Flight of the Wild Gander

Are you looking for a quotation that you can't quite place? Trying to track down a hard-to-find publication? Here, folks can help you find the answers, or discuss ways for you to discover them for yourself.

Moderators: Clemsy, Martin_Weyers, Cindy B.

11/17/08
Associate
Posts: 335
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2002 6:00 am
Contact:

Post by 11/17/08 » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I've only read the first essay so far but I already have a question. Campbell used the term "picture-language of the soul" and I was wondering what he meant by that.



On a different note, I am at a point of disagreemnet with Campbell's entire approach to the subject of myth. This has happened a couple of time before but he always manages to pull me right back in. However, it seems to affect my reading of his books to the point of frustration, not because I don't understand what he means, but because I disagree with him so much that I can't really read without being annoyed. My question is: should I put it aside for awhile and take a break?
David_Kudler
Working Associate
Posts: 924
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2001 5:03 am
Location: Mill Valley, California
Contact:

Post by David_Kudler » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

"The picture language of the soul" is, as near as I can tell, another of Campbell's metaphors for the archetypes of the unconscious (discussed at great length elsewhere) as they emerge in the clothes of Bastians 'folk ideas.'



As to whether you should stick with it, that's up to you. There are a number of issues on which I disagree with Campbell, but I find reading his books endlessly thought-provoking. I guess my question is, what is the heart of your disagreement with Campbell? And do you feel like his approach to the subject still has something to teach you?
David Kudler<br>Publications<br>Joseph Campbell Foundation<br>publications at jcf dot org
11/17/08
Associate
Posts: 335
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2002 6:00 am
Contact:

Post by 11/17/08 » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

What I disagree with is his assertion that myth is psychology, a statement he makes in the first essay in the book. I've read the second essay now and he totally disses Durkheim and other socioligists and anthroploogists (though he accepted one of Durkheim's concepts of myth as emotional experience but only because it supported his own claims), which is funny now being that there are those who completely dismiss him.

This is one of not only my, but others as well that he looks for evidence to support his beliefs and dismisses other evidence that doesn't. this may actually be a problem of most academics though; the same is said about James Frazer.



I think I'm going to put it down for now and come back to it. I just don't like reading something when my mind is already made up about it, I want to be open to it. I am also reading a book by Robert Seagal called Theorizing About Myth which gives an overview of all the major theories of myth and I reccommend it for anyone who wants to know the basic ideas behind other theories of myth.
Stone_Giant
Associate
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2002 6:00 am
Location: Warwickshire, England

Post by Stone_Giant » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Nov17

To me the study of myth is actually the analysis of the template of human subconsciousness. A culture's myths reflect its members deepest psychological needs and fears, how can it not be psychology?



11/17/08
Associate
Posts: 335
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2002 6:00 am
Contact:

Post by 11/17/08 » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

You are just regurgitating Campbell's stuff. In your opinion it is psychology, there are several other opininons out there. When you go read some and still keep yours then that is atleast something.
Guest

Post by Guest » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am



<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Tree Hugger on 2002-06-22 21:40 ]</font>
twokay
Associate
Posts: 377
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2002 6:00 am
Location: Canada

Post by twokay » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Heres a flip flop back to the Laws of Confusion Discussion quoted equals......







Do we or are we prone to view confusion or mystery as having a sinister bent as something to be overcome but not something perhaps to be experienced as an enitity as its self.



------------------------------------------------------------------------

              

twokay





Joined: Feb 05, 2002

Posts: 162 Posted: 2002-02-05 14:14   

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I dont know how familiar some are with Roberts Rules of Order..... but they reflect the need for the mind and self to render its Universe in understandable terms.... yet as I age the ability to be more comfortable with confusion, ambiguity and contradiction seems to play an ever increasing role. It is as though the time of youth is a time of certainty and laying down of order yet such order is of fallicious nature and the Universe is ruled by a comfortable chaos.



------------------------------------------------------------------------

              

twokay





Joined: Feb 05, 2002

Posts: 162 Posted: 2002-02-06 08:25   

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Confusion afterall has it word roots in the very noble beginnings of Confusious who perhaps personified an understanding much ahead of his time. The Tao is a noble tradition afterall though what is novel is sometimes seen as anarchistic.



------------------------------------------------------------------------

              

David_Kudler





Joined: Jan 13, 2002

Posts: 177

From: Mill Valley, California

Posted: 2002-02-06 09:16   

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mind-tickling as your word-derivation is, I'm pretty sure 'confusion' comes from a latin root, not from Kang Fu Tse (Confucius). Pretty sure.



