Did Joseph Campbell convert?

Who was Joseph Campbell? What is a myth? What does "Follow Your Bliss" mean? If you are new to the work of Joseph Campbell, this forum is a good place to start.

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

Well done, JR. I would say, perhaps, we all go back to/become/are the Conductor. We get another assignment, more sheet music and return to the orchestra.

Metaphorically speaking, of course.

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

It's probably best if Tree Hugger starts the new thread as her name will appear in the relevant column. Her name is likely to attract more viewers and posters like bees to honey. I'm less well known.

Her thread a little below this one, "Campbell: Psychological v Metaphysical"
has had 311 replies and 5470 views. My thread, "Girls on Tour: an example of Follow Your Bliss", which is a little below hers and so presumably older has had the grand total of 5 replies 87 viewings!! No contest methinks!

Also I'm not sure how to transfer the relevant postings from this thread to the new one! I would suggest all the ones starting with your quotation from the Power of Myth (perhaps excluding my somewhat frivolous posting that followed afterwards that mentions peak experiences and also my current posting)

Titles

Death - the undiscovered country?

or

Reincarnation - old wine into new bottles. Fact or symbol?

or ??

By the way - glad you made it back to this plane!

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

Ivor Orr,
threads with only a few replies are not necessarily less worth than those with 20 pages or more. The value of a thread does not depend on quantity, but on your personal benefit.

Tree Hugger,
you're right, near death experiences can not supply evidence for afterlife. They provide a rich SYMBOLIC world. But symbolic for what? And out of which psychic abyss do these image arise? Here lies the mystery! It's much more mysterious than scepticists like Sagan believe, but the personages you are meeting while you are experiencing "near death" are symbolical representations, no question about it.

JR,
the music/instrument metaphor is a very nice metaphor and is capable of illustrating a real Campbellian view, because it can be related both to life as dance and cosmos as symphony - two of Professor Joe's favourite metaphors. In my opinion we (= our bodies) are the instruments, but at the same time we (= our "true selves") are the music, or at least the harmonies. I don't believe in a composer, not even in a conductor. But I believe in the music, and that it's our job to transform the sounds and harmonies into rhythms and melodies. To play our instrument is our job, not that of anyone else.





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

Martin, if you've never read Tolkien's creation story you really should try it. It's the first story in the Silmarillion, can't remember the name at the moment and my kid has the book upstairs.

In it the universe was created by Illuvatar as music, from beginning to end, then revealed in the field of time and space. It's really quite a beautiful story. I far prefer it to Genesis, with which it has many parallels.
but the personages you are meeting while you are experiencing "near death" are symbolical representations, no question about it.
Ooooh.. careful with that 'no question about it'! Who knows? Many are confident in the reverse. Who am I to say otherwise? As you say, being the music is more important anyway. Later on is a dream, and after death the most nebulous one.

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

On 2003-03-07 20:26, Clemsy wrote:
... being the music is more important anyway. Later on is a dream, and after death the most nebulous one.
Yes, it's nebulous, Clemsy, and I have had only a few flashes of clear light in the realms of mist so far. And it's no good to conduct in the mist.

Do you know the chapter "The symbol without meaning" in FLIGHT OF THE WILD GANDER? I'm neither a religious believer, nor I'm a scepticist. When I say "ONLY symbolical", I MEAN "only symbolical". When I say "mystery" I MEAN a Mystery. But the images are projected, no other way to deal with the last things. Eternity is an empty bottle, believe me. Nothing but mist in it. What is mysterious, is the projector, just you and me. Every image we are able to create, is borrowed from everyday's experience. It's only an allusion to eternity, like the apparition of Mom.

If we want to continue this discussion (and it would be worth doing it), than we should start a new thread. It's not proper to speculate über die letzten Dinge in general, in a thread that was started to illuminate Campbell's last minutes. They belong to him.

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Post by JR » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

The way I see it, death is as a nebulous dream to life in the same way that waking life is as a nebulous to the dreamer. The appropriate cliche is "Perhaps our perception of life is the dream and all else is reality." Maybe there's more truth to that than cliche. I think if you took a straw pole of the accociates, you'd find most of us have had experiences that have tested our boundaries, perhaps even enough to begin questioning where reality stops and something else begins. Of course in order to do that you have to first define reality. Some of us skip the experience all together (more likely ignore it) and jump right into the defining.

