Reply To: THE CLAY FEET OF THOSE WHO WOULD LEAD DOES NOT DEAL WITH REALITY
movingalways I don’t believe Campbell would take issue with your assessment, given this statement of his:
“I’m not a mystic, in that I don’t practice any austerities, and I’ve never had a mystical experience. So I’m not a mystic. I’m a scholar, and that’s all. I remember when Alan Watts one time asked me, ‘Joe, what yoga do you practice?’ I said, ‘I underline sentences.’ And that’s all I’m doing. My discipline is taking heavy notes and correlating everything I read with everything else I’ve read. I have nine drawers full of notes, and I have four more packed down in the cellar that I can’t get another piece of paper in. For 40 years I’ve taken notes on these materials that seemed to me to be opening the picture to my mind.” (from an interview with Jeffrey Mishlove)
Thank you for your reply Stephen, as it illuminates my judgment of Campbell in relation to jufa’s post about clay feet not dealing with reality. By Joe’s own words, he had not yet stepped through the transcendent picture of reality that was opening in his mind to realize its absolute or spiritual nature, which of course, ultimately, would have been realized to be the nature of himself as the “I am” or the “I will”.
Had JC taken this step into the spiritual Absolute and named it as such, I believe he would have (eventually) stopped identifying with the temporal world of myth and metaphor.
To illustrate my point of where Joe ‘just fell short’ of realizing his invisible I am/I will was the light of all of this thoughts therefore he need not cling to any one thought, I am including this quotation from his interview with Bill Moyer about the first noble truth of Buddhism:
“All life is sorrowful,” is the first Buddhist saying, and it is. It wouldn’t be life if there were not temporality involved, which is sorrow, loss, loss, loss.”
I can’t speak to how immersed Joe became with the doctrines of Buddhism, but while it is true that the first noble truth is that the life of dualities is sorrow, the fourth noble truth clearly states how suffering (sorrow) is to be brought to an end: “Now this, bhikkhus, is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is this noble eightfold path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.”
Joseph Campbell’s right intuition of myth identification as being the ‘state of transparency’ is for many (including myself) a necessary preparatory step that enables one to become strong and stable enough to leave all thought identification behind. Jufa mentioned the metaphor of the Christ in his answer to both of us, a perfect example of the way in which wisdom operates by way of identification transcendence to bring one out of their earth mentality to realize the truth of their spiritual/absolute nature. If one considers the myth of “Jacob’s Ladder of Ascension”, the metaphor of the Christ (or the Buddha) represents the transparent self standing on the top rung waiting to step off…
Stepping off the top rung of the ladder of transcendence identification into the invisibility of ones unconditioned nature is the ‘final’ stage of the Hero’s journey, and thanks to the illuminated spirits such as Joseph Campbell, breadcrumbs of light have been dropped to light the way to make what is deeply psychologically conditioned in us (beliefs we take to be truths) unto what is subtly conditioned is us (myths and metaphors of light). In the bible, this way of being gradually unconditioned is revealed as the wisdom “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.” (Isaiah 28:10, KJV).