Psychosis and the Hero’s Journey (Audio: Lecture II.2.3)
Each one brings the myth right out of himself. And what the analyst does is help you recognize it as the image carrier of your own affects, your own energies. The value of the psychiatrist is that he helps you to relate your own images to your own affects, to your own energy system. And the reason you’re in trouble is that you don’t realize this.
— Joseph Campbell
Michael Murphy of the Esalen Institute brought together psychiatrist John Weir Perry and renowned mythologist Joseph Campbell for this explosion of ideas. As the talk begins, Perry has already laid out his view of the progress of schizophrenic psychosis. Campbell proceeds to how Weir Perry’s the experiences of Weir Perry’s patients show their progress — or failure — along the Hero’s Journey: the path that he himself had explored in relation to myth and dream in his 1949 masterpiece The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Campbell explains that he had never had any interest in schizophrenics for himself, but that “I didn’t know that my friends were of that order.” This lecture is humorous, informative, thought-provoking, and illuminating. Not to be missed!
This lecture, to which Campbell referred often in his later work, was recorded at an Esalen Institute event in San Francisco, California in 1968.