Artist as Hero

Discussion of Joseph Campbell's work with an emphasis on the personal creative impulse as well as the sociological role of the artist in today's global community.

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tspillan
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Artist as Hero

Post by tspillan » Tue Nov 10, 2009 3:49 pm

Hi all,

I'm currently looking at a book called, Istanbul: Memories and the City, the autobiography of a very great modern novelist and Nobel Prize winner, Orhan Pamuk. The work, which is a beautiful blend of fact and fiction, really is a contemporary portrait of the artist, following the same journey taken on by Stephen Dedalus in Joyce's, A Portrait. I was struck by Pamuk's remarks in an interview following his Nobel Prize ceremony (available for viewing here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWJ-iXr3cmI) where he describes the writer's journey as identical to the classic hero round put forward by Campbell in, The Hero- i.e., separation, initiation, return. The hero, shaman, schizophrenic, lsd tripper, and artist can all be said to have taken a journey into the depths of the unconscious, or the depths of the soul, as Pamuk says. While Campbell has noted in his lecture, The Inward Journey, that often the schizophrenic cannot find his way back out of those depths, and as was pointed out here (www.jcf.org/new/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1 ... sc&start=0), the shaman would likely be diagnosed as lost in this sense by the modern analyst, the artist is able to tap into the unconscious world, glean from it new wisdom, and return to share the boon with humanity.

I've had some trouble however, finding quotes from Campbell directly comparing the artist's journey into the unknown with those of the monomyth hero, shaman, and/or schizophrenic. Where, if anywhere does Campbell make this point? Where does Campbell discuss the artist as hero ?
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Post by Myrtle » Tue Nov 10, 2009 5:31 pm

Hi tspillan,

In Pathways to Bliss Chapter VI "The Self as Hero" Campbell reviews the hero's journey (beginning on page 112), and describes an artist's journey as an example (beginning on page 119).
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Post by tspillan » Thu Nov 12, 2009 3:29 pm

Hi Myrtle,

Thanks for the response- I coincidentally just came across Campbell discussing the very same thing in a piece from the JC Audio Collection- I believe it was from Myths and Masks of God. It may have been the lecture that the Pathways chapter is based on. In "Interpreting Symbolic Forms" he discusses Master's and Huston's, Varieties of Psychedelic Experience, defining the various levels of the psyche that people on acid trips and schizophrenics delve into. He argues that it's in the 1st level that the artist gains material for his work. He calls it the "realm of the artist, the level of "aesthetic arrest." This, he says, represents "the awakening of the senses to the world," where "every phenomenon is perceived as a gate to the eon of the gods."

Pretty good stuff! He finishes the point by quoting William Blake's, Marriage of Heaven and Hell: "When the doors of perception are cleansed, man will see things as they truly are, infinite."

I'd love to hear more on the topic if people have other references to share. Thanks again for marking the path to Pathways.
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Post by randallhall » Wed Nov 18, 2009 4:56 am

You might be interested in JC's essay “Mythological Themes in Creative Literature and Art”, originally in a collection called "Myths, Dreams, and Religion" and reprinted in the JC collection called "The Mythic Dimension". He discusses the ideas of Proper and Improper art based on Joyce's Portrait.
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Post by tspillan » Fri Nov 20, 2009 12:16 pm

Hi Randallhall,

Thanks for the lead- I just read it. Campbell's discussion of the artist in relation to the clergy was really useful:

“The priest presents for consideration a compound of inherited forms… with the expectation 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.”

The great hero act of the artist is the creation of new myths- he goes on an inward journey, actually experiences myths and returns to convey them through his art. The clergy then hijacks his myths, making them dogma, and continues to use them long after they loose the validity they had when originally conceived. Thanks again.
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Post by Aquiessa » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:57 pm

I really like this topic. I'm going to ponder it a bit and then I'll enter the conversation. Thanks for posting this. I think this discussion is needed. :)
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Post by Ercan2121 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:26 pm

There's a beautiful passage in POM about artists and society; he refers to oldtime shamans and answers the old question about the source of creative ideas (the folk or talented individual). Please take a look.
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Post by Bhagavan Das » Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:55 am

“Nothing is coincidental when it comes to mental activity”
– Freud


Freud books were burned, Herbert Spenser was road builder, Spinoza was dammed and excommunicated, Dostoyevsky was in front of execution squad, Aristotle had to run so he doesn’t end up like Socrates, Sartre wrote his masterpiece in jail. Copernicus, Gandhi and Jesus shared Prometheus’s destiny. They were punished for bringing the light. As if human animal as some sociologists refer to humans is afraid of light. Fusion into oneness begins with realization of – Insufficiency of Linear Thinking, then it leads to insufficiency of philosophical materialism and idealism in itself. Synthesizing those two would be ultimate philosophical task and challenge, its considered impossible, resolving it would be mayor metaphysical brake through, new ripple in expansion of consciousness, unifying multiple patterns of perception. It requires grasping individual perspectives and looking for common correlative denominator , multiperspectivnes that goes beyond subjectivity of singular perspective , correlation among singular , linear objectivity into multiperspective objectivity and oneness, oneness that eliminates relativism, speculative, guessing, need for Kierkegaard’s leap of faith, and superstition. Insufficiency of a linear thinking - Society, social organism , is unsustainable if it’s not adaptable to new realities, there is no written in the stone ideology, “everything is changing except law of change” – Plato/ JFK, that doesn’t mean individual or societal characterless, unethical chameleonising inability to adapt and maladjustment. Societies fail because their inability to recognize necessity of ideological flexibility, linear thinking and linear ideology dries up, dies, losses its vitality, its dynamics. If nervous system of social organism that is government fails to response to peripheral two way communication with the brain, brain itself is malfunctioning. Unresponsive brain is self-servings governmental body that is allowing its extremities legs and hands to be functional under atrophy. “All evil results from the non-adaptation of constitution to conditions. This is true of everything that lives.”(Part I, Ch. 2: The Evanescence of Evil, § 1- Herbert Spencer)
If a single cell, under appropriate conditions, becomes a man in the space of a few years, there can surely be no difficulty in understanding how, under appropriate conditions, a cell may, in the course of untold millions of years, give origin to the human race.
Vol. I, Part III: The Evolution of Life, Ch. 3 : General Aspects of the Evolution Hypothesis;- Herbert Spencer
Every man is free to do that which he wills, provided he infringes not the equal freedom of any other man.
Ch. 6, The Formula of Justice - Herbert Spencer

