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Campbell on Writing

Viewing 6 posts - 16 through 21 (of 21 total)
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    Last sentence of “deconstruction theory” in Encyclopedia Britannica: “In popular usage the term has come to mean a critical dismantling of tradition and traditional modes of thought.” (Retrieved 10/5/2021 from

    This last sentence of the definition was my intended meaning of the term I used.


    I too, Marianne, am far more enamored of Campbell and Jung than of Freud – both C.G. and Joe speak to me more than good old Sigmund, who nevertheless deserves respect for disrupting the status quo and changing the conversation.

    And I do find deconstruction unnerving – once everything is torn down to its constituent parts, and then those, too, are deconstructed, there is no ground to stand on. To me, that’s unsettling, and smacks of intellectual nihilism – but my discomfort may well be due to my default setting (I’m a lumper, not a splitter). Just because I have trouble embracing that approach doesn’t mean there is no value in it.

    Though this is a good conversation, it does seem to have wandered far afield from a discussion of writing and the creative spark. Not to worry, as apparently this discussion needed to emerge; nevertheless, could be a touch confusing to forum-goers expecting a discussion of  writing and creativity (considering both the topic, and the fact we’re in the Creative Mythology forum, devoted to art and the creative impulse). Rather than try to wrestle us back to the topic, I think I might open another thread.


    Writer’s block results from
    too much head. Cut off your head.”

    (A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living)

    Too much head in this thread. Not that I haven’t enjoyed it, but we seem to have fallen down a rather wordy rabbit hole. Intellectual analysis has its place (goddess knows I love to wallow in it), but all too often serves as the Muse’s kryptonite.

    I believe I’ll start over with a different thread . . .


    It seems from those I have encountered with recent literary degrees that The Hero’s Journey is being taught in colleges as a literature class. It occurs to me also to say that in all fairness some of these newer students of the topic are merely repeating what they have “learned” in their classes. Sad but true. But then again, like you and James, I tend to be a traditionalist.

    Oh, but then I do have to add that I know some students who have taken these classes in their literary degrees on The Hero’s Journey who have written on it in a way that probably Campbell would be happy and proud–which for me is heartwarming.


    Hi James,

    I am following as much as I can this evening in whatever capacity my eyesight permits. I do want to comment here on one thing. Many people did scoff at Jung mainly because of his interests and  studies in the paranormal–extensive studies. A lot of people thought of him as a sort of psychic quack, even when the paranormal in many geographic areas such as the UK was very popular in his day. In other places it wasn’t. Jung’s interests in the psychology of the paranormal was the main cause between the split between Jung and Freud. Many people did not want to believe in such things back then, just as many people do not want to believe in it today either. I have heard people tell this story often about Campbell saying he was not a Jungian, and each time I always wish the storyteller would include a why. This is at least part of the why.

    I am enjoying your posts/responses here, both yours and Shaheda’s, as well as Stephen’s as always.

    Best to you as always, and to everyone here,



    Hey James,

    I believe I will start over with a different thread. That’s only because the conversation has moved away from the subject (and not because it’s not a worthwhile conversation); though we can wrest it back on track, anyone drawn here to discuss writing and creativity would have to wade through several off-topic posts – so I’ll open another conversation on a related subject, and maybe cap this one.

    We started off with Joseph Campbell discussing the source of creative inspiration with Bill Moyers, within the framework of the written word. Since music is more your medium, it might help for you to approach the subject from that direction. Do you write songs, or are you primarily a performer. If you do write, where does the music come from; and if your strength is performing, what is happening to, within, and through you as you play, immersed in a song.

    Just tossing that into mix. When and if I get a new post up, you might want to take your experience, and perhaps that of the audience, as a starting point

    . . . or not.

Viewing 6 posts - 16 through 21 (of 21 total)
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