The Power of Myth: Sacrifice and Bliss

The Life and Work of Joseph Campbell

Outline of Presentation: Sacrifice and Bliss

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Background of Joseph Campbell Suffering vs happiness – sacrifice & bliss What is myth? Why do we need myths? What are their types? The language of myths Campbell’s philosophy Four functions of myths Hero’s Journey Mono-myth Myth’s relevance - today’s individual/world

Campbell‘s Influences

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American Indians Juddu Kristnamurti Columbia, Sorbonne & Universität München James Joyce & Thomas Mann Avant Garde Artists Carl G Jung 5 Years Reading/Researching Bastian, Frobenius, Spengler Heinrich Zimmer His Female Students

The Experience of Suffering

“to suffer"-sub plus ferre (Latin) "to bear or allow." Suffering is: • an experience the fullness of life‟s diversity • a natural process of growth • develops psychological and spiritual maturity
“To strive for pleasure to the exclusion of pain is, in effect, to strive for the loss of consciousness." - Alan Watts Life‟s goal is to increase consciousness; so, the temptation to avoid life‟s legitimate pain must be resisted and embraced as a natural part of life.

Joseph Campbell on Suffering from Budhism
"All life is sorrowful; there is however an escape from sorrow; the escape is Nirvana – which is a state of mind or consciousness, not a place somewhere, like heaven. It is right here, in the midst of the turmoil of life. It is the state you find when you are no longer driven to live by compelling desires, fears, and social commitments, when you have found your center of freedom and can act by choice out of that. Voluntary action out of this center is the action of the bodhisattvas – joyful participation in the sorrows of the world.“ - Joseph Campbell

” “Find a place inside where there‟s joy. but we can choose to live in joy.Joseph Campbell on Sorrow. Pain and Joy “We cannot cure the world of sorrows.” . and the joy will burn out the pain.Joseph Campbell .

at least.cannot be kept • happiness never lasts. .happenstance -than effort. for a short time. the natural tendency is to avoid suffering: • happiness is a transient state ." the root meaning of which implies that happiness is more due to luck -. If lucky.The Pursuit of Happiness Our culture emphasizes happiness and pleasure. Happiness is related to the Middle English word "hap. we might be happy.

Joseph Campbell on “Follow your Bliss“ “I have a firm belief in this now. When you follow your bliss. and by bliss I mean the deep sense of being in it. but it‟s your bliss and there‟s bliss behind pain too.” . and doing what the push is out of your own existence – it may not be fun.Joseph Campbell . not only in terms of my own experience but in knowing the experience of others.

Follow your bliss and don't be afraid. waiting for you. and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.” . and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be and where there wouldn‟t have been a door for anybody else.Joseph Campbell on “Follow your Bliss“ “If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while.Joseph Campbell .

” “If you are following your bliss. Know where your bliss is. that life within you.Joseph Campbell . You need instruction.Joseph Campbell on “Follow your Bliss“ “If your bliss is just your fun and your excitement. you„re on the wrong track. all the time.” . And that involves coming down to a deep place in yourself. you are enjoying that refreshment.

so let me hang on to rapture.Joseph Campbell on “Follow your Bliss“ “Now I came to this idea because in Sanskrit.“ . and that will bring me both my consiousness & my being. there are 3 terms that represent the jumpingoff place to the ocean of trancendance: The word Sat means “being“ or “existance“ The word Chit means “consiousness“ The word Ananda means “rapture“ or “bliss“ I don„t know if my consiousness or being is proper.Joseph Campbell .

Major Themes for Tonight: Sacrifice and Bliss      What is the significance of the “sacred place”? How does geography shape one‟s culture and religion? What is the purpose of sacrifice? What is the mythic idea of self-sacrifice? How does a person find his or her bliss? .

Rip van Winkle – Fictional with moral emphasis -Tortoise & the Hare   Fables & Fairytales .Myths versus other Stories  Legends & Sagas Folktales – May have an historical basis .Legend of Atlantis – Fictional with local emphasis .

or concept. idea. 2. or phenomenon of nature. an unproved or false collective belief that is used to justify a social institution. an imaginary or fictitious thing or person. usually concerning some being or hero or event. any invented story. 3. a traditional or legendary story.What is a Myth? Definition 1. esp. . 4. one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice. with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation. rite.

for significance .What is a Myth? Campbell  Stories of our search through the ages for truth. for meaning.