Realty is not shopping center where one can go and pick and choose, and some shallow attempts and interpretations are doing just that.
There is insufficiency of linear thinking, necessity for multiperspective and there is observing subject meter from within and from without and science tends to observe from outside, relying entirely on rational analytical dry thinking, that is component of soul, not its entirety.
Rationalism of Scientific materialism and diminished spirituality as Zeitgeist’s condition, friction between science and spiritual are not mutually exclusive and can exist perfectly next to each other. This friction is in until recently organize religions rejection of Evolutionary theory, and scientific entrapment into metaphysical materialism, recognizable in multiple conflicts like in magnitude of Freud’s impact on culture like almost every movement in art after him was influenced by him, surrealism perhaps being one of the most adequate examples, yet in “Future of Delusion” his scientific/materialistic mind set falls short to recognize importance of spiritual perspective, if its recognized that spirituality is coming from neurotisised mind, it’s necessary to recognize that sublimation of libido is intentional neurotisation in order to develop soul, self-control and character. There is hint in Habermas’s exit out of postmodernistic discourse is return to Modernistic structure, depth and reason as guidance over organized chaos of postmodernistic shallowness. Perhaps one of the strongest pro spiritual reasoning would be that multiple cultures separated from each other have overlapping perception of reality regardless of their metaphoric differing, they defer in symbols used to describe spiritual categories but not in its nature. Recognizing those antagonisms within science itself without naively disregarding it because there is component or two that seems not to fit a whole , then reconciling and recognizing of comparative religion that there are as a matter of fact minor differences rather than other way around, then reconciling science and spirituality would be where light of a reason is leading us.
“If you want to understand something you need to take soul out” – Goethe, what science if forgetting is to put it back in. Materialistic understanding over-rationalizes life and humans to- mater that moves, life is still a miracle in itself. That eliminates will and consciousness that are unquestionable and reduces human race to just another bacteria with significant, unignorable potential of destroying itself and all life with it. Its old news that humans can destroy Earth 40 times over. Without consciousness or with diminished consciousness swallowed by instinctual subconscious chances are even bigger. It’s estimated that consciousness is one third of psyche and two third is unconsciousness. If consciousness individual and collective is unable to recognize its self-destructive potential.
Then there is Fromm’s “In past danger for a man was to become slave, in future robot”. With diminished spirituality of today is there a conflict between postmodern world and spirit and is there a danger of despiritualization altogether.
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Post by Bhagavan Das » Fri Dec 09, 2011 6:35 pm

schizophrenic is characteristic of contemporary post-modernism and is schizophrenic like because its reflecting external not internal reality as it has been analyzed by post-modernistic philosophers
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Post by Clemsy » Fri Dec 09, 2011 7:38 pm

Bhagavan Das,

Please make sure your posts follow the thread of the topic. I cannot make any sense in terms of 'artist as hero' in your post. I would also advise trying to be clearer as the rambling nature of this, and some of your other posts, distract from the topics focus. Indeed, we would far prefer that you do not simply cut and paste writings from elsewhere, which is the case with some of your posts.

As a new and welcome member to these fora, please make sure you read the Forum Guidelines.

Thanks for your cooperation.

Cheers,
Clemsy
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Post by gum drop » Sun Apr 28, 2013 1:50 am

Jung talks about this artist don't need religion, they understand being a creator...

also see Otto Rank, Art and Artist.........jackpot on this subject

also Lewis Hyde, The Gift....

I am finding these as therapy for myself in an art ed. program run by a jesus freak PHD whose wife got him a job, as good Lutherans do based on who you know not qualifications,
yuk I am ready to drop out but almost done.......
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Post by jcastellote » Tue Aug 06, 2013 7:56 pm

Hello,
As a musician I find this topic fascinating, but hugely complex. Considering that the conventional approach of music, and I think art in general, training seems to be contradictory to what JC talks about. The way I see it, our institutions are training artists in a similar way that seminars train clergy i.e. superficially understanding forms to then present them to an audience so that they “interpret them and experience them in a certain authorized way.” JC. This has been my experience as a classically trained musician. It was until I was in grad school that I started questioning the meaning of art, its purpose, and the mystery of it all. This was just a huge preface to my question: Does anyone know of a school, academy, social movement, etc. that is focused on teaching and presenting, music in particular, based on spiritual (Artist as Hero) principles? I have been looking for models to follow as I discover my own path. Do you know of any musicians that have popular appeal, who are concerned with this subject?

I hope this makes sense, and that I’m not going out of the thread.

Thank you.
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