"Hero with a Thousand Faces" Notes from Joseph Campbell's Power of Myth – PBS Interview with Bill Moyers Heroes: ML King, Gandhi, Moses, Christ, Buddha, Mohammed, Luke Skywalker • • • No need to risk adventure alone; follow the path of heroes of all time Travel inward to center of existence, not outward; be with all the world, not alone. Myths - have no ideology, theology; are about the dance

“Thousand Faces:”. - myths, heroes, have a sequence of action that is typical all over the world, - about one deed done by many many different people Hero – what is worth writing about: - has given his life to something bigger/other than self - sacrifice - two types of deeds: Physical - sacrifice to another person, idea Spiritual -learned or found a supernatural communication and returned - Example: Initiation rituals die to infant, dependency, come back as self, to self-responsibility BIRTH - from water creature to air breathing mammal hero journey is finding the source of life to bring one forth into a richer condition KINDS OF JOURNEYS: 1) not conscious - birth 2) intentional, performing deed - Telemachus' "father quest" youth's search - what career is, what nature is, what source is 3) pitched into - EX: drafted into army - resurrected into a different creature, new uniform, identity sacrifice self, saving an ideal - still heroic even if others disagree with idea TYPES OF HEROES: 1) Monster slaying (early cultures) 2) Spiritual leader (transforms society) • Moses - departure, fulfillment, return - with new rules for new society (unrecognized by the people) • Buddha/Christ traditions matched down the line Christ three temptations: Buddha three temptations 1) economic - stones to bread 1) lust 2) political - command nations 2) fear 3) spiritual - tempt the Lord 3) social duty • both choose disciples after temptations, both establish new consciousness (Mohammed - went to cave and meditated) Inability of people to recognize hero and the hero sacrifice/accomplishment • followers don't see/shatter hero's accomplishments • hero comes out of the forest with gold and it turns to ashes All 3 religions have trials of hero’s journey as significant part All myths deal with TRANSFORMATION OF CONSCIOUSNESS - real power: losing/giving self to another - consciousness transformed by TRIALS – have illumination/revelation - hero’s journey is a journey with trials

Myth today? Movies such as Star Wars fulfill the need for the spiritual adventure of the hero. They are mythological in that their subject is the powers of life and their inflection through man. The adventure into the unknown - we've conquered the planet so the only place left for heroes/myths is outer space. Standard Mythological Figures in Star Wars: 1) Japanese Sword master - old man advisor - Obi Wan Kenobe 2) physical instrument/weapon - Odysseus' bow - the sword 3) psychological commitment/center - The "force" 4) reluctant hero – Hans Solo - compassionate and ready for the adventure but didn't know it - serendiptius adventure - reluctant hero is READY, environment matches - his readiness, manifests his good character - thinks he's an egotists, finds out he isn't 5) on the edge - bar scene, the jumping off place, meet those who have been out there 6) descent into dark (underworld, womb, unconscious) - garbage compactor - belly of the whale - Jonah’s whale = personification/creature of all this is in - unconscious; dangerous, powerful, must be controlled - water = unconscious First stage of hero’s adventure: Hero's descent into dark: - hero is either cut to pieces, descends, is resurrected - OR hero kills dragon power, assimilates dragon power, blends into power, transcends humanity, reassociated with powers of nature, powers of life. consciousness is secondary, mind removes us from nature, mind is not running the show, mind must not put itself in control, mind must submit and serve the humanity of hte body. Darth Vader – Luke’s father - result of when mind puts itself in control, gone over to the intellectual side (controlled by technology), - becomes inhuman, “worm of a man, ”threatens our lives. - not living for humanity but a “system” – he is related to the system (theme of “The Matrix”) We all operate within a system - Will it eat you up, relieve you of your humanity -OR- are you going to USE the system to human purposes - Live in the system as a human being, don't go over, but resist its impersonal claims - Listen to demands of.spirtual, of heart, of self, not to the program of life - We become off center when aligned with. programmatic life, with system Life evokes character - find out more about self as we go on,- try to put self in a situation that evokes our higher nature Refusal of suitors myth: Iroquoi Indian story of girl and suitor - enters another domain with supernatural/snake husband - elevates self out of local field and puts self in a place of higher power - dangerous - if you are not eligible, ready, it will be a demon, a mess - if you are eligible, it will be glory, give you a life transformed, that is yours in your own way MYTH - expresses truths that can't be grasped any other way - the edge, the interface between what can be known and what is unknown, never to be discovered - because it is the mystery of life, transcendant of all human research, the source of life - important to live life with a knowledge of mystery and your own mystery


myth gives life texture, balance, harmony myth, symbols of myth, dreams give knowledge of mystery Living life in mythological terms eases anxiety, puts one in accord with inevitable in one's life, sees positive of negative, vice versa Living life in mythological terms shows whether you'll say "yes" to the serpent or "No" to the serpent; "yes" to adventure, or "no"

