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Reply To: Why I Disagree with Joe Campbell


There is no doubt your contribution adds to the conversation, James. I fully agree with your point that, at least  in Campbell’s world, there need be no conflict between science and spirituality. Now, does that hold true for someone who is an atheist? That’s a question worth exploring.

I expect Nandu is familiar with Campbell’s observations you shared (these clips are extracted from the Mythos video lecture series, and also appeared earlier in the troubled Transformations of Myth Through Time production). There are a number of scholars who would definitely agree with Nandu that such interpretations of Hinduism and Kundalini Yoga tell us more about the mindset of the individual doing the interpreting than they do about the actual practice – whereas I tend to think the “truth,” for lack of a better term, lies somewhere in between.

I really appreciate Nandu’s openness to sharing points of disagreement. If every post in a forum declares “the sky is always blue,” readers quickly lose interest in all the many ways there are to say of saying the same thing (or the sky is indigo, or azure, or . . . etc.). There’s just nothing to talk about.

But if someone comes along and says, “Well, for you the sky may always be blue, but for me, sometimes the sky is yellow and the sun is blue,” then suddenly folks perk up and take an interest, hopefully ask “what do yo mean by that?” and share their own thoughts. Ideally, the discussion doesn’t devolve into a debate where participants then lob proofs and counter-proofs designed to force those who disagree to admit they are mistaken, but evolves into an edifying, uplifting exchange where everyone involved learns a little bit about how and why things they know to be so can be perceived differently by someone else.