What is a Myth? Campbell  “Clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life” – experience of life‟s meaning .

Why Myths?  Provides a worldview and a set of values – a way of understanding the world – a way of relating to  to  to  to  to  being alive nature animals others self .

Why Myths?  Can convey important truths in a way that science or history fail to do .

Cosmgeny.Types of Myths         Creation. Foundation Paradise Lost. Flood Virgin Births Hero Myths Love & Sacrifice Afterlife / Death & Resurection Dieties / Supernatural Entities – good & evil End of the World .

Mythology pitches the mind … to what can be known but not told. it is metaphorical. It is beyond words. mythology is poetry. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth--penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. Beyond images.” ― Joseph Campbell. The Power of Myth .Quotes from Joseph Campbell “Mythology is not a lie.

The Language of Myths:      Metaphors Symbols Images Archetypes Rituals .

implied Unifies these two things Creates Image suggesting something else Connotes rather than denotes Expresses what otherwise is inexpressable “The best things can„t be told.The Language of Myths: Metaphors      Compares two dissimilar things . The second best are misunderstood“ Heinrich Zimmer (1890-1943) .

are facts.” ― Joseph Campbell. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all.Joseph Campbell on Metaphors “Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions. Thou Art That: Transforming Religious Metaphor . and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies. for example. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts.

religious statue or painting – From a dream or the imagination – Considering the metaphor implied by image – Pondering mythic stories .The Language of Myths: Images – Sacred image .

object. process. or idea 666 .The Language of Myths: Symbols  Communication element intended to represent or stand for a person. 40 group.

image.. (in Jungian psychology) a collectively inherited unconscious idea.The Language of Myths: Archetypes 1. 2. a model or first form. . the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based. etc. universally present in individual psyches. pattern of thought. prototype.

The Language of Myths: Archetypes “The whole of mythology could be take as a sort of projection of the collective unconsciousness. archetypes appear as involuntary manifestations of unconcious processes.Carl Jung .” “In the individual.” .

positive/negative: owl.helpers – wise old man: advice & info – good mother: nurturing & intuition     Shadow .negative side: helps/opposes Shapeshifter .The Language of Myths: Archetypes     Herald .change character: dazzle.ensure readiness/worthiness Hero . dragon Trickster .not bravery or nobility.sidekick/troublemaker: catalysts.signal change & invite an answer to call Threshold Guardian . confuse Animals . but self-sacrifice Mentor . ego .

The Enactment of Myths: Rituals  Ceremonial practices often accompany major myths and allow participants to enter into a personal experience of the story through dramatic re-enactment .

The Enactment of Myths: Rituals  The power of an alive ritual can be tremendous .

all myths are true Myths remain meaningful throughout time & place Myths are relevant today and to us Myths spring from a common source All religions have a basis in myths – Texts underlying the world´s major religions are mythical stories rather than logical essays – When the myths of religions are analyzed and interpreted logically and literally   only part of the whole truth is conveyed misunderstandings will most likely occur .Campbell´s Fundamental Assumptions about Myths      As a metaphor.

Myths‘ Relationship with Metaphors It is not something said from the brain. rather experienced by the heart. not simply the idea. from recognitions of identities behind or within the appearance of nature The life of a mythology derives from the vitality of its symbols as metaphors delivering. but a sense of actual “participation of transcendence“ .

Campbell‘s Philosphy 1    All spirituality is a search for the same basic.rituals & myths refer to the force using “metaphors” stories. currently exists. unknown force from which everything came. Ultimately “unknowable” Cannot be expressed in words . deities. and objects of spirituality . and into which will return.

or “pairs of opposites” These basic. Volkgedanken “Truth is one. the sages speak of it by many names ” .Rig Vedic . universal truths are expressed in different manifestations across different cultures Bastian: Elementargedanken vs. transcendent truths All religions can bring one to an elevated awareness above and beyond a dualistic conception of reality.Campbell‘s Philosphy 2    World religions are culturally influenced “masks” of the same fundamental.

goddesses.illumination comprehended as an internal state. death.Major Mythogical Periods .rituals of birth.start of symbolic thinking 2 Planters . & priestly orders 4 Current era . heroes. . & rebirth 3 High civilizations . Campbell proposed a staged model of cultural development: 1 Shamanistic hunter-gatherers .