European Dragon represents Greed - guards things in cave (gold, virgins) that it has no use for - no vitality of experience of either - just guards them - European Dragon represents one's own bindong of one's self to one's ego and you're captured then. ƒ [The job of psychiatrist is to break the dragon, open it up, so you can have larger field of relationships. EX: Jung's patient caught in the rocks.] Chinese Dragon is different - represents vitality of swamps - he beats his belly, laughs, yields bounty, yields waters, greatness, glory - European Dragon cuts you down - real dragon is within you, your ego holding you in - your ego is "what I believe" "What I can do" "What I think I love" "aim of my life" ƒ might be too small, pins you down, especially if it is what the environment tells you to do, it is pinning you down How to slay the dragon? Follow your BLISS - work = bliss if it is the work you choose because you enjoy it, then it's your bliss. But if you think, I couldn't do that, (your bliss), then you're not going on journey following bliss. - not a journey to save the world but to save self, and in doing that you save the world - influence of one vital person vitalizes - People have notion of changing world, system, shifting the rules BUT any world is a living world if it is alive, to bring it alive, be alive yourself. - Can take journey with a friend, but ultimate trick is done by you. Center - Place of rest, peace, repose is inside self - athlete/dancer - the center out of which they act, center has to be known and held, otherwise they're off-balance, torn apart, tense Nirvana a psychological state of mind, not a physical place outside self like "heaven". Nirvana is "here" in middle of turmoil. a condition when not compelled by desire, social duty act out of center teachers show "the way" but it must ultimately be your way, too. ƒ there are exercises different teachers will give you, but they may not work for you, teachers can only give clue to random direction

Consciousness - plant/animal - coconut tree leaves turn to sun - a form of consciousness -know where the sun is (heliotropism) - eating - body knows what to digest - in woods - different consciousness's relating to each other Gaiea Principle - Earth as consciousness - Mother Earth - selves as coming out of the Earth rather than as being thrown in here from somewhere else - we have the consciousness of the Earth - eyes and breast of the earth. - Meditation - raises consciousness - all of life is a meditation - most of it unintentional ƒ EX: where money is coming from, going to ƒ EX: concern for family

ƒ ƒ Cathedral -

these are important physical concerns but need spiritual meditation, myths - spiritual meditation, bring us to spiritual level of consciousness

Is a spiritual level of consciousness, spiritual meditation Walk in and everythng speaks of spiritual mystery, brings consciousness to another level altogether. Then walk out, and you’re in the conscious world again. Hold on to spiritual level by prayers, mantra, meditation. Cathedral is relation of human to cosmos.

History of Western Civilization shown in the tallest buildinqs - tells consciousness of time 1) Gothic-medieval times - cathedral. is tallest bulding in town 2) 16th, 17th, 18th cent. - political building is tallest 3) modern times - office buildings (economic, financial centers) Salt Lake City - Temple, capital building, office building New York - builds tall buildings for sake of tallness Will new myths come from this? New myths - can't predict what it is going to be any more than you can predict what you will dream tonight - new myths come from realizations of some kind that have to find expression in symbolic form - Myth of the Planet may be the future myth. Not city, country, people, but unity of whole planet - This myth will deal with what all myths talk about: 1) maturation of individual 2) pedagogical way to follow from dependency to adulthood to exit -- "how to do it" 3) how to relate to this society 4) how to relate this society to world of nature and the cosmos 5) "society" will be society of the planet T.S.Eliot's "Wasteland" - combines these cultures, peoples Earth in space - symbol of mythology to come – no divisions of nations in space