Campbell talks a lot about there being two purposes to mythic rites and religious meditation (these fall under what he called the first function of mythology). One is to give a comprehensible shape to the mysterium tremendum, the unknowable, transecendent source of awe. The other--he quotes St. Ignatius on this, I think--is to protect us from the full experience of that awe.



Kind of ties in with what you're talking about, no?

_________________

David Kudler

Publishing Director

Joseph Campbell Foundation

publications at jcf dot org

(take out the spaces and replace the "at" with "@" and the "dot" with ".")



------------------------------------------------------------------------

              

twokay





Joined: Feb 05, 2002

Posts: 162 Posted: 2002-02-06 10:41   

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I apologize for my misinformation the Latinized form of Confucius is Kung Fu-tse Kung being .....Master. Unfortuneately we are restricted to talking or communicating in words when perhaps meanings true intent is found in tone. My intent was to suggest that confusion is not something to necessarily be feared as such as is our predisposed reflex but something to be experienced and examined with the same curiosity as other phenomenum. This can be done by anticipating it prescence and allowing a certain time for its experience. What afterall is the true nature of confusion or controlled folly in Castenadas reference.



------------------------------------------------------------------------

              

MP





Joined: Feb 08, 2002

Posts: 3 Posted: 2002-02-08 10:46   

------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'd like to qualify what was said in an earlier post about youth being a time of certainty -- I think maybe young adulthood would be the time when we start looking for it. As someone said in the thread about myths and early childhood education, young children often have a much greater tolerance for ambuguity--confusion, if you will--than adults.



Maybe we should be concerned not be waking the 'mythological mind" but not putting it to sleep in the first place.



------------------------------------------------------------------------

           

twokay





Joined: Feb 05, 2002

Posts: 162 Posted: 2002-02-08 12:36   

------------------------------------------------------------------------

How many of are certaintys perhaps though are simply assumptions. I choose to give thanks for each sunrise.... not knowing perhaps only to myself if it is my last or the last one. Cat Stevens had a song expressive of this tone. "But I might die tonight" Yes it would probably give society less progress but more thanks to the forces of this "Unfathonable Universe" that we tend to take for granted. Whether we are ambigous or not I think the point is that there is more than meets the eye in most if not all substance and form.

See Poem: About School



------------------------------------------------------------------------

              

RICHARDT





Joined: Mar 04, 2002

Posts: 4

From: England

Posted: 2002-03-06 06:11   

------------------------------------------------------------------------

The eye is but one tool by which we try to makes sense of our physical experience. It is a powerful one, yes, but only maybe because we over exercise it at the expense of the others.

look at Modigliani's eyeless figures, they still know you are there.



------------------------------------------------------------------------

           
Stone_Giant
Associate
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2002 6:00 am
Location: Warwickshire, England

Post by Stone_Giant » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Nov 17

I didn't mean to sound dismissive - just interested in other interpretations, hence the question. Checking your 2nd post I see reference to a book by Robert Seagal. We have a saying in IT support that you may have heard - "RTFM" i.e. Read The F****** Manual -I guess it's time to take my own advice. Ciao SG
11/17/08
Associate
Posts: 335
Joined: Mon Mar 18, 2002 6:00 am
Contact:

Post by 11/17/08 » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

In the course of writing yet another paper I to started to come back to the psychological interpretation of myth. It was a Freudian and not a Jungian that led me back a little. In a short essay on Cinderella, Bruno Bettelheim mentions Djuna Barnes statement that children understand fairy tales in two ways. The first is an unconscious understanding of something in the story, say a little boy likes the idea of Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf in bed but cannot explain why; and the second is a conscious understanding that the child is able to explain. He goes on to say something similar to Campbell that fairy tales (myths for Campbell) have something to do with childish fantasies or impulses. The difference I see is merely the difference between myth and fairy tale, the child's story and the adult's story. Fairy tales are in a form that is easily comprehended by a child, like a nursery rhyme. Myths are adult stories. Both involve the socialization of the intended audience into the larger group. 
David_Kudler
Working Associate
Posts: 924
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2001 5:03 am
Location: Mill Valley, California
Contact:

Post by David_Kudler » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

November--

That's a really interesting point. Campbell says that myth is a womb that we need to be born out of--an adult marsupium, or to use his phrase, "a womb with a view." It's easy to forget, but he felt (and it makes sense) that the purpose of myths was to give you metaphors and symbols with which to make sense of the universe, until such time as one doesn't need the metaphors any more. Of course, most of us never quite reach that point. :smile:



I think his most direct statement on the subject is in Bios and Mythos, one of the essays in Flight of the Wild Gander that annoyed you so much--if memory serves. (More on that later.)



