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The Power Of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work. A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people. To him, mythology was the "song of the universe, the music of the spheres." With Bill Moyers, one of America's most prominent journalists, as his thoughtful and engaging interviewer, The Power Of Myth touches on subjects from modern marriage to virgin births, from Jesus to John Lennon, offering a brilliant combination of intelligence and wit.

320 pages, Paperback

First published June 1, 1988

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About the author

Joseph Campbell

238 books4,944 followers
Joseph Campbell was an American author and teacher best known for his work in the field of comparative mythology. He was born in New York City in 1904, and from early childhood he became interested in mythology. He loved to read books about American Indian cultures, and frequently visited the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where he was fascinated by the museum's collection of totem poles.

Campbell was educated at Columbia University, where he specialized in medieval literature, and continued his studies at universities in Paris and Munich. While abroad he was influenced by the art of Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, the novels of James Joyce and Thomas Mann, and the psychological studies of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. These encounters led to Campbell's theory that all myths and epics are linked in the human psyche, and that they are cultural manifestations of the universal need to explain social, cosmological, and spiritual realities. 


After a period in California, where he encountered John Steinbeck and the biologist Ed Ricketts, he taught at the Canterbury School, and then, in 1934, joined the literature department at Sarah Lawrence College, a post he retained for many years. During the 40s and '50s, he helped Swami Nikhilananda to translate the Upanishads and The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. He also edited works by the German scholar Heinrich Zimmer on Indian art, myths, and philosophy. In 1944, with Henry Morton Robinson, Campbell published A Skeleton Key to Finnegans Wake. His first original work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, came out in 1949 and was immediately well received; in time, it became acclaimed as a classic. In this study of the "myth of the hero," Campbell asserted that there is a single pattern of heroic journey and that all cultures share this essential pattern in their various heroic myths. In his book he also outlined the basic conditions, stages, and results of the archetypal hero's journey.


Throughout his life, he traveled extensively and wrote prolifically, authoring many books, including the four-volume series The Masks of God, Myths to Live By, The Inner Reaches of Outer Space and The Historical Atlas of World Mythology. Joseph Campbell died in 1987. In 1988, a series of television interviews with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth, introduced Campbell's views to millions of people.


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Profile Image for Kelly.
878 reviews3,951 followers
June 25, 2007
I really do think that this should be required reading in high school, everywhere. Or beyond. Just in general. I read it in preperation for my AP year, and it really helps you to open your eyes quite a bit. Does Joe Campbell like to stretch his points? Yes. Are some of his ideas and allusions a little far fetched? Absolutely. Will you roll your eyes a few times? Of course! Unless you are more starry eyed than even I was.

However. What he says on the subject of myth and our current culture is so true, and so insightful, that I think that everyone should pause to think about it. The changes in our cultural upbringing are so profound and Joe Campbell really helps to explain how and why that happened and what that does to your psyche, and spirit. Just as a brief example: What /do/ we do without that moment that tells us that we're an adult now, and it is time to take on the behavior of that part of our tale? We have our current generation of 30 somethings that still dress like teenagers, go to rock concerts, and still think that having 'commitment issues' is cool. Why do people spend so much time trying to 'find themselves' now? Partially due to the lack of a cohensive culture and unit that people can base off of. I would argue that his observations on the loss of myth and it's effects on a society are quite valid. The book is an interview, and his voice is so compelling. It's not hard to get behind a lot of his opinions. You want to. It's not necessarily a wholly bad or a wholly good thing, but it says so much about our culture. I guarantee you that this book will present you with several thoughts you might not have had, or thought in depth about before. Really, I think everyone should read this at least once.
Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,198 followers
September 30, 2015
The Power of Myth explores so much more than myth. It delves into the essence of life itself.