"Message of the Myths" Notes from Joseph Campbell's Power of Myth – PBS Interview with Bill Moyers Mystic traditions differ externally but are same in that the all • give a deeper awareness of the act of living itself • guide us through trials and traumas from birth to death • teach us how to live in the world • awaken a sense of "awe" "gratitude" "rapture" Mythological themes have o supported man's life, built civilizations, informed religions o guide you through deep inner problems, inner mysteries, inner thresholds of passages • Without myth, guide signs, you have to work it out yourself. • Myth is a feeling of information from one or other of these traditions of deep, rich life vitalizing sources. Man is not seeking meaning of being alive, but EXPERIENCE of being alive: • So life on physical plane has resonances within of our innermost being and reality, • So we feel rapture of being alive. • Universe is just "there," your meaning is that you're "there." • What is the meaning of a flower or the universe? It is to be experienced. • If we follow purposes of outer value we forget inner value of being alive – what it is all about Myths are clues that help us find: (1) experience of being alive (above) (2) spiritual potentiality of human life - what we can know/experience within ourselves (3) God - "God" is a thought, name idea, but it refers to soemthing that transcends diea, beyond all categories of thought: a) "best things can't be told" b) "2nd best are misunderstood" c) "3rd best are what we talk about" • myth is a field of reference giving us clues to the absolutely transcendant • "God" is ultimate word for transcendant which can't be known or named Creation stories differ in Eastern and Western traditions 1) Michelangelo's "Creation" painting - God a bearded old man, a materialistic view of transcendant 2) Mask of Eternity (God) - Metaphor through which eternity is experienced • In a cave on an island in Harbor of Bombay (8th century)- three heads • Central head - MASK - mask of God - mask is a metaphor - the mask through which eternity is to be experienced • Two figures, faces - opposites - opposite each other - whenever one moves out of field of transcendant, one comes into the field of opposites o Two pairs of oppposites come forth as male and female, good and evil (tree of knowledge of good and evil) right and wrong, this and that, light and dark past and future, dead and alive, being and nonbeing o Everything in field of time is dual, faces represent duality of temporal • Duality comes together when you put your mind in the middle - most of us put our minds on side of good against what we think of as evil o Heraclitus: For God, all things are good, right just but for man, some things are right and others are not • Message of this myth: the problem of life is to live life in realization of both terms. Man is in the field of time. To say, I know the center and I know good and evil are simply temporal, merely apparitions. • Judeo-Christian tradition is ethically dual – started with sin. • In Eden, male/female don’t know they’re different. God doesn’t know he’s different.

6 Myths are all true in different senses: Differences between Eastern and Western myths: • Eastern myths based on insight that transcends duality • Western myths based on insight of duality, THUS o our religion tends to be more ethical in its accent o our religion starts with sin and moves out of the mythological zone, ƒ the garden of Eden – Paradise - is where there is no time, where man and women don't know they are different from each other, where God and man are practically the same ƒ tree of knowledge - knowledge of pairs of opposites, sets man from world of eternal to temporal man and woman cover their shame, they're different, god against man, man against god, nature against man,etc. • Eastern, other mythologies – one puts self in ACCORD with the world • Western, this myth - world, nature is a mix of good and evil, so DON'T put self in accord with it. o Identify with good and fight against evil. (Near East, Christianity, Biblical religions, Islam) • Western myths: Effects of not being with nature: o whole world corrupt, every spontaneous act is sinful because nature is correct and has to be corrected, must not be yielded to o achieve domininance over nature due to inherited Biblical condemnation of nature o God, divinity is not inherent in nature, nature is not in God • Eastern traditions: Hindus, Buddhists, Japan – o no distiniction between God and nature o no “Fall of Man” - nature cannot be evil o natural impulse should be beautified, sublimated, not corrected o cooperation with-nature - Japanese Gardens o identify self with Creator, God power in the world is within you o India greeting prayer - greet God within you, recognition of your divinity Creation stories are not addressing questions of physical realities: • "who made world" "how world was made" "how long" "why" • they address spiritual realities (poetry not prose) COMMON FEATURES of creation stories: l) Forbidden fruit – standard folk tale motif of “one forbidden thing” • Examples: Genesis - Bluebeard - Pandora's box • Old Testament story - God knows man will eat the fruit • A Fall "up"? - by doing that he becomes initiator of his own life'- life begins with that • Looking for a way of experiencing the world that will allow us to transcend/to see divine presence 2) Tendency to find someone to blame - Genesis, Basari - snake blamed 3) SNAKE - symbol of life, throwing off past, continuing to live. • Snake sheds its skin just as man sheds his shadow • Snake is positive in most cultures o Cobra sacred in India o Serpent King is next thing to the Buddha, represents the power of life to throw off death in field of time o (Buddha represents power of life to be eternally alive in the field of time) o Burmese snake priestess brings rain by kissing cobra Christian stories turn “snake” symbol around - snake is seducer: • amounts to a refusal to affirm life - life is evil in this view • every natural impulse is sinful unless you', been baptized or circumcised • woman – blamed with serpent (Eve gives, fruit to Adam) • woman represents life • brings us into world of polarity, opposites, of life • life is “sin” according to ethical judgments all the time • childish attitude to say “no” to life in all its pain