Anyway, Campbell has this to say:
"Man," as Adolf Portmann of Basel vividly phrases it, "is the incomplete creature whose style of

life is the historical process determined by a tradition."31 He is congenitally dependent on society

and society, commensurably, is both oriented to and derived from the distinctive psychosomatic

structure of man. This structure, furthermore, is rooted not in any local landscape, with its

economic-political potentials, but in the germa of a widely distributed biological species. Whether

on the ice of Baffin Land or in the jungles of Brazil, building temples in Siam or cafés in Paris,

"civilization," as Dr. Róheim shows, "originates in delayed infancy and its function is security. It

is a huge network of more or less successful attempts to protect mankind against the danger of

object-loss, the colossal efforts made by a baby who is afraid of being left alone in the dark."32 In

such a context, the symbolical potentialities, of the various environments are at least as important

as the economic; symbolism, the protection of the psyche, no less necessary than the nourishment

of the soma. Society, as a fostering organ, is thus a kind of exterior "second womb," wherein the

postnatal stages of man's long gestation—much longer than that of any other placental-are

supported and defended.



[...]



Rites, then, together with the mythologies that support them, constitute the second womb, the

matrix of the postnatal gestation of the placental Homo sapiens. This fact, moreover, has been

known to the pedagogues of the race, certainly since the period of the Upanishads, and probably

since that of the Aurignacian caves.[...]

In India, the objective is to be born from the womb of myth, not to remain in it, and the one who

has attained to this "second birth" is truly the "twice born," freed from the pedagogical devices of

society, the lures and threats of myth, the local mores, the usual hopes of benefits and rewards.

He is truly "free" (mukti), "released while living" (jivan mukti); he is that reposeful "superman"

who is man perfected though in our kindergarten of libidinous misapprehensions he moves like a

being from another sphere.
Now, this essay was originally written for a celebratory volume for the sixtieth birthday of ethnologist Geza Róheim, Campbell's associate and mentor; therefore Campbell is softpedaling some of his own ideas in deference to those of Róheim, who (like Bettelheim) was a hard-core Freudian—everything is about sex and Mom. Campbell once said something along the lines (I can't find the quote) of "Freud takes us up through puberty; Jung takes us the rest of the way." So, as you suggest, Freud (and the folktale) are stories for childhood, while Jung (and myth) are stories for the adult.
Mark H.
Associate
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2002 5:00 am
Location: WV

Post by Mark H. » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I will agree that there are some things about Campbell's writing that I disagree with, but for me, that's ok. I'm willing to take what I need for the moment, and leave the rest, chalking it up to Campbell's humanness. For instance, as a counselor working with drug addicted felons, I can see their journey to freedom and recovery as a type of "Hero's Journey". But, being a Cognitive-Behaviorist at heart, I must take with a grain of salt Campbell's Freudian views, espoused so much in his 'Hero with a Thousand Faces'. Although I am not quite clear on the disagreement that November 17 has with Campbell, I think I can sympathize. And yes, when I get tired of reading something I don't agree with, I put it down for a while. (hopefully before I get too disgusted and throw it down!)

Mark
David_Kudler
Working Associate
Posts: 924
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2001 5:03 am
Location: Mill Valley, California
Contact:

Post by David_Kudler » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Always best not to throw! (I remember having to read The Sorrows of Young Werther as a college freshman and finding myself tossing the book against the wall every ten pages or so. I should go back and reread that one.... :wink:)



Although The Hero with a Thousand Faces, like some of the essays in Flight of the Wild Gander comes from a relatively early phase in Campbell's career, when he was more interested in Freud's theories. As his career progressed, Campbell never totally discounted Freud's contribution, but he became more and more a supporter of Jung's views on psychology and myth. See the discussions in The Call to Adventure for some discussion of Campbell's use of Jung's theory of the Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious.