Joseph Campbell was mythologist, professor, writer, lecturer, historian...he was so much. His wealth of knowledge on faith, philosophy and humanity was astounding. He has left us, but he has left behind a body of work, a legacy of compassion and understanding for us and future generations. Thanks to this interview, conducted by journalist Bill Moyers, we have an encapsulated version of his teachings from Campbell's own mouth. The interview was and has been broadcast on PBS stations since the late '80s and includes some nice visuals, however, it's not necessary to view. This audiobook suffices.

You get some of what you'd expect from a title such as The Power of Myth: Heroes and legends from traditional sources such as the epic Greek poems and Norse gods; origin stories from Native America and Africa. But you also get Star Wars. The interview having been conducted at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch, some of the discussion spoke on the use of mythical archetypes, which became intrinsic to the success of the movie's popularity. After all, where would Luke be without the Force, and what is the Force but faith?

Yes, religion goes hand in hand with mythology. In many, or most, cases it is one and the same. Campbell's take on religion is refreshing. Hearing him speak on the various kinds of world religions, their differences and even more so their similarities, is enlightening.

When I first saw The Power of Myth on tv, I was only interested in the Star Wars material and the more fantastical elements of mythology, the bits about the gods and monsters. Today, while listening to the discussion, I'm most interested in the aspects of the birth, life and death cycle and of faith. Not that I'm any more religious than the atheist teen I once was, but these are the everyman topics. It is the human experience that most enthralls me now. Luckily for young me and middle-aged me (and probably old me), there's a little something in The Power of Myth for all.
Profile Image for Roy Lotz.
Author 1 book8,088 followers
October 11, 2020
I have bought this wonderful machine—a computer. Now I am rather an authority on gods, so I identified the machine—it seems to me to be an Old Testament god with a lot of rules and no mercy.

Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces is a book that, for better or worse, will forever change how you see the world. Once you read his analysis of the monomyth, the basic outline of mythological stories, you find it everywhere. It’s maddening sometimes. Now I can’t watch certain movies without analyzing them in terms of Campbell’s outline.

But that book had another lasting effect on me. Campbell showed that these old myths and stories, even if you don’t believe them literally—indeed, he encourages you not to—still hold value for us. In our sophisticated, secular society, we can still learn from these ancient tales of love, adventure, magic, monsters, heroes, death, rebirth, and transcendence.

This book is a transcription of conversations between Campbell and Bill Moyers, made for a popular TV series. It isn’t exactly identical with the series, but there’s a lot of overlap. Moyers is interested in Campbell for seemingly the same reason I am: to find a value for myths and religion without the need for dogmatism or provinciality.

The book is mainly focused on Campbell’s philosophy of life, but many subjects are touched upon in these conversations. Campbell was, in his own words, a generalist, so you will find passages in here that will annoy nearly anybody. (A good definition of a generalist is somebody who can irritate specialists in many different fields.) Personally, I find Campbell most irritating when he talks about how bad the world is nowadays since people don’t have enough myths to live by. It seems obvious to me that the contemporary world, more secular than ever before, is also better off than ever before (Trump notwithstanding).

Campbell sometimes shows himself to be a sloppy scholar, such as his quoting of a letter by Chief Seattle, now widely believed to be fake. And I certainly don’t agree with his adoption of Jung’s psychology, which is hardly scientific. Indeed, to reduce old myths to Jung’s psychological system is merely to translate one myth into another. Perhaps Jung’s myth is easier to identify with nowadays, but I reject any claim of scientific accuracy. In sum, there is much to criticize in Campbell’s scholarly and academic approach.

Yet his general message—that myths and religions can be made valuable even for contemporary nonbelievers—has a special relevance for me. I grew up in an entirely nonreligious household, and I’m thankful for that. Nevertheless, I sometimes wonder whether I have missed out on something precious. Religious is as near to a human universal as you are likely to find, and I have no experience with it. Often I find myself reading religious books, exploring spiritual practices, and hanging around cathedrals. Although many beliefs and practices repel me, some I find beautiful, and I am fitfully filled with envy at the tranquility and fortitude that some practitioners seem to derive from their faith.

