Who is Joseph Campbell?
Joseph John Campbell (March 26, 1904 – October 30, 1987) was an American mythologist, writer and lecturer, best known for his work in comparative mythology and comparative religion. His work covers many aspects of the human experience. His philosophy is often summarized by his phrase: “Follow your bliss.”
One of his most memorable works was actually a series of interviews with Bill Moyers in a 1988 PBS documentary entitled, “The Power of Myth.” Henceforth, a myriad of deeply insightful and profound quotes were gifted to the viewers of that series.
Let’s revisit some of the most impactful nuggets of wisdom straight from Joe Campbell:
But if you will think of ourselves as coming out of the earth, rather than having been thrown in here from somewhere else, you see that we are the earth, we are the consciousness of the earth. These are the eyes of the earth. And this is the voice of the earth.
What am I? Am I the bulb that carries the light, or am I the light of which the bulb is a vehicle?
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.
Poets are simply those who have made a profession and a lifestyle of being in touch with their bliss.
(on what time is) Our experience, yeah. But the ultimate, unqualified mystery is beyond human experience. It becomes inflected… there is a condescension on the part of the infinite to the mind of man, and that is what looks like God.
One could say that the images of myth are reflections of spiritual and depth potentialities of every one of us and that through contemplating those, we evoke those powers in our own lives… to operate through ourselves.
-Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth