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The Power of Myth (1988)

de Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers (Interviewer)

Altres autors: Betty Sue Flowers (Editor), David Grubin (Pròleg)

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: Power of Myth (companion book)

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Conversations between Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, a television journalist, discussing mythology and our ties to the past.
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The national bestseller, now available in a non-illustrated, standard format paperback edition The Power of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work. A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people--including Star Wars creator George Lucas. To Campbell, mythology was the "song of the universe, the music of the spheres." With Bill Moyers, one of America's most prominent journalists, as his thoughtful and engaging interviewer, The Power of Myth touches on subjects from modern marriage to virgin births, from Jesus to John Lennon, offering a brilliant combination of intelligence and wit. This extraordinary book reveals how the themes and symbols of ancient narratives continue to bring meaning to birth, death, love, and war. From stories of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome to traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, a broad array of themes are considered that together identify the universality of human experience across time and culture. An impeccable match of interviewer and subject, a timeless distillation of Campbell's work, The Power of Myth continues to exert a profound influence on our culture.
  PendleHillLibrary | Mar 9, 2024 |
The national bestseller, now available in a non-illustrated, standard format paperback edition The Power of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work. A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people--including Star Wars creator George Lucas. To Campbell, mythology was the "song of the universe, the music of the spheres." With Bill Moyers, one of America's most prominent journalists, as his thoughtful and engaging interviewer, The Power of Myth touches on subjects from modern marriage to virgin births, from Jesus to John Lennon, offering a brilliant combination of intelligence and wit. This extraordinary book reveals how the themes and symbols of ancient narratives continue to bring meaning to birth, death, love, and war. From stories of the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece and Rome to traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity, a broad array of themes are considered that together identify the universality of human experience across time and culture. An impeccable match of interviewer and subject, a timeless distillation of Campbell's work, The Power of Myth continues to exert a profound influence on our culture.
  PendleHillLibrary | Mar 9, 2024 |
Campbell writes well and draws exciting references into his argument. Classical myths power our thinking is his central thesis, and follows through much of his work. The problem is that this thesis is never really subjected to a rigorous test. And as such this simple general view of myth powering all thoughts fails to solve explain many of the memetic evolutions we have seen in the last 10 years or so. ( )
  yates9 | Feb 28, 2024 |
I had several problems with this book: The interview transcript format did not work for me, there was too much emphasis on Christianity and Star Wars, the illustrations seemed tokenistic, and in some curious way, remarks that should have been timeless seemed dated. But I opened this book with purpose and in some respects, I found the wisdom I was looking for. I had recently returned from an ancient mountain walk in Japan called the Kumano Kodo. I was struck by the number of small shrines to mountain spirits along the way as well as the way sacred space was delineated by gateless tori gates. So I resolved to assemble a shrine to the mountain spirits that surround me, and create a sacred space where I could be open to my feelings of mystery, awe, and humility.
The stages of human development are the same today as they were in ancient times. As a child, you are bought up in a world of discipline, of obedience, and you are dependent on others. All this has to be transcended when you come to maturity, so that you can live not in dependence but in self-responsible authority. If you can’t cross that threshold, you have the basis for neurosis. Then comes the one after you have gained your world, of yielding it – the crisis of dismissal, disengagement. (p.70)
With this comes an awareness that now, as an old man, I disengage from the from the secular dimensions of the world, I am engaging with the spiritual dimensions of my place in it – in nature. .
Moyers: …What does it Mean to have a sacred space? Campbell: This is an absolute necessity for anybody today…This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen. (p.92)
Curiously, Joseph Campbell then asserts that there are no longer any sacred spaces.
Moyers: Where are the sacred places today? Campbell: They don’t exist. (p.94)
( )
  simonpockley | Feb 25, 2024 |
Flawed and opinionated though it may be, Campbell's book was a real impetus for thinking about story and myth. ( )
  mykl-s | Aug 10, 2023 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 65 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Theology and myth are stepsisters of truth. The one probes with questions, the other spins out tales on gossamer threads. But both serve a common mystery.

I was reminded of this recently in reading Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyer's conversation on The Power of Myth. This wonderful book is filled with pictures of Tibetan and Native American art, photographs of aboriginal initiation rites and drawings by William Blake. Adapted from a six-part television series filmed at George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch shortly before Campbell's death, the book moves from the tales of ancient Greece and India to the latest episodes of Rambo and Star Wars. Here the power of story still lives. As Campbell once said, "The latest incarnation of Oedipus, the continued romance of Beauty and the Beast, stands this afternoon on the corner of Forty-second Street and Fifth Avenue, waiting for the traffic light to change."
 

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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Campbell, Josephautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Moyers, BillInterviewerautor principaltotes les edicionsconfirmat
Flowers, Betty SueEditorautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Grubin, DavidPròlegautor secundaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Cathy SaksaDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Grieco, Agneseautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hille, FransTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Larsson, Lars Göranautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Lingiardi, Vittorioautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Tatge, Catherineautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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MOYERS: Why myths?
EDITOR'S NOTE
 
This conversation between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell took place in 1985 and 1986 at George Lucas's SKywalker Ranch and later at the Museum of Natural History in New York.
INTRODUCTION (by Bill Moyers)
 
For weeks after Joseph Campbell died, I was reminded of him just about everywhere I turned.
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MOYERS: What happens when a society no longer embraces a powerful mythology?

