Author(s): Joseph CampbellDownload
The Power Of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work. A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people. To him, mythology was the “song of the universe, the music of the spheres.” With Bill Moyers, one of America’s most prominent journalists, as his thoughtful and engaging interviewer, The Power Of Myth touches on subjects from modern marriage to virgin births, from Jesus to John Lennon, offering a brilliant combination of intelligence and wit.
Some Reviews: 1762 in Goodreads.com
I really do think that this should be required reading in high school, everywhere. Or beyond. Just in general. I read it in preperation for my AP year, and it really helps you to open your eyes quite a bit. Does Joe Campbell like to stretch his points? Yes. Are some of his ideas and allusions a little far fetched? Absolutely. Will you roll your eyes a few times? Of course! Unless you are more starry eyed than even I was.
However. What he says on the subject of myth and our current culture is so true, and so insightful, that I think that everyone should pause to think about it. The changes in our cultural upbringing are so profound and Joe Campbell really helps to explain how and why that happened and what that does to your psyche, and spirit. Just as a brief example: What /do/ we do without that moment that tells us that we’re an adult now, and it is time to take on the behavior of that part of our tale? We have our current generation of 30 somethings that still dress like teenagers, go to rock concerts, and still think that having ‘commitment issues’ is cool. Why do people spend so much time trying to ‘find themselves’ now? Partially due to the lack of a cohensive culture and unit that people can base off of. I would argue that his observations on the loss of myth and it’s effects on a society are quite valid. The book is an interview, and his voice is so compelling. It’s not hard to get behind a lot of his opinions. You want to. It’s not necessarily a wholly bad or a wholly good thing, but it says so much about our culture. I guarantee you that this book will present you with several thoughts you might not have had, or thought in depth about before. Really, I think everyone should read this at least once.
Joseph Campbell is seriously incredible. Read this, listen to the PBS audio tapes, read anything he writes… he’s just brilliant, erudite, illuminating, fascinating, lovable, enlightening… he reveals things articulately that you always sensed in the shadowy regions of your instinct, and having them so clearly identified has a revelatory and refreshing effect. It makes you pensive and hopeful. It makes you feel good about being human, part of this thing we do called life. I don’t know, I think everyone should give him a try. If anything, he’s at least incredibly interesting.
I don’t know how he does it, but every time I read/hear/stumble upon some vague quotation of Joseph Campbell’s work, my day gets better. The sensation I get when reading his work is of relief, that all the seemingly static and infallible truths of the world stem from very simple needs. Somehow knowing that frees me to pursue the quenching of the needs, rather than the physical trappings we have set up around that need. It is very interesting.
This book is a sort of revised and embellished version of the video interviews of Campbell conducted by Bill Moyers on Skywalker Ranch (home of George Lucas). The video is six hours long and was slimmed down from 26 hours of conversation on myth and its place in our lives. Joseph Campbell is so insighful–he sees the humanity of the study, as well as the science, spouting such sincere and life-changing directions as “follow your bliss.” I mean, dang.
There is a misconception that myths are just stories-but everyone loves stories in some form or another. And what is it in the story that we need so much-particularly our religious myths, that feed our understanding of what life means, and what is the purpose…What is the meaning of the Holy Grail, of Jesus, of Perseus, of the Hindu, the Buddhists…it’s all here…No answers given just the enthusiasm for living your life to the fullest, being true to your path, following your bliss, crossing the threshold…
“One thing that comes out in myths is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation. The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.”
The Power of Myth is a beautifully illustrated collection of interviews of Joseph Campbell by Bill Moyers.
This is a very accessible and enjoyable book that presents a concise summary of the core ideas distilled from a lifetime of scholarly effort in the worldwide study of myth by Joseph Campbell.
Strongly recommend this book to anyone with a curious mind.
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