Indeed, the first and most essential service of a mythology is this one, of opening the mind and heart to the utter wonder of all being. And the second service, then is cosmological: of representing the universe and the whole spectacle of nature, both as known to the mind and as beheld by the eye, as an epiphany of such kind that when lightning flashes, or a setting sun ignites the sky, or a deer is seen standing alerted, the exclamation ‘Ah!’ may be uttered as a recognition of divinity.
Indeed, the first and most essential service
-- Joseph Campbell
Inner Reaches of Outer Space, The (p. xx)
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Developed from a memorable series of lectures delivered in San Francisco, which included a legendary symposium at the Palace of Fine Arts with astronaut Rusty Schweickart, this book--the last Campbell completed in his lifetime--explores the space age. Campbell posits that the newly discovered laws of outer space are actually at work within human beings as well and that a new mythology is implicit in this realization. He examines the new mythology and other questions in these essays. Reviews: This book, more than any other, unambiguously delineates his basic understanding of mythology and religion....Inveterate underliners will be tempted to highlight things on virtually every page.— Parabola The wealth and breadth of reference in this small book is truly prodigious ...as Campbell now soars like an eagle to a generalization about The Big Bang, now dives like a hawk to a precise description of the color and number of lotus petals in each of the seven centers of the chakra system, rendering both lucid in a single universe of discourse. — Newsday