Campbell‘s Four Functions of Myths     Mystical – relating to the mystery of life Cosmological – relating to the world around Socialogical – relating to society and others Pedagogical – relating individuals psychologically .

” . Through this vitalizing mystical function.Joseph Campbell Mystical Function .Relating to the mystery of life “Myth awakens and supports a sense of awe before the mystery of being. Myth induces a realization that behind the surface phenomenology of the world. there is a transcendent mystery source. It reconciles consciousness to the preconditions of its own existence. the universe becomes a holy picture.

and mentality of the culture. This interpretive function changes radically over time. The cosmology should correspond to the actual experience. but in such a way that the mystery still comes through. It presents a map or picture of the order of the cosmos and our relationship to it.Relating to the world around “This function shows the shape of the universe.Joseph Campbell Cosmological Function . knowledge.” .

and the rites by which it is rendered.” . This function. establishes in members of the group a system of sentiments that can be depended upon to link that person spontaneously to its ends.Joseph Campbell Socialogical Function . Particular life-customs of this social dimension . evolve dramatically.Relating to the society and others “Myth supports and validates the specific moral order of the society out of which it arose.ethical laws and social roles.

and finally.Relating to individuals psychologically “The myths show how to live a human lifetime under any circumstances. to the responsibilities of maturity. It helps people grasp the unfolding of life with integrity. guiding them toward enrichment & realization. It initiates individuals into the order of realities in their own psyches.” . from childhood dependency.Joseph Campbell Pedagogical Function . to the reflection of old age. It is this function that carries the individual through the various stages and crises of life. to death.

Hero‘s Journey Myth  Separation – Call – Refusal – Departure – Struggle – Trials – Transformation – Master of two Worlds – Communicate Boon  Initiation  Return to Origin .

Modern Society needs Myths    Great civilizations have been built on mythologies Their loss of meaning leads to decline A society lacking an active mythology has – a sense of meaninglessness – estrangement – rootlessness – cold life devoid of reverence and awe .

What are the Modern Myths/ Personal Myths? “Myths are public dreams. are really the same. it will lead you to the myth-world in which you life.Joseph Campbell . But just as in dream. though they seem to be separate. the subject and object. . dreams are private myths. By finding your own dream and following it through.

so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality.Joseph Campbell on Seeking a Meaning for Life “People say that what we‟re all seeking is a meaning for life. the rapture that is associated with being alive.” ― Joseph Campbell . … We're so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value. I think that what we‟re seeking is an experience of being alive. so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. is what it is all about. I don‟t think that‟s what we‟re really seeking.


Books – Authored/edited by Joseph Campbell .

More info? .jcf.

Further Programs About Joseph Campbell? 1: The Hero's Adventure 2: The Message of the Myth 3: The First Storytellers 4: Sacrifice and Bliss 5: Love and the Goddess 6: The Masks of Eternity .

Questions?. Comments? .

nymph.Ancient Myths Live in our Culture Today   Pandora's box. Words derived from mythology include: – – – – – – – – – – – – chronology (from Kronos) discipline (from Disciplina) discord (from Discordia) eros (from Eros) fate (from Fate) fauna (from Faunus) fidelity (from Fides) flora (from Flora) fortune (from Fortuna) fraud (from Fraus) Hades (from Hades) Hell (from Hel) – – – – – – – – – – – hygiene (from Hygieia) jovial (from Jove) liberty (from Libertas) lunar (from Luna) morphine (from Morpheus) mortality (from Mors) mute (from Muta) narcissism (from Narcissus) nemesis (from Nemesis) ocean (from Oceanus) planets. and some of the months . & olympian. Oedipus complex.

the tradition--there is at least the sense of a mystery. are really the same. There is just a display of things that our senses bring to us. and that awesome ultimate mystery which is both beyond and within himself and all things. By finding your own dream and following it through.“ . the universe. the language. But according to the scientific view. it will lead you to the myth-world in which you life. the subject and object. and an awesome and a very terrifying mystery inhabiting the whole universe: the very mystery of being itself. though they seem to be separate. and Man has to be great enough to receive it. his culture. in accord with himself.“ Myths are public dreams. dreams are private myths. What lies beyond is a mystery so great that it is going to be inexhaustible in its revelations. or if there is any "out there" at all. nobody knows what is out there.“ “In the human heart and in the human mind--no matter what the race. But just as in dream. the culture.Campbell‘s Four Function of Myths “…to foster the centering and unfolding of the individual in integrity.