As for November's objection to Campbell's theories, I don't wish to speak for him, but he seems to find fault with Campbell's reliance on an almost purely psychological approach to mythology and religion. Nov. is (if memory serves) a religious studies student and has enlivened our discussions with a wonderful wealth of information from non-Campbellian schools of thought on the subject.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: David_Kudler on 2002-07-16 22:43 ]</font>
Brian Welling
Associate
Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Apr 21, 2004 10:53 pm
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Post by Brian Welling » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

What was Campbell's criticism of Durkheim? And does anybody know what, if anything, he ever said about Levi-Strauss?
Brian Welling<br><br>"If we were consciously aware of what we really know about ourselves and others, we could not go on living as we do, accepting so many lies." - Erich Fromm<br>
Robert G.
Associate
Posts: 292
Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:48 pm

Post by Robert G. » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I too have some disagreements with Campbell's interpretations, especially where the line between psychology and metaphysics seems to me to become blurred. However I think I am in basic agreement with him on most major points. Long before encountering Campbell I noticed the same thing he said started him on his career, the similarities and parallels in different religions. I find his arguments of diffusion and psychology the most compelling in explaining this phenomenon. I'm aware and have read others, but am not convinced by them, and I'm curious which November17 finds more compelling.

Also, though Campbell emphasized the psychological interpretation, especially in his earlier works, he repeatedly points out four functions that mythology serves:
1) the mystical
2) the cosmological
3) the sociological
4) the pedagogical

You could say that Campbell interprets all these in terms of psychology, but I think that most properly belongs to #4. The mystical element in terms of metaphysics is at least as signifigant in his work (and yes, there is a distinction between metaphysics and psychology). 2 and 3 are less stressed in his work but are certainly there. Had his primary interest been caught by sociology instead of psychology I can imagine his work being written in the terms of the sociologist, but saying the same thing.
David_Kudler
Working Associate
Posts: 924
Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2001 5:03 am
Location: Mill Valley, California
Contact:

Post by David_Kudler » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

Brad--

Alas, the best I can do in terms of giving you a sense of the source of Campbell's objection to Durkheim (not to be confused with Durckheim) is to quote from Flight of the WIld Gander itself (from the article "Bios and Mythos"):
Tylor, Frazer, and the other comparative anthropologists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries likewise recognized the obvious constancy in mankind's Elementary Ideas. Franz Boas, for example, in the first edition of his early work, The Mind of Primitive Man, 4 stated without qualification that “in the main the mental characteristics of man are the same all over the world”; and that “certain patterns of associated ideas may be recognized in all types of culture.”5 But these avowals were expunged from his second, “revised” (actually, recomposed) edition;6 for the vogue had by that time begun of stressing differences, even to the point of denying correspondences, between the dialects of the common human language.
We owe this new tendency in large measure to the muddleheaded Emile Durkheim. Read his confused discussion of Kant's a priori forms of sensibility,7 and his quackery about the distinction between the Zuni and European experiences of space,? and the shallowness of his whole parody of profundity will be apparent! The entire culturalist movement in our contemporary Anglo-American anthropological literature is touched with this Durkheimian myopia. Bronislaw Malinowski's misreading of Sigmund Freud's technical term “Oedipus complex” and his refutation, then, of his own misconception added new dignity to the movement,8 which in the midnineteen thirties culminated in a kind of professorial curia, dedicated to the proposition that mankind is not a species but indefinitely variable dough, shaped by a self-creating demiurge, “Society.” The idea that man may have a psychological as well as physical character was anathematized ex cathedra as “mystical.”†
The curia's characteristic mistake, specifically, has been that of confusing function with morphology—as though a congress of zoologists, studying the wing of the bat, the flipper of the whale, the foreleg of the rat, and the arm of man, should not know that these organs, though shaped to differing functions, are structurally homologous, and were to suppose that the wing of the bat might be compared, morphologically, with that of a butterfly, the flipper of a whale with the fin of a trout, the leg of a rat with that of a beetle, and the arm of a man with that of a lobster. Skipping the first task of a comparative science—that, namely, of distinguishing precisely the sphere of analogy from that of homology—these students of mankind proceeded to the second task—that of the monograph; and the result has been a complete dismemberment of what, at the opening of our century, promised to become a science.
I don't know if this is helpful.

Robert--We had a rather heated debate here early on about whether Campbell favored a psychological or metaphysical view of his subject: Campbell: Pscyhological vs. Metaphysical in the Call to Adventure. After much discussion, I think I can honestly say we came to no firm conclusion. But you might find it interesting to review the thread.
David Kudler<br>Publications<br>Joseph Campbell Foundation<br>publications at jcf dot org
Locked