Was Joseph Campbell a mystic?

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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Was Joseph Campbell a mystic?

Post by cgiangra » Wed Jan 27, 2010 4:36 am

Was Joseph Campbell a mystic? I need to write a paper and I thought he might qualify, but I'm not sure. If you know of any accounts of his peak experiences, dreams, inspiration, or his views on consciousness and the transpersonal , that would help a great deal. Thanks!
Claire
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Post by Ercan2121 » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:39 am

Claire,
I think that Joseph Campbell is basically a theorist because he is following the
academic methodology for social sciences
in the articles he wrote.
Mysticism doesn't necessitate such methods. So, when we say that Joseph
Campbell is a mystic, we tend to overlook his scholar side.
This is my opinion.
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Post by Clemsy » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:50 am

Hi Claire and welcome to the JCF Forum!
Was Joseph Campbell a mystic?
In Power of Myth Bill Moyers asked Campbell if he considered himself a mystic. Campbell replied pretty emphatically that he was not and claimed, rather, that he was a maverick. Ercan is correct, I think, in that Campbell's approach to his subject is academic, even if his enthusiasm for the idea of the mystic's way does seem apparent.

I think this is illustrated in his answer when asked if he meditated. He replied, "Yes. I underline sentences."

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Clemsy
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Post by cgiangra » Wed Jan 27, 2010 12:45 pm

Thanks for your responses. I look forward to exploring Campbell's work in greater depth...as soon as I write this paper!
Claire
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Mystical Joe

Post by Synchrolynx » Sat Jan 30, 2010 10:34 pm

I thought Moyers asked Joe if he was a "hero"? and that's when he replied that he was a maverick.
In The Different Drum M. Scott Peck talks about 4 stages of spiritual growth. They are, and I'm paraphrasing here
1: atheist, no spiritual (Christian?) history
2: "institutional" swallowing your religion hook line and sinker
3: atheist, you've come from an institutional background and have spit out the hook
4: "mystic" you've accepted or embraced the mystical (mystery) nature of the Divine
I'd say, according to this definition, JC was definitely a mystic.
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Post by Clemsy » Sun Jan 31, 2010 12:13 am

I thought Moyers asked Joe if he was a "hero"? and that's when he replied that he was a maverick.
Yup! Got me!

As far as I'm concerned mystic and hero are terms best used to define another. I tend to be... skeptical of those who define themselves as such. I doubt, very highly, that Campbell would have called himself a mystic.

Even if he would be considered so by others. :D
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
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Post by asmac38 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:36 pm

Hello everyone, first post here, might not always spell words right, might not always have all the facts when i comment, just going with my intuition, self study, and experience and don't even know if even that is the truth but here i go......

Mysticism (from the Greek μυστικός, mystikos, an initiate of a mystery religion)[1] is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight.

Was Joe an initiate of a mystery religion and therefore a mystic..... as the above definition states. religion as myth...myth as religion were his words, myth is filled with mystery. Why do we always have to add the word religion to define the mystery of life...myth shows us the mystery of life... right? Or is it the bible of religion that does " no ye not that the mystery of the gospel is Christ in you". Joe was asked if he thought that Jesus was the son of God. He replied " not unless we all are". Now that there is exciting i don't care who you are... and i really like the fact that he told it to a priest.... i really admire his willingness to do this kind of standing up for truth of " the ultimate reality" as he knew it..... the bastards.

So i have the need to follow my bliss, those things which make me feel alive...alive with rapture... the mountains do this for me...i want to live there.... my hero adventure. In going to the mountains i find the most elusive thing on earth..... my heart.... and then i touch my authentic self....it's there right there in the heart, and know myself as a son of God. Heresy they say! Oh yes and please don't forget to purchase your self-help books and cd's before you leave today.

So was Joseph Campbell a Mystic... did he have an understanding of "the ultimate reality" as stated in the above definition? I think he was a mystic, a maverick, a son of God and most importantly to me.... he was " an engaged man" in life... the good and the bad... he had HEART.... and therefore was a human being in the truest way.
ASMAC
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Post by Robert G. » Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:59 am

I don't know the answer to this question - though I have a few ideas - but I just wanted to say that I think it is a terrific question and goes right to the heart of Campbell's work. An amazingly insightful question from a "first poster" :D
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Post by Cindy B. » Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:09 am

Here's what Campbell had to say. This comes from an interview with Jeffery Mishlove: http://www.yessaid.com/jc1.html

Mishlove: I’ve had the sense from looking at your recent book, "The Inner Reaches of Outer Space," that what your study of world mythology has led you to become in many ways is a mystic.

Campbell: Well, I’m not a mystic, in that I don’t practice any austerities, and I’ve never had a mystical experience. So I’m not a mystic. I’m a scholar, and that’s all. I remember when Alan Watts one time asked me, “Joe, what yoga do you practice?” I said, “I underline sentences.” And that’s all I’m doing. I’m no guru or anything of the kind. I’ve just had the great good fortune to find this golden world of myth, and I was also well trained in how to write a book. And so all I’ve done is gather what has excited me into my books, and, by God, it works for other people just as well as it worked for me.


Cindy
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Post by Nermin » Sun Feb 28, 2010 10:40 pm

Very interestingly, people often asked the same question for Carl Jung, too.
'C.G.Jung did not like to be regarded as a mystic' writes Aniela Jaffé in an essay
called 'Was C.G.Jung A Mystic?' and adds:
'One can understand why Jung disliked being included in the ranks of mystics when one considers that in his time, and essentially also today, to characterize a scientific author as a “mystic” casts a doubt on the reliability or validity of his ideas and his work.
Nevertheless, the clear analogies that exist between mysticism and Jungian psychology cannot be overlooked, and this fact in no way denies its scientific basis.'
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Post by Synchrolynx » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:16 am

Good point. The standard criticism of Jung and his psychology by mainstream psychologists is that he was a mystic and so not a scientist, not scientific. Bullshit. If he was right and the Self/God is at once the center and totality of the psyche then any exploration of psyche must include the mysterious aspects of it; religion, mythology, shamanism, etc.
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Post by Robert G. » Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:39 pm

Cindy B.


Beautiful :D
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Post by Synchrolynx » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:58 pm

In a world where God/dess is dead, and so must be killed again and again (the Damned Thing keeps reincarnating), no one wants to be associated with It or Its domain. Be that as it may, those who are versed in Its ways, able to access It and even anounce to the world methods for so doing, aren’t your typical scholars and I don’t see how you can not call such people mystics.
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Post by cgiangra » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:00 am

It's so refreshing to have a lively discussion like this! The internet is a wonderful thing...
I finished the paper(on Jung) who I do think qualifies as a mystic... even if he didn't like the label. It seems JC was more practical and scholarly.
I am very new to Joseph Campbell and would like to know what introduction to his work do you recommend?
Claire
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Post by Clemsy » Wed Mar 10, 2010 1:36 am

Hi cgiangra!

You can't go wrong with the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers DVD series. This has been many people's introduction to Campbell. After seeing them, you'll want more.

Cheers,
Clemsy
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
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