People ask me, “Do you have optimism about the world, about how terrible it is?”

People ask me, “Do you have optimism about the world, about how terrible it is?” And I say, “Yes, it’s great the way it is”

-- Joseph Campbell
Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (video)
Find more quotations at

Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth with Bill Moyers (video)

Forty years ago, renowned scholar Joseph Campbell sat down with veteran journalist Bill Moyers for a series of interviews that became one of the most enduringly popular programs ever on PBS. In dialogues that adroitly span millennia of history and far-flung geography, the two men discuss myths as metaphors for human experience and the path to transcendence. Released shortly after Campbell’s death on October 30, 1987, The Power of Myth was one of the most popular TV series in the history of public television, and continues to inspire new audiences. Ep. 1: The Power of Myth - 'The Hero’s Adventure' Joseph Campbell encourages the audience to discover what excites them, and to make that the basis for their personal journeys. Ep. 2: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth -- 'The Message of the Myth' In this episode of The Power of Myth Bill and mythologist Joseph Campbell compare creation myths from the Bible and elsewhere. Ep. 3: The Power of Myth -- 'The First Storytellers' Joseph Campbell explains how ancient myths bring humans to understand and accept birth, growth and death. Ep. 4: The Power of Myth - 'Sacrifice and Bliss' Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell discuss where heroism can be witnessed in modern society. Ep. 5: The Power of Myth - 'Love and the Goddess' Joseph Campbell traces the beginning of love, as we think of it today, to twelfth-century troubadours. Ep. 6: The Power of Myth - 'Masks of Eternity' Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell discuss the common experience of God across cultures.
Other quotations from this Title
The big question is whether you are going to be able to say a hearty yes to your adventure. [share]
People ask me, "Do you have optimism about the world, about how terrible it is?" And I say, "Yes, it's great the way it is" [share]
Follow your bliss. [share]
I think it's important to live life with a knowledge of its mystery, and of your own mystery. [share]
We are standing on a whale fishing for minnows. [share]
Computers are like Old Testament gods; lots of rules and no mercy. [share]
We have not even to risk the adventure alone, for the heroes of all time have gone before us — the labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path, and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god; where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves; where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence. And where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world. [share]
And so, to return to our opening question: What is -- or what is to be -- the new mythology? It is -- and will forever be, as long as our human race exists -- the old, everlasting, perennial mythology, in its "subjective sense," poetically renewed in terms neither of a remembered past nor of a projected future, but of now: addressed, that is to say, not to the flattery of "peoples," but to the waking of individuals in the knowledge of themselves, not simply as egos fighting for place on the surface of this beautiful planet, but equally as centers of Mind at Large -- each in his own way at one with all, and with no horizons. [share]
For it is the artist who brings the images of a mythology to manifestation, and without images (whether mental or visual) there is no mythology. [share]
One thing that comes out in myths is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation. The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light. [share]
Mythology is not a lie; mythology is poetry, it is metaphorical. It has been well said that mythology is the penultimate truth -- penultimate because the ultimate cannot be put into words. It is beyond words, beyond images, beyond that bounding rim of the Buddhist Wheel of Becoming. Mythology pitches the mind beyond that rim, to what can be known but not told. [share]