Reply To: The Way of Art and Two-Way Roads” with Mythologist Craig Deininger”
Thank you so much, Stephen. It was a pleasure–or rather, has been so far, since I will remain attentive to the posts and respond, although perhaps in a little-bit-less-timely manner. The process has been fulfilling and inspires me to think more on the mythic. It is refreshing how “real” the explorations and voices have been in our conversation, and I look forward to more.
Before I dive into 170 pages of my students’ creative writing projects that await feedback and grades, I wish to leave off with one of my favorite Campbell quotes, and one that I think is quite pertinent to the times we are now facing (and since this topic came up earlier in the conversation). The quote is from the Power of Myth (again), and although I’ve read plenty of Campbell’s more scholarly work, it seems that during this thread I’ve come full-circle back to favoring this one—perhaps because our first posts reminded me of where and how I first “met” Joseph Campbell. Or, perhaps because it is an interview, and therefore, spoken-word, on-the-spot, and sincere in its spontaneity and simplicity. Speaking of simplicity, the quote is from the opening moment of that interview, where Campbell is responding to the very first prompt: “Why myths?”
And he says: “One of our problems today is that we are not well acquainted with the literature of the spirit. We’re interested in the news of the day and the problems of the hour” (3).
And I think that quite sums it up. He does not say “spiritual literature,” but rather, “literature of the spirit.” A very big difference, there. Certainly, the news of the day is necessary. But the myths are essential (emphasis on that word’s root: essence). The news is urgent and uncertain. But the myths are timeless and stable, and I think we could use a good dose of those sorts of influences these days. In fact, I daresay it is urgent! So, sure, here’s a good, urgent-news headline that I’d love to see on some front-page:
WE SHOULD ACQUAINT OURSELVES WITH THE MYTHS SO WE CAN NAVIGATE THROUGH THIS MADNESS AND GET BACK IN STRIDE WITH THE GOOD-LIFE
Oh, and by the “good-life,” I really just mean “life,” which, as anyone acquainted with myth will agree, is precisely as good as it gets.