CAMPBELL: What we’ve got on our hands. If you want to find out what it means to have a society without any rituals, read the New York Times.

MOYERS: And you’d find?

CAMPBELL: The news of the day, including destructive and violent acts by young people who don’t know how to behave in a civilized society.

MOYERS: Society has provided them no rituals by which they become members of the tribe, of the community. All children need to be twice born, to learn to function rationally in the present world, leaving childhood behind. I think of that passage in the first book of Corinthians: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

CAMPBELL: That’s exactly it. That’s the significance of the puberty rites. In primal societies, there are teeth knocked out, there are scarifications, there are circumcisions, there are all kinds of things done. So you don’t have your little baby body anymore, you’re something else entirely.
      When I was a kid, we wore short trousers, you know, knee pants. And then there was a great moment when you put on long pants. Boys now don’t get that. I see even five-year-olds walking around with long trousers. When are they going to know that they’re now men and must put aside childish things?

MOYERS: Where do the kids growing up in the city—on 125th and Broadway, for example—where do these kids get their myths today?

CAMPBELL: They make them up themselves. This is why we have graffiti all over the city. These kids have their own gangs and their own initiations and their own morality, and they’re doing the best they can. But they’re dangerous because their own laws are not those of the city. They have not been initiated into our society.
MOYERS: Well, I have often wondered, what would a member of a hunting tribe on the North American plains think, gazing up on Michelangelo’s creation!

CAMPBELL: That is certainly not the god of other traditions. In the other mythologies, one puts oneself in accord with the world, with the mixture of good and evil. But in the religious system of the Near East, you identify with the good and fight against the evil. The biblical traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all speak with derogation of the so-called nature religions.

      The shift from a nature religion to a sociological religion makes it difficult for us to link back to nature. But actually all of those cultural symbols are perfectly susceptible to interpretation in terms of the psychological and cosmological systems, if you choose to look at them that way.

      Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck to its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.

MOYERS: What is the metaphor?

CAMPBELL: A metaphor is an image that suggests something else. For instance, if I say to a person, “You are a nut,” I’m not suggesting that I think the person is literally a nut. “Nut” is a metaphor. The reference of the metaphor in religious traditions is to something transcendent that is not literally any thing. If you think that the metaphor is itself the reference, it would be like going to a restaurant, asking for the menu, seeing beefsteak written there, and starting to eat the menu.

      For example, Jesus ascended to heaven. The denotation would seem to be that somebody ascended to the sky. That’s literally what is being said. But if that were really the meaning of the message, then we have to throw it away, because there would have been no such place for Jesus literally to go. We know that Jesus could not have ascended to heaven because there is no physical heaven anywhere in the universe. Even ascending at the speed of light, Jesus would still be in the galaxy. Astronomy and physics have simply eliminated that as a literal, physical possibility. But if you read “Jesus ascended to heaven” in terms of its metaphoric connotation, you see that he has gone inward—not into outer space but into inward space, to the place from which all being comes, into the consciousness that is the source of all things, the kingdom of heaven within. The images are outward, bur their reflection is inward. The point is that we should ascend with him by going inward. It is a metaphor of returning to the source, alpha and omega, of leaving the fixation on the body behind and going to the body’s dynamic source.

MOYERS: Aren’t you undermining one of the great traditional doctrines of the classic Christian faith—that the burial and the resurrection of Jesus prefigures our own?

CAMPBELL : That would be a mistake in the reading of the symbol. That is reading the words in terms of prose instead of in terms of poetry, reading the metaphor in terms of the denoration instead of the connotation.
MOYERS: In classic Christian doctrine the material world is to be despised, and life is to be redeemed in the hereafter, in heaven, where our rewards come. But you say that if you affirm that which you deplore, you are affirming the very world which is our eternity at the moment.

CAMPBELL: Yes, that is what I’m saying. Eternity isn’t some later time. Eternity isn’t even a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now that all thinking in temporal terms cuts off. And if you don’t get it here, you won’t get it anywhere. The problem with heaven is that you will be having such a good time there, you won’t even think of eternity. You’ll just have this unending delight in the beatific vision of God. But the experience of eternity right here and now, in all things, whether thought of as good or as evil, is the function of life.

MOYERS: This is it.

CAMPBELL: This is it.
Fairy tales are for children. Very often they’re about a little girl who doesn’t want to grow up to be a woman. At the crisis of that threshold crossing she’s balking. So she goes to sleep until the prince comes through all the barriers and gives her a reason to think it might be nice on the other side after all. Many of the Grimm tales represent the little girl who is stuck. All of these dragon killings and threshold crossings have to do with getting past being stuck.
      The rituals of primitive initiation ceremonies are all mythologically grounded and have to do with killing the infantile ego and bringing forth an adult, whether it's the girl or the boy. It’s harder for the boy than for the girl, because life overtakes the girl. She becomes a woman whether she intends it or not, but the little boy has to intend to be a man. At the first menstruation, the girl is a woman. The next thing she knows, she’s pregnant, she’s a mother. The boy first has to disengage himself from his mother, get his energy into himself, and then start forth. That’s what the myth of “Young man, go find your father” is all about. In the Odyssey, Telemachus lives with his mother. When he’s twenty years old, Athena comes and says, “Go find your father.” That is the theme all through the stories. Sometimes it’s a mystical father, but sometimes, as here in the Odyssey, it’s the physical father.
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Conversations between Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, a television journalist, discussing mythology and our ties to the past.

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