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Reply To: Would Joe Campbell Challenge Us?



You ask a great question, “ Would Joseph Campbell challenge us? (If he was here in modern times?)”

Yes, Joe Campbell would challenge us – challenge us to remain open to wonder and mystery of the universe, and to experience the wonder.  Not to give in to despair. Referencing John Bucher’s article, who quotes Campbell, “Wonder was a recurring idea in Joseph Campbell’s writing as well, and a concept he took very seriously. In The Inner Reaches of Outer Space, he lays out this challenge for mythologies looking to assert themselves into our culture: “Indeed, the first and most essential service of a mythology is this one, of opening the mind and heart to the utter wonder of all being.” (Inner Reaches, xx) ” While so much of his work is articulated with academic detail, Campbell fully recognized that the power of myth defies description, as wonder is an experience. We might search for the words to define the feelings we have when a myth has enraptured us, but it is in the experience itself that wonder is found.”

1. He would remind us to remain radiant in the filth of the world. To know that beyond the horror lies a mystery, ‘mysterium tremendum et fascinas’.

2. He would ask us not to just interpret the old myths, but to face our daily struggles heroically.

3. He would challenge us to listen to our own spiritual demands ..if we don’t then we have put ourselves out of center. This is the threat to our lives. We all face it. We all operate in our society in relation to a system.  … “Now, is the system going to eat you up and relieve you of your humanity, or are you going to be able to use the system to human purposes?”  Episode 1, Chapter 12 The Power of Myth (1988) 

Your next question sunbug, The other question is would we expect him to be a certain way? Or to react a certain way? Because of how we think?” 

I am not very clear as to what you mean by “Because of how we think?

Would love to hear back.