Joseph Campbell is one of the few people I would call a sage. He is known for his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces in which he talks about the archetypical Hero's Journey. He was spreading the wisdom which he had learned about the human experience through myths, his work was also influenced by Jung. Campbell himself greatly influenced George Lucas in creating Star Wars. Campbell understood the symbolical image of the original cultures and religions, thus also realizing their true meaning. He saw an impersonal force behind all reality, such as Hindus would see Brahman. In the West that would be personalized as God. Yet that mysterious transcendent reality is beyond all language and human comprehension.
I have seen this series a few times over the years and it has been profound, I was surprised to see it just uploaded for free on Youtube and watched it again. Every time I have gained some new insights from watching this short series, I hardly can recommend it enough for people who wish to understand humanity and life.
"Heaven and hell are within us, and all the gods are within us. This is the great realization of the Upanishads of India in the ninth Century B.C. All the gods, all the heavens, all the world, are within us. They are magnified dreams, and dreams are manifestations in image form of the energies of the body in conflict with each other. That is what myth is. Myth is a manifestation in symbolic images, in metaphorical images, of the energies of the organs of the body in conflict with each other. This organ wants this, that organ wants that. The brain is one of the organs."
"The psyche is the inward experience of the human body, which is essentially the same in all human beings, with the same organs, the same instincts, the same impulses, the same conflicts, the same fears. Out of this common ground have come what Jung has called the archetypes, which are the common ideas of myths."
"Mythology is not a lie, mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth--penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words. Beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told.”
"People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive."
~ Joseph Campbell
Episode 1: The Hero's AdventureForty years ago, renowned scholar Joseph Campbell sat down with veteran journalist Bill Moyers for a series of interviews that became one of the most enduringly popular programs ever on PBS. In dialogues that adroitly span millennia of history and far-flung geography, the two men discuss myths as metaphors for human experience and the path to transcendence, touching on topics as diverse as world religion, the virgin birth, and pop culture. Filmed at George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch and New York’s American Museum of Natural History and, this series demonstrates that, despite superficial differences between cultures, all stories are humanity’s story.
"Joseph Campbell encourages the audience to discover what excites them, and to make that the basis for their personal journeys."
Episode 2: The Message of the Myth
"In this episode of The Power of Myth Bill and mythologist Joseph Campbell compare creation myths from the Bible and elsewhere."
Episode 3: The First Storytellers
"Joseph Campbell explains how ancient myths bring humans to understand and accept birth, growth and death."
Episode 4: Sacrifice and Bliss
"Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell discuss where heroism can be witnessed in modern society."
Episode 5: Love and the Goddess
"Joseph Campbell traces the beginning of love, as we think of it today, to twelfth-century troubadours."
Episode 6: Masks of Eternity
"Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell discuss the common experience of God across cultures."