Mythic Dimension, The

The Mythic Dimension

The Mythic Dimension: Selected Essays, 1959–1987

By Joseph Campbell

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

These 12 eclectic essays explore myth and its fascinating context in the human imagination — in the arts, literature, and culture, as well as in everyday life. The latest title in New World Library’s Collected Works of Joseph Campbell, this attractive cloth edition features pieces that exhibit Campbell’s trademark thoughtfulness and intelligence. These essays explore the topic for which Campbell was best known: the many connections between myth and history, psychology, and the daily world. Drawing from such varied sources as Thomas Mann, the occult, Jungian and Freudian theory, and the Grateful Dead, these dynamic writings elucidate the many ways in which myth touches our lives, our psyches, and our relationship to the world.

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For although, as Schopenhauer maintains, this impulse of compassion is the basis of all morality, it is equally a basis of what must appear to the world to be immorality, since, like God, it makes no distinction between good and evil. According to the Gospel: the Father makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, sends rain on the just and on the unjust: judge not that ye may not be judged. Normally we think of ethics as a function of the principle of judgment, supporting right against wrong, good against evil, truth against falsehood, fair against foul, whereas here is a teaching that would know morality rather as a function of the principle of mercy. [share]
I myself have been traveling around quite a bit, these years, from one college campus to another, and everywhere the first question asked me is, "Under what sign were you born?" The mysteries of the Tarot pack, the I Ching, and Transcendental Meditation . . . Well, all this is just the beginning, the first signaling of a dawning realization of the immanence of the occult, and of this as something important for our living. [share]
We are now observing throughout our cultural world a resurgence of the cult of the immanence of the occult, within ourselves and within nature. The old Bronze Age realization of a micro-macrocosmic unity is returning, and everywhere all the old arts that were banished are coming back. [share]
In one of the Upanishads it says, when the glow of a sunset holds you and you say "Aha," that is the recognition of the divinity. And when you say 'Aha' to an art object, that is a recognition of divinity. And what divinity is it? It is your divinity, which is the only divinity there is. We are all phenomenal manifestations of a divine will to live, and that will and the consciousness of life is one in all of us, and that is what artwork expresses. [share]
(The Greeks) did not personify that mystery in a being before whom the human spirit should abdicate but, on the contrary, recognized that the supreme manifestation on earth of that same mystery and wonder is the human mind itself, well housed in the beautiful human body. [share]
Some such elementary course in comparative mythology as I have here suggested––conducted, however, by a team of scholar-specialists lecturing in their special fields and separately directing individual student projects- could be put together readily in any one of the major universities. It would serve not only to open to students a view of the whole range of possibilities before them, when they enter as wide-eyed youngsters the enchanted wood of the world's learning, but also to lead them along, through paths of their own choosing, to explorations of its deep groves. [share]

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