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Reply To: Why I Disagree with Joe Campbell


    Stephen; I think you articulated this aspect of what I would call mimicking or parroting Joseph’s thoughts and ideas really well. And I would be surprised if most people who hold his insights up as something to emulate didn’t at some time or another find themselves suspect in some way to falling under this spell. Speaking for myself this definitely would be true since I consider him in many ways a kind of mentor even though I never met him. But saying that I think this only natural since any culture pushes us as human beings in some kind of direction; whether we are aware of it or not; (especially concerning things like peer pressure).

    But more and more I keep finding myself questioning: “is what I’m saying and thinking a reflection of what I truly think and feel; or are these things echo’s from Joseph’s influence?”; and if I’m honest I would have to say in many ways they absolutely are! But as I’m coming to realize more and more I think it was Joseph’s intent to use the things he shared as more of a roadmap to developing my own point of view; my own voice; my own way of experiencing and looking at the world through the context of my own life experiences.

    Eastern and Western cultures are very different; but the world is rapidly changing in many ways – while at the same time people are trying to hold on to many of the timeless values born out of the perceptions that produced them. We can say: “there is nothing new under the sun”; but within this new: “freefall into the future”; mankind is experiencing the cross-pollination of cultures in ways I think are going to affect the ways we experience the world and our lives within it in ways we can’t yet know. The computer and the internet; the human genome; going to the moon and then on to inter-steller space; the coming of climate change and global warming; and now this global virus pandemic are all examples to consider.

    Disagreeing with Joseph is a difficult question for me since I have been so influenced by his ideas; (especially concerning with the unlocking of Carl Jung’s ideas as applied to my own life which is now forever changed); but I don’t want to digress. Below is a quote of mine from the mentoring thread which might better describe my feelings about this; some of which was borrowed from a conversation Joseph had with Michael Toms in: “An Open Life” on page 123.


    If I do have a guru of that sort, it would be Zimmer–the one who really gave me the courage to interpret myths out of what I knew of their common symbols. There’s always a risk there, but it’s the risk of your own personal adventure instead of gluing yourself to what someone else has found.”



    To me this is a central feature that should be held up as something to strive for; the ability to not only follow your own unique individual path; but to use your own point of view as a guide. Something that speaks to you out of your own center in your own voice; something that gives you a sense you are following your own: “North Star” as your guide. We all need models and the mentor I think helps the individual to find and develop their own idea of possibility of their own: “reason for being”.; or put another way: their own: “personal myth”. I think this is Joseph’s main theme around which many of the other aspects or dimensions constellate. (The hero is a major archetype that resonates in everyone; and Joseph stated this another way from the ancients: “It is in you, go and find it”.)


    I don’t know if the above adequately addresses or applies to the overall themes in this thread of disagreeing with Joseph or not; (perhaps a mixture of light and dark with shades of grey mixed in). But at this stage of my life I don’t think I could easily separate where one ends and the other begins. I currently just started reading a new book Stephen recommended on another thread: Dennis Patrick Slaattery’s: “Riting Myth Mythic Writing”; which may help provide some clues concerning my personal myth and my own voice as separate from Joe’s influence. Anyway; I thought this might add something concerning Stephen’s above post since we all have Joseph’s influence in common; but we might view his ideas in completely ways through very different cultural lenses. Hopefully this humble addition will contribute something to Nandu’s topic.