The Masks of God 4: Creative Mythology

The Masks of God, Volume 4: Creative Mythology

By Joseph Campbell | Edited by David Kudler

This title is part of the The Masks of God series

This title is part of the The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell series

Volume 4:

Explore the power of myth as it exploded from twelfth century Europe into the modern world
In this fourth volume of The Masks of God — Joseph Campbell’s major work of comparative mythology — the pre-emimenent mythologist looks at the European mythology of individualism as it took flower in medieval Europe and spread, through the Renaissance, to influence modernist thought, art, and literature. The Masks of God is a four-volume study of world religion and myth that stands as one of Joseph Campbell’s masterworks. On completing it, he wrote: Its main result for me has been the confirmation of a thought I have long and faithfully entertained: of the unity of the race of man, not only in its biology, but also in its spiritual history, which has everywhere unfolded in the manner of a single symphony, with its themes announced, developed, amplified and turned about, distorted, reasserted, and today, in a grand fortissimo of all sections sounding together, irrestibly advancing to some kind of mighty climax, out of which the next great movement will emerge. This new digital edition, part of the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell series, includes over forty new illustrations.

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And just as in the past each civilization was the vehicle of its own mythology, developing in character as its myth became progressively interpreted, analyzed, and elucidated by its leading minds, so in this modern world––where the application of science to the fields of practical life has now dissolved all cultural horizons, so that no separate civilization can ever develop again––each individual is the center of a mythology of his own, of which his own intelligible character is the Incarnate God, so to say, whom his empirically questing consciousness is to find. The aphorism of Delphi, 'Know thyself,' is the motto. [share]
There are today no horizons, no mythogenetic zones. Or rather, the mythogenetic zone is the individual heart. Individualism and spontaneous pluralism––the free association of men and women of like spirit, under protection of a secular, rational state with no pretensions to divinity––are in the modern world the only honest possibilities: each the creative center for himself. in Cusanus' circle without circumference whose center is everywhere, and where each is the focus of God's gaze. [share]
The Waste Land, let us say then, is any world in which (to state the problem pedagogically) force and not love, indoctrination, not education, authority, not experience, prevail in the ordering of lives, and where the myths and rites enforced and received are consequently unrelated to the actual inward realizations, needs, and potentialities of those upon whom they are impressed. [share]
For amor is neither of the right-hand path (the sublimating spirit, the mind and community of man), nor of the indiscriminate left (the spontaneity of nature, the mutual incitement of the phallus and the womb), but is the path directly before one, of the eyes, and their message to the heart. [share]
Mythological symbols touch and exhilarate centers of life beyond the reach of vocabularies of reason and coercion. [share]
Since the power of nature in this dreamer, in that dreamer, and in the macrocosm of nature itself, are the same, only differently inflected, the powers personified in a dream are those that move the world. All the gods are within: within you––within the world. [share]

'The fool says in his heart there is no God' (Psalms 14:1). There is, however, another type of fool, more dangerous and sure of himself, who says in his heart and proclaims to all the world, 'There is no God but mine.'

[share]
Nobility of spirit is the grace—or ability—to play, whether in heaven or on earth. [share]
Mythological symbols touch and exhilarate centers of life beyond the reach of vocabularies of reason and coercion. [share]

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