This is essentially where Campbell began, being exposed to the scientific discoveries of the 20th century lead him to an irreconcilable rift between what he saw as logical scientific fact, and a religious doctrine that stated otherwise. Since the religions of the world weren't about to change their beliefs for him, I don't see how he could ever have reconstructed his faith in the face of his own knowledge. To me this also explains his aversion to remaining in the East and attaining enlightenment. How could he do so without throwing away totally his understanding of modern science. He was, in the end, bound to the temporal. Yet, not in the way most people are bound, that is in Samsara. I think it was his belief that science would somehow find a way of reconciling that rift between itself and religious doctrine, it just hadn't done so yet.

Maybe he did have some unexplanable experiences that spurred him on, I like to think so. I myself have had several, and it is my understanding of science today that leads me to believe that there may yet be an explaination just 'round the corner that goes beyond the psychological to the physical. Or maybe the cliche <i><b>is</b></i> right and the answers will be found when we treat the psycic as a wavelength of the physic.
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Post by Quantum Entanglement » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

After reading many threads on these forums, I am most struck by how very many of us with differing beliefs have found a resonant chord in Joseph Campbell. I think that was exactly his intention.

It is my observation that Campbell was always the student, the researcher, and once he began lecturing and publishing, the teacher. But, as far as I can tell, never the believer.

To the point: When Campbell speaks of any particular story, or myth, he brings to it the perspective and the passion of a true believer. The stories are told as one who lived and believed them. That is the role of a great teacher. And it is this aspect that I think many people misinterpret Campbell's intentions. They are not his personal beliefs, however they are worded, but are intended to yield the experience of the story as being alive. I have seem people on these forums quote Campbell's work, then attribute them as his personal beliefs. I don't think that is the case at all, and in fact are doing his work a disservice.

His gifts were that he could discuss any religion with anybody on their terms, usually with greater knowledge. He could translate the language of one religion into the language of another. So when he speaks of reincarnation, he is discussing how that concept can be related in other religions, and perhaps how they can be interpreted as a human quality, but not from a viewpoint of an actual reality.

Whenever he was questioned about his personal beliefs, he was quite firm in the idea that science had dispelled all of the concepts of religion based metaphysics, and eventually, science could point the way to the realities of our lives (which is how I picked my handle, from an interesting theory, life is a quantum entanglement). It seems obvious to me that he was convinced that the source of every religion and spiritual quest came from within, and felt that all humans shared the potential of that quest. The one thing about him I do know is that he believed in himself. We should all be so lucky.

As a tribute to him, now that his time with us is past, from watching his televised conversations, I can find his charisma and gift of storytelling in his books. While reading them, I try to add in his voice and love of his work, as if I could heard him speaking the words he wrote (It doesn't hurt that his voice sounds remarkably like my own grandfather, who passed in the same year). He is a remarkable man in that, if nothing else, he bought the likes of us together :smile:
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Post by JR » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

I do exactly the same thing David, Prof Joe had one of the great unique voices and coupled it with a great storytelling rythm, full of enthusiasm and confidence. I know it was definitely his intention to draw as diverse a crowd of people to him as he could, if for no other reason than to validate the crux of his theories of universal nythic archetypes. Frankly the diversity in this forum and on this site is one of the JCF's most attractive aspects (at least to me).

BTW great name.
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Post by Poncho » Fri Feb 23, 2007 3:22 am

The “Answers to Correspondents” page of today’s Daily Mail produced this:

What’s the most shocking revelation somebody has made on their deathbed?

Answer:
ONE of the most shocking deathbed confessions was supposedly that of Charles Darwin, the man who gave the world the theory of evolution. According to some reports in the U.S., his last moments were witnessed by Lady Hope, who claimed that just before he died she heard him confess his errors to God. Darwin’s daughter, Henrietta, later dismissed these reports as inaccurate.
Press HERE for an article on the subject.

No doubt Jean Erdman would feel sympathy for Darwin’s daughter.

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

There's a funny story about Goethe's last words on his death bed, Ivor. Since his voice was not very articulated anymore, there was a dispute going on afterwards: Some of those who were present, when Goethe died, said his last words were "Mehr Licht!" (More Light!). Others said, his last words were "Mehr nicht?" (Nothing more?). (Maybe people heard what they expected to hear? Or the last act of the old master was to fool us a little bit?)

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