• • • • • •

temporality, by its very definition involves loss, sorrow, suffering don't withdraw from world when you realize horror horror is foreground of a wonder. road to peace begins with acceptance of first Buddhist saying - life is sorrowful - say "yes" to suffering We live by killing and eating Life IS suffering, life is trouble o Schopenhauer says life should not have been o Campbell – “Life is great just the way it is, don't avoid life because there is evil in world, participate in life, say ‘yes’ to life. Whatever you do is evil to somebody. For Hindus - all world is divine, affirmation of world as manifestation of divinity itself. Guru - we must say ‘yes’ to all - even brutality, vulgarity, thoughtlessness, stupidity – how can we say no to anything in the world? Who are we to judge?” Classic Christianity says the opposite: despise world, life redeemed in heaven:

ETERNITY • has nothing to do with time-"Kingdom of Heaven on earth" • isn't some later time, isn't a long time • is a dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out • “if you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere” TIME • • • • • • • • • • • • Temporality (time of physical world) by its very defintion involves loss,sorrow, suffering Don’t withdraw from world when you realize its horror Horror is foreground of wonder Road to peace begins with acceptance of first Buddhist saying: “life is sorrowful (suffering)” Say “yes” to life anyway – come back and participate in it It wouldn’t be life without temporality and sorrow – it’s just the way it is All of this is aas it is, is as it has to be, is a manifestation of eternal presence in the world Nihilism is not a necessary conclusion to the sorrow and suffering of the world Can participate in the game – a wonderful opera Enlist – just go to war – but participate in it in a certain way The hero can participate in it decently, without rancor or personal of any kind Samarai story – sent to kill the king but sheathed his sword when the king made him angry

MYTH TODAY - no myth today • world changing too fast, our myth belongs to another time. • Effects of no myth - look at newspapers - crime loss of direction- our time is a mess. • Virtues of past are vices of today. Vices of past are necessities. 50 years ago morals were completely different. • Science/medicine made a housecleaning of belief • Myth hasn't caught up. Moral of myth must catch up with moral necessities of life now. • Pedagogical aspect of myth - must give life models • models must be appropriate to the time we're living, so it's ridiculous to go back to "Old Time Religion" • “ ‘Old time religion:’ belongs to another age, another people, another set of human values, another universe” • Middle East • three great Western tradition with different name for same God, so can't get on together • are stuck in their metaphor - can’t see common truth underneath • Problem is mistake in the reading of religion, myth • Reading the metaphor according to prose (denotation), instead of poetry (connotation) • Like dreams – images, energies magnified of body in conflict • All religions are true for their time • Separate truth from time, from metaphor, separate from temporal reflection • put old religion into new metaphors and you've got it (new myth)

• • • • • • • • • •

each religion needs its OWN myth – but not on the surface, at literal level, at the deep level, at truths deeper truths of each religion say the same thing each needs its own myth all the way myth is a line to connect to the mystery of which you are Mythology is the homeland of the Muses – see life as a poem, not a play with acts and actors But an adventure that transcends action so you are in accord with the universe Every myth is true as a metaphor – but when it gets stuck to the metaphor then you get in trouble Christ ascended to heaven, born of a virgin – for Campbell, it is metaphor: Ascent to heaven through inward space – heaven and hell and gods – all within us

NEW MYTH - Star Wars • Problem of machine/state: Will it crush or serve humanity? The state is the machine • Humanity comes not from machine but from heart o When Luke Skywalker unmasks his father, Darth Vader: o Worm of a man is inside mask o Being executive of system doesn't develop his humanity • Machine - making world in our image, what we want it to be • Tool - turns outer nature into your service (sword of myth) but there comes a time when it begins to dictate to you • Computer mythologized - Old Testament God - lots of rules, no mercy - inside computer, chips, heirarchy of angels - software - code, metaphor unique to each religion • (some people should stick to one software, others can dabble in many, but dabblers will not have saint experience) • New myth will incorporate machine/computer just as old myths incorporated tools/weapons MYTH TODAY • How long do we live without myths? • We're living without a cultural myth. • We can’t have new myth for a long time • Things are changing too fast – fifty years ago morals were completely different • Individual has tofind aspects of myths that has to do with conduct of his life. • Must find myths individually Services of myths 1) Mystery - opening the world to a dimension of mystery - if you lose that you don't have mythology - mystery underlies all forms 2) Cosmological - mystery as manifested through all things so universe becomes a holy picture, always addressed to the transcendant mystery 3) Sociological - validating and maintaining a certain society - Values, ethical laws, laws of life in society Yahweh's pages of rules - this is what we have left of myth - has taken over of society 4) Pedagogical - how to live a human life under any circumstances Myth of Indra building a bigger and better palace, then discovering Indras are no better than ants, about as significant. Choice: Run. away and meditate in forest, throw it all off, --or-Stay in life, realize the truth, marry, work, be symbol of Brachma

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful