Category: Joseph Campbell

What’s the whatWhat’s the what

“Concepts are functions of the mind, i.e., of individual minds. They may be derived from and signify perceptions of things in the field of space and time; or they may derive from and signify acts of the mind, the minds of thinking individuals; but in no case can they signify entities other than those in the mind or those perceived. The concept ‘dog,’ for example, is in the mind and signifies certain perceptions of creatures of a certain alikeness outside. It cannot be assumed to signify some metaphysical quidditas, whatness, or general substance dog, as an idea in a ‘divine’ mind somewhere else, of which all the living and dead individuals classified by analogy as ‘dog’ are representations.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

Or you can muddle through without a clueOr you can muddle through without a clue

“Great biographers and novelists have always recognized that, in the lives of people growing up, initiations transpire through the revelations of chance, according to the readiness of the psyche. Beneath the accidental surface effects of this world stir—as of yore—the gods. Their ageless order of the archetypes of myth, ‘the grave and constant in human sufferings,’ can be discerned through all time and tide. The entire course of a lifetime is thus a rite of initiation and can be experienced as such.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

So get over it alreadySo get over it already

“Protestant versions of the Christian faith tend to lean more heavily than the Catholic on the family-cult theology of the Old Testament, which when seriously considered as an appropriate base for a proper world religion is constitutionally ineligible, since it is finally but the overinterpreted parochial history and manufactured genealogy of a single sub-race of a southwest Asian Semitic strain, late to appear and, though of great and noble influence, by no means what its own version of the history of the human race sets it up to be.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

Spatiotemporal extensions in the sea of beingSpatiotemporal extensions in the sea of being

“Since every sight, sound, smell, taste, and tactile impression necessarily comes to us from some part of space and endures for some period of time, space and time, consequently, are the ineluctable preconditions of all outward experience whatsoever: we have our being in their ambience, as fish in water, and what any state of being independent of time and space might be, we neither know nor can imagine. Nor can we hope to learn from reason; for all thinking is ineluctably conditioned by the laws of grammar and logic. Thus all forms beheld in the outer world and all thoughts entertained about them are removed by the conditions of perception and cogitation from whatever the prime state—or non-state—might be of any Being-in-itself.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

Your money is no good hereYour money is no good here

“Civilization, seriously regarded, cannot be described in economic terms. In their peak periods civilizations are mythologically inspired, like youth. Early arts are not, like late, the mere secondary concerns of a people devoted first to economics, politics, comfort, and then, in their leisure time, to aesthetic enjoyment. On the contrary, economics, politics, and even war (crusade) are, in such periods, but functions of a motivating dream of which the arts too are an irrepressible expression. The formative force of a traditional civilization is a kind of compulsion neurosis shared by all members of the implicated domain, and the leading practical function of religious (i.e. mythological) education, therefore, is to infect the young with the madness of their elders—or, in sociological terms, to communicate to its individuals the ‘system of sentiments’ on which the group depends for survival as a unit.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology (emphasis in original)

Getting thereGetting there

“In the recent past it may have been possible for intelligent men of good will honestly to believe that their own society (whatever it happened to be) was the only good, that beyond its bounds were the enemies of God, and that they were called upon, consequently, to project the principle of hatred outward on the world, while cultivating love within, toward those whose ‘system of sentiments’ was of God. Today, however, there is no such outward. Enclaves of national, racial, religious, and class provincialism persist, but the physical facts have made closed horizons illusory. The old god is dead, with his little world and his little, closed society. The new focal center of belief and trust is mankind. And if the principle of love cannot be wakened actually within each—as it was mythologically in God—to master the principle of hate, the Waste Land alone can be our destiny and the masters of the world its fiends.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

We make ’em up as we go alongWe make ’em up as we go along

“The older mythic orders gave authority to their symbols by attributing them to gods, to culture heroes, or to some such high impersonal force as the order of the universe; and the image of society itself, thus linked to the greater image of nature, became a vessel of religious awe. Today we know, for the most part, that our laws are not from God or from the universe, but from ourselves; are conventional, not absolute; and that in breaking them we offend not God but man. Neither animals nor plants, not the zodiac or its supposed maker, but our fellows have now become the masters of our fate and we of theirs.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

Some doSome do

“No one of adult mind today would turn to the Book of Genesis to learn of the origins of the earth, the plants, the beasts, and man. There was no flood, no tower of Babel, no first couple in paradise, and between the first known appearance of men on earth and the first buildings of cities, not one generation (Adam to Cain) but a good two million must have come into this world and passed along. Today we turn to science for our imagery of the past and of the structure of the world, and what the spinning demons of the atom and the galaxies of the telescope’s eye reveal is a wonder that makes the city of Babel of the Bible seem a toyland dream of the dear childhood of our brain.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

And then it starts all over againAnd then it starts all over again

“Without arguing the point as to whether a state can survive without compelling its subjects to accept as Absolute Truth whatever system of belief the dominant elite may have decided to put forth as divine revelation, we shall observe . . . that gods suppressed become demons; which is to say, that psychological and sociological factors neither assimilated nor recognized by the consciously controlled system become autonomous and must ultimately break the approved system apart.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

Discourse deployed along networks of powerDiscourse deployed along networks of power

“The paramount concern of a popular religion cannot be, and never has been, ‘Truth,’ but the maintenance of a certain type of society, the inculcation in the young and refreshment in the old of an approved ‘system of sentiments’ upon which the local institutions and government depend.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

Not exactly propagandaNot exactly propaganda

“The world is full of origin myths, and all are factually false. The world is full, also, of great traditional books tracing the history of man (but focused narrowly on the local group) from the age of mythological beginnings, through periods of increasing plausibility, to a time almost within memory, when the chronicles begin to carry the record, with a show of rational factuality, to the present. Furthermore, just as all primitive mythologies serve to validate the customs, systems of sentiments, and political aims of their respective local groups, so do these great traditional books. On the surface they may appear to have been composed as conscientious history. In depth they reveal themselves to have been conceived as myths: poetic readings of the mystery of life from a certain interested point of view. But to read a poem as a chronicle of fact is—to say the least—to miss the point. To say a little more, it is to prove oneself a dolt. And to add to this, the men who put these books together were not dolts but knew precisely what they were doing—as the evidence of their manner of work reveals at every turn.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

The broken circleThe broken circle

“In the older mother myths and rites the light and darker aspects of the mixed thing that is life had been honored equally and together, whereas in the later, male-oriented, patriarchal myths, all that was good and noble was attributed to the new, heroic master gods, leaving to the native nature powers the character only of darkness—to which, also, a negative moral judgment now was added. For, as a great body of evidence shows, the social as well as mythic orders of the two contrasting ways of life were opposed. Where the goddess had been venerated as the giver and supporter of life as well as consumer of the dead, women as her representatives had been accorded a paramount position in society as well as in cult. Such an order of female-dominated social and cultic custom is termed, in a broad and general way, the order of Mother Right. And opposed to such, without quarter, is the order of the Patriarchy, with an ardor of righteous eloquence and a fury of fire and sword.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Occidental Mythology

The Great DivideThe Great Divide

“Now to all who acquired the use of them these new weapons [horse, chariots, and swords] gave a powerful horizontal thrust that carried all before it, and the older, basically peasant, land-rooted civilizations were simply helpless. But not only a new striking power, a new arrogance, too, had arrived: for is there anything more flattering to a man of simple character than a good seat on a splendid horse? The words cavalier, caballero, chevalrie, and chivalrous tell the tale. The day of the peasant afoot and the nobleman ahorse had dawned, which the machine age, only now, has ended. And it was to last for about four thousand years, gradually welding by violence and empire the far-flung provinces of the earlier, centrifugal ages; so that the world that formerly had been dividing was now gradually being brought together—but with a radical split horizontally between those who cry ‘Victory!’ and those who weep. All the way from the Nile to the Yellow River the lesson of the inevitability of sorrow thus was learned by those in the role of the anvil from those with the mettle to be hammers, and with that, the golden age of the children of the earth Mother was of yore.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology

The children of lesser godsThe children of lesser gods

“In Egypt a sequence of psychological stages progressed (or, if the reader prefers, declined) from a state of mythic identification, through inflation, to mythic subordination, and in the last of these a certain standard of human decency not inherent in the order of nature was by projection attributed to God. The Pharaoh—that great ‘Nature Boy’—was thereby subdued to human virtue without damage to his sense of participation in the virtue of divinity. But in Mesopotamia this highly flattering sense of participation in divinity dissolved. The king was no longer the Great God, nor even, as in Egypt, the Good God, but the Tenant Farmer of the God. And this mythological rupture set the two orders of nature and humanity apart, without converting man fully, however, to the courage of his own rational judgments. As a consequence, a pathos of anxiety developed in which all the nursery agonies of a child striving to gain parental favor were translated into a cosmological nightmare of mythic dependency, characterized by alternate gains and loss of divine support, and finally a mordant, rat-toothed sense of intrinsic human guilt.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Oriental Mythology

Roads to travelRoads to travel

“Mythology—and therefore civilization—is a poetic, supernormal image, conceived, like all poetry, in depth, but susceptible of interpretation on various levels. The shallowest minds see in it the local scenery; the deepest, the foreground of the void; and between are all the stages of the Way from the ethnic to the elementary idea, the local to the universal being, which is Everyman, as he both knows and is afraid to know. For the human mind in its polarity of the male and female modes of experience, in its passages from infancy to adulthood and old age, in its toughness and tenderness, and in its continuing dialogue with the world, is the ultimate mythogenetic zone—the creator and destroyer, the slave and yet the master, of all the gods.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology

Then what happenedThen what happened

“There can be no doubt that in the very earliest ages of human history the magical force and wonder of the female was no less a marvel than the universe itself; and this gave to woman a prodigious power, which it has been one of the chief concerns of the masculine part of the population to break, control, and employ to its own ends.” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology

Eyes tight shutEyes tight shut

“Why should it be that whenever men have looked for something solid on which to found their lives, they have chosen not the facts in which the world abounds, but the myths of an immemorial imagination—preferring even to make life a hell for themselves and their neighbors, in the name of some violent god, to accepting gracefully the bounty the world affords?” – Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology

Sing joy spring, etc.Sing joy spring, etc.

“No tribal rite has yet been recorded which attempts to keep winter from descending; on the contrary: the rites all prepare the community to endure, together with the rest of nature, the season of the terrible cold. And in the spring, the rites do not seek to compel nature to pour forth immediately corn, beans, and squash for the lean community; on the contrary: the rites dedicate the whole people to the work of nature’s season.” – Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

And difficult to overcomeAnd difficult to overcome

“In Christianity, Mohammedanism, and Judaism, the personality of the divinity is taught to be final—which makes it comparatively difficult for the members of these communions to understand how one may go beyond the limitations of their own anthrpomorphic divinity. The result has been, on the one hand, a general obfuscation of the symbols, and on the other, a god-ridden bigotry such as is unmatched elsewhere in the history of religion.” – Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

Good luck with your MAGA and your NWOGood luck with your MAGA and your NWO

“Schism in the soul, schism in the body social, will not be resolved by any scheme of return to the good old days (archaism), or by programs guaranteed to render an ideal projected future (futurism), or even by the most realistic, hardheaded work to wield together again the deteriorating elements. Only birth can conquer death—the birth, not of the old thing again, but of something new.” – Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

His own especiallyHis own especially

“The inflated ego of the tyrant is a curse to himself and his world—no matter how his affairs may seem to prosper. Self-terrorized, fear-haunted, alert at every hand to meet and battle back the anticipated aggressions of his environment, which are primarily the reflections of the uncontrollable impulses to acquisition within himself, the giant of self-achieved independence is the world’s messenger of disaster, even though, in his mind, he may entertain himself with humane intentions. Wherever he sets his hand there is a cry (if not from the housetops, then—more miserably—within every heart).” – Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces