk about complex metaphysical, psychological, spiritual, and religious terms in everyday language for the average listener while still addressing issues of importance to the serious student. Subsequent episodes address topics such as ´The Message of the Myth,µ ´Sacrifice and Bliss,µ and ´Masks of Eternity.µ Campbell is charming and has an easy-to-listen-to voice even with a very mild lisp which, as Chaucer said, ´makes his English sweet upon his tongue." Although his stories and information are often supplemented with stunning art work, video clips, and 1|Page
graphics, a casual viewer would find this series dry and one that is hard in which to maintain interest. Most of the visuals are of two men sitting talking. For those who persevere, an unexpected surprise is the benefit of self-examination. Whether you buy all of Joseph Campbell·s ideas, theories, and explanations, they will all challenge your status quo and offer ample opportunity to question yourself and where you are with these issues. Each disc offers several bonus features including a conversation with Campbell from Bill Moyers· Journal not previously aired, an interview with George Lucas, photo galleries, and profiles of Campbell·s influences. I can finally conclude the review by saying although I was not that interested to watch the movies. The documentary gave me many insights on the power the myths rule our universe and how we can·t control them and some case even overpower them.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces The previous review already has the brief description about Joseph Campbell. Coming with this documentary is on the most classical and well accepted book of Campbell ´ The Hero with a Thousand facesµ appeared originally in 1949 by Bollingen Foundation and published by Pantheon Books is now offered to us in its third edition by the Joseph Campbell Foundation and with revisions. . In point of fact, "The Hero with a Thousand
Faces" is a book now a documentary- I would prefer to say it is like a project of life and thought- of outstanding significance and essential reference not only to the Compared Religion and Mythology but also in order to understand the Time we live with its uniqueness, its greatness and default. This documentary is also a self-presentation of Joseph Campbell himself as a man who always searches the deepest interpretation of the Myths and of Mythology in its dappled and rich manifestations and influences in our Postmodern Culture and Society. The documentary, thanks to the intelligent care of the "Joseph Campbell Foundation", is well improved particularly in the Bibliography and the excellent new graphic stuff that is an excellent help to illustrate and to better understand the main thesis of Campbell: the Journey and the Transformations of the "Hero" through the Cultures and through the "Mythic Time". This Time is enlightened by the Myths and its possibility of Transformation, firstly of inner Transformation during the Infinite Travel and Search of the Myth, recognized not only as Truth and Unlimited Quest but also as Source of Human Creativity and Psychological Freedom .These are, in Campbell Research, not only mere Abstract Concepts but essential components of every aspect of the Human Status as such. In fact, one of the greatest legacies of Joseph Campbell is about the accept and experience of Mythology as a Value and a Reality that "touches" us in almost every aspect of the Human Voyage: from the philosophical, psychological and religious sides unto the fine arts, the modern artistic- sophisticated and trivialexpressions and, last but not least, our daily life with its search 3
of Meaning and Purpose. It is remarkable to observe that this view of Myth and Mythology is present, certainly with a nonidentical approach, in the Contemporary Philosophy In fact, "The Hero with Thousand Faces" is generally accepted as one of the most influential documentary in our Post-modern World searching, positively and/or negatively, Identity and a New Paradigm of Knowledge, Culture and Spirituality. Today, and after Derrida, perhaps it is not so odd to think that Campbell did a unsurpassed work of De-construction in order to take hold of the message of the Mythical Truths present in practically every breadth of the Human Existence. But this naive comparative must not lead us to forget that Campbell, inspired principally but not exclusively, by Jungian Psychology; search and re-search the basic and original content of the Myths and its Stories. His Language was directed to everyman and not firstly to an elite of initiated people in the secrets of a mysterious Language. Certainly, as Campbell himself recognizes, Psychoanalysis is his basic tool. "The Grammar of Symbols", as Campbell himself said applying a very happy turn of phrase that could be also one of the most fascinating clues to understand his masterful work; is based upon a very wide psychoanalytic background and a wonderful description/narration of the Myths, base of Comparative Study. The purpose of this Research, shown with a highly witty and open Style, is the "human mutual understanding". And we find out here, in my opinion, the reason of the broad acceptance of
Campbell's documentaries and at every level of people: Campbell answers to deep questions of each one of us. To watch this beautiful documentary- a true Classic - could be furthermore a personal journey to self-knowledge according to the archetypal prototype of the Figures inhabiting the pages of Campbell. This true Pattern could lead also to an "experience of the soul-satisfying vision of fulfilment" (189) without denying the road to the "experience of transcendental bliss" (id). It is important to remember here that central trends in Mental Health today speak a propos of comparable processes as authentic psychotherapeutic methods and not exclusively of Jungian provenance. "The Joseph Campbell Foundation" -- founded to "preserve, protect, and perpetuate Campbell's work" -- has indeed a very central mission because the Thought of Campbell is beyond doubt relevant. In some sense, we could emphasize that the people of our time- the Academic and the non-Academic Peoplecall for such Thought not only because his Style is full of clever Wisdom and Clearness but also because his Message merits to be deepened and meditated.