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Reply To: What’s In a Name?” with Stephen Gerringer”



Thank you for that upbeat reverie!

You sing “We need the poetry. We need the myth…in that heart beat…in that rhythm.”

Here’s Campbell, in sync with that message:

Music has an awakening function. Life is rhythm. Art is an organization of rhythms. . . . The rhythm of the music awakens certain life rhythms, ways of living and experiencing life.” (The Hero’s Journey: Joseph Campbell on His Life and Work, p. 223)

This no abstract reasoning on Campbell’s part; he’s speaking from experience. From 1922 to 1926, while attending Columbia, Joseph Campbell played alto sax in a seven-piece jazz band with Paul Winkopp, in venues ranging from fraternity dances to the Plaza Hotel (no mere hobby, that – Joe banked $3,000 from playing in the band in 1925 alone – a considerable sum for a college kid nearly a century ago!).

Like you (a tap-dancer – talk about rhythm!), that experience for Campbell holds a key for engaging life.

Music is nothing if not rhythm. Rhythm is the instrument of art . . . It’s wonderful to see a jazz group improvise: when five or six musicians are really tuned in to each other, it’s all the same rhythm, and they can’t go wrong, even though they never did it that way before” (A Joseph Campbell Companion, p. 249).

And neither can we.

The World is embodied music, and we are all playing in the band.