The Function of Mythology (Audio: Lecture II.1.1)
…the origin of the mythological symbols is not pseudo-scientific, pseudo-historical. They spring from the psyche. They are not the consequence of observations, they are the consequence of observations misinterpreted through projections from the human psyche… the imagery of myth is the imagery through which our own nature, our own conscious nature, communicates with our consciousness, and they have in the past, when the symbols have been received simply and naively without criticism, operated to keep the conscious programs and life in touch with the unconscious motivations, but when these symbols are removed, as they have been for us, there takes place a disconnection. — Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell provides a detailed explanation of the four traditional functions of mythology. He shows how myths put us in touch with the richest dimensions of our lives, even as our inclination to interpret them literally — that is, as scientific or historical facts — disconnects us from their true power. Campbell then argues that, if myths are to continue to fulfill their vital functions in our modern world, they must continually transform, evolve even as the world does; for our older mythologies, untransformed, simply do not address the realities of contemporary life.
Running time: approx. 60 minutes