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A forum for group questions please

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    It would be great to have a forum for myth / campbell based questions! For example I have a question for a documentary I am directing about the myths associated with the meaning of good and bad. I would love to ask the whole group if anyone has any links, books, quotes from Mr. Campbell on defining what is good or bad to help in my research and possible inclusion in the doc to help share the myths through the ages about goodness and bad. thanks.


      Hello Kenneth; welcome aboard. Chief moderator; Stephen Gerringer may have more to add; but check your Meet and Greet box for some information I left you that may help with what you are searching for. (There is no specific question and answer group that does what you are asking. You can of course just post a question as a topic which may give you what you need. ) Hope this helps.



      Hello Kenneth,  I like your question regarding links, books, quotes from Campbell on defining what is good or bad. You write, “For example I have a question for a documentary I am directing about the myths associated with the meaning of good and bad.”

      I recall Campbell referring to good and bad in his discussions on duality, in the Power of Myth (Discussions with Bill Moyer). He says, we live in the world of opposites, “good or bad, night and day, black and white” ….and the talk develops on duality.

      I’ll search that topic and write back. Sorry, I am so late in responding to this excellent question.



      Hello Kenneth,

      So this is from the Power of Myth:

      JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Whenever one moves out of the transcendent, one comes into a field of opposites. These two pairs of opposites come forth as male and female from the two sides. What has eaten of the tree of the knowledge, not only of good and evil, but of male and female, of right and wrong, of this and that, and light and dark. Everything in the field of time is dual, past and future, dead and alive. All this, being and nonbeing, is, isn’t.

      BILL MOYERS: And what’s the significance of them being beside the mask of God, the mask of eternity? What is this sculpture saying to us?

      JOSEPH CAMPBELL: The mask represents the middle, and the two represent the two opposites, and they always come in pairs. And put your mind in the middle; most of us put our minds on the side of the good against what we think of as evil. It was Heraclitus, I think, who said, “For God all things are good and right and just, but for man some things are right and others are not.” You’re in the field of time when you’re man, and one of the problems of life is to life in the realization of both terms. That is to say, I know the center and I know that good and evil are simply temporal apparitions.

      BILL MOYERS: Well, are some myths more or less true than others?

      JOSEPH CAMPBELL: They’re true in different senses, do you see? Here’s a whole mythology based on the insight that transcends duality. Ours is a mythology that’s based on the insight of duality


      And again, from POM:

      “We typically live in a world of duality: good and bad, true and untrue, but mythology shows us that there’s an underlying union between the polarities, a Yin and Yang where there is always some good in bad and vice versa. There is no black and white.

      The denial of mythology, and the absence of transcendent religious experiences, is what Campbell thinks has turned young people to drugs.”


      “A constant image [in myths] is that of the conflict of the eagle and the serpent. The serpent bound to the earth, the eagle in spiritual flight – isn’t that conflict something we all experience? And then, when the two amalgamate, we get a wonderful dragon, a serpent with wings.”
      ― Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

      Examples of duality and how to deal with the good and bad:

      Perhaps, in “Myths to Live By”.. “If a hijacker wants to board your plane, you are not going to say, come right in…”


      From ― Joseph Campbell, The Mythic Dimension – Comparative Mythology


      “It is not easy for students to realize that to ask, as they often do, whether God exists and is merciful, just, good, or wrathful, is simply to project anthropomorphic concepts into a sphere to which they do not pertain. As the Upaniṣads declare: ‘There, words do not reach.’ Such queries fall short of the question. And yet—as the student must also understand—although that mystery is regarded in the Orient as transcendent of all thought and naming, it is also to be recognized as the reality of one’s own being and mystery. That which is transcendent is also immanent. And the ultimate function of Oriental myths, philosophies, and social forms, therefore, is to guide the individual to an actual experience of his identity with that; tat tvam asi (‘Thou art that’) is the ultimate word in this connection.


      Joseph Campbell Quote:

      Every act has both good and evil results. Every act in life yields pairs of opposites in its results. The best we can do is lean toward the light, toward the harmonious relationships that come from compassion with suffering, from understanding the other person.”
      ― Joseph Campbell (Power of Myth)


      Wonderful resources, Shaheda. However, I don’t think Kenneth is seeing your comments, as he doesn’t have notifications enabled for this post. However, he asked this specific question in the Works of Joseph Campbell forum, and his notifications are enabled there, so you might want to copy and paste these to that conversation, which can be found here.

      Blissings to you!

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