My first exposure to Joseph Campbell was the interview Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers. I picked it up from the local library on VHS — boy, that ages me a bit — and got to keep it because they were phasing out tapes at the time. I watched every episode and was blown away by the concise, but well-explained, views on mythology and story-telling in general. I hadn’t realized until that moment that one of my favorite sci-fi movies, Star Wars, was based on Campbell’s philosophical work. That interview led to reading The Power of Myth, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, and The Masks of God (only the first volume so far.)
Campbell’s views on the Hero’s Journey, as well as the psychology behind the mind that seems to naturally give rise to the formula, has influenced not only how I consume written and visual stories, but how I create them myself. I find myself enlightened all the more about the stories we tell each other and how we seek the same things, over all, in our fiction. I’m also now pursuing the study of philosophy because of Campbell’s influence. And so, I look forward to discussing more on here with all of you, both philosophically and in good fun!
Welcome Aboard, Satcitananda! (Love your cybermoniker)
The Power of Myth interviews provided a portal into Joseph Campbell’s mythological perspective for so many. And it wasn’t in the sense of telling people like a biblical prophet “This is the way; walk ye therefore in it”; my sense was more that here was someone articulating ideas and beliefs I held, at least in embryo, that I had never been able to put into words – and doing so with confidence and delight.
His enthusiasm proved contagious – Joseph Campbell helped find my own voice.
Keep going on The Masks of God – such a treat!
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His enthusiasm hooked me as well, even when my understanding was too little to grasp the breath of his knowledge. I wanted to see what could make a man so happy to share in a subject and I wasn’t disappointed! And I agree, he very much made me feel he was nodding the way, but – in his own words – encouraged me to enter the forest where there was no path.
As I’m putting together a post on where to begin when it comes to reading Joseph Campbell, I came across this thread. Now, a little over 16 months later, I’m curious if you are any farther along in the Masks of God series – or have you detoured into other works by Campbell?
Both The Hero with a Thousand Faces and the volumes of The Masks of God are ambitious reads in this soundbite and internet era (where short attention spans seem to rule). Have you had a chance to take a look at some of Campbell’s essay collections, or his posthumous works?
So many do start with The Power of Myth television interviews – and then today there are so many other options as well (particularly the well over 70 hours in the Joseph Campbell audio collection) . . . and – for those looking for “free” Campbell – there are the previously unreleased talks in the Joseph Campbell: Pathways podcasts (which, with bonus episodes, add up to about 15 hours so far), so theoretically it’s possible to develop a relatively broad grasp of Campbell’s themes without ever opening a book.
Nevertheless, much as I love hearing his voice, I really appreciate the written word – especially his deep, mind boggling dives in Hero and Masks . . .
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