(The Greeks) did not personify that mystery in a being before whom the human spirit should abdicate but, on the contrary, recognized that the supreme manifestation on earth of that same mystery and wonder is the human mind itself, well housed in the beautiful human body.
-- Joseph Campbell
The Mythic Dimension (p. 10-11)
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The Mythic Dimension: Selected Essays, 1959–1987
These twelve essays explore the topic for which Campbell was best known: the many connections between myth and history, psychology, and everyday life. Drawing from such varied sources as Thomas Mann, the occult, Jungian and Freudian theory, and the Grateful Dead, these dynamic writings elucidate the many ways in which myth touches our lives, our psyches, and our relationship to the world.
Other quotations from this Title
There is but one way to say yea in love, and that is to affirm what is there. That is true love; and, as Paul says, "Love bears all things." [share]
Cezanne says somewhere, “Art is a harmony parallel to nature.” Art is the rendition of the interface between your nature and the nature out there.[share]
When you are in the act of creating, there is an implicit form that is going to be asked to be brought forth, and you have to know how to recognize it. So, they say, you are to learn all the rules and then you must forget them. [share]
There is a general pattern to the hero journey––the quest of the hero into unknown realms, the powers that he meets there and overcomes, the stages of his crises of victory, and his return, then, with some boon that he gained, for the founding of a city, religion, dynasty, or whatnot; or, on the other hand, his failure and destruction. [share]
The priest presents for consideration a compound of inherited forms with the expectation (or, at times, even requirement) that one should interpret and experience them in a certain authorized way, whereas the artist first has an experience of his own, which he then seeks to interpret and communicate through effective forms. Not the forms first and then the experience, but the experience first and then the forms. Who, however, will be touched by these forms and be moved by them to an experience of his own? By what magic can a personal experience be communicated to another? And who is going to listen? [share]
For although, as Schopenhauer maintains, this impulse of compassion is the basis of all morality, it is equally a basis of what must appear to the world to be immorality, since, like God, it makes no distinction between good and evil. According to the Gospel: the Father makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, sends rain on the just and on the unjust: judge not that ye may not be judged. Normally we think of ethics as a function of the principle of judgment, supporting right against wrong, good against evil, truth against falsehood, fair against foul, whereas here is a teaching that would know morality rather as a function of the principle of mercy. [share]
I myself have been traveling around quite a bit, these years, from one college campus to another, and everywhere the first question asked me is, "Under what sign were you born?" The mysteries of the Tarot pack, the I Ching, and Transcendental Meditation . . . Well, all this is just the beginning, the first signaling of a dawning realization of the immanence of the occult, and of this as something important for our living. [share]
We are now observing throughout our cultural world a resurgence of the cult of the immanence of the occult, within ourselves and within nature. The old Bronze Age realization of a micro-macrocosmic unity is returning, and everywhere all the old arts that were banished are coming back. [share]
In one of the Upanishads it says, when the glow of a sunset holds you and you say "Aha," that is the recognition of the divinity. And when you say 'Aha' to an art object, that is a recognition of divinity. And what divinity is it? It is your divinity, which is the only divinity there is. We are all phenomenal manifestations of a divine will to live, and that will and the consciousness of life is one in all of us, and that is what artwork expresses. [share]
(The Greeks) did not personify that mystery in a being before whom the human spirit should abdicate but, on the contrary, recognized that the supreme manifestation on earth of that same mystery and wonder is the human mind itself, well housed in the beautiful human body. [share]
The priest presents for consideration a compound of inherited forms with the expectation (or at times, even the requirement) that one should interpret and experience them in a certain authorized way, whereas the artist first has an experience of his own, which he then seeks to interpret and communicate through effective forms. Not the forms first and then the experience, but the experience first and then the forms. [share]
I had my first rock and roll experience at a performance of the Grateful Dead. Rock music had always seemed a bore to me, but I can tell you, at that concert, I found eight thousand people standing in mild rapture for five hours. The place was just a mansion of dance. And I thought, "Holy God! Everyone has just lost themselves in everybody else here!" [share]
Some such elementary course in comparative mythology as I have here suggested––conducted, however, by a team of scholar-specialists lecturing in their special fields and separately directing individual student projects––could be put together readily in any one of the major universities. It would serve not only to open to students a view of the whole range of possibilities before them, when they enter as wide-eyed youngsters the enchanted wood of the world's learning, but also to lead them along, through paths of their own choosing, to explorations of its deep groves. [share]