Campbell has been most valuable to me in his ability interpret religions metaphorically, and his insistence that they still have value. Reading Campbell helped me to clarify many of the things I have been thinking and wondering about lately, so I can’t help mixing up my own reflections with Campbell’s. Indeed, there might be more of my opinions in this review than Campbell, but here it goes.

One of the main lessons that art, philosophy, and religion teach us is that society imposes upon us superficial values. Wealth, attractiveness, sex, coolness, success, respectability—these are the values of society. And it’s no wonder. The economy doesn’t function well unless we strive to accumulate wealth; competition for mates creates a need for standards of beauty; cultural, political, and economic power is distributed hierarchically, and there are rules of behavior to differentiate the haves from the have-nots. In short, in a complex society these values are necessary—or at any rate inevitable.

But of course, these are the values of the game: the competition for mates, success, power, and wealth. In other words, they are values that differentiate how well you’re doing from your neighbor. In this way they are superficial—measuring you extrinsically rather than intrinsically. One of the functions of art, philosophy, and religion, as I see it, is to remind us of this, and to direct our attention to intrinsic values. Love, friendship, compassion, beauty, goodness, wisdom—these are valuable in themselves, and give meaning and happiness to an individual life.

How many great stories pit one of these personal values against one of the social values? Love against respectability, friendship against coolness, wisdom against wealth, compassion against success. In comedy—stories with happy endings—the intrinsic value is harmonized with the social value. Consider Jane Austen’s novels. In the end, genuine love is shown to be compatible with social respectability. But this is often not true, as tragedy points out. In tragedy, the social value wins against the personal value. The petty feud between the Capulets and the Montagues prevents Romeo and Juliet from being together. Respectability wins over love. But the victory is hollow, since this respectability brings its adherents nothing but pain and conflict.

Art thus dramatizes this conflict to show us what is really valuable from what is only apparently so. Philosophy does this not through drama, but reason. (I'm not claiming this is all either art or philosophy does.) Religion does it through ritual. This, I think, is the advantage of religion: it is periodical, it is tied to your routine, and it involves the body and not just the mind. Every week and every day you go through a procedure to remind yourself of what is really worthwhile.

But these things can fail, and often do. Art and philosophy can become academic, stereotyped, or commercial. And religion can become just another social value, used to cloak earthly power in superficial sanctity. As Campbell points out during these interviews, religion must change as society changes, or it will lose its efficacy. To use Campbell’s terminology, the social function of myth can entirely replace its pedagogical function. In such cases, the myths and rituals only serve to strengthen the group identity, to better integrate individuals into the society. When this is taken too far—as Campbell believes it has nowadays—then the social virtues are taught at the expense of the individual virtues, and the religion just becomes another worldly power.

Myths can become ineffective, not only due to society co-opting their power, but also because myths have a cosmological role that can quickly become outdated. This is where religion comes into conflict with science. As Campbell explains, one of the purposes of myths is to help us find our place in the universe and understand our relationship to the world around us. If the religion is based on an outdated picture of the world, it can’t do that effectively, since then it forces people to choose between connecting with contemporary thought or adhering to the faith.

For my part, I think the conflict between science and religion is ultimately sterile, since it is a conflict about beliefs, and beliefs are not fundamental to either.

When I enter a cathedral, for example, I don’t see an educational facility designed to teach people facts. Rather, I see a place carefully constructed to create a certain psychological experience: the shadowy interior, the shining golden altars, the benevolent faces of the saints, the colored light from the stained glass windows, the smell of incense, the howl of the organ, the echo of the priest’s voice in the cavernous interior, the sense of smallness engendered by the towering roof. There are beliefs about reality involved in the experience, but the experience is not reducible to those beliefs; rather, the beliefs form a kind of scaffolding or context to experience the divine presence.

Science, too, is not a system of beliefs, but a procedure for investigating the world. Theories are overturned all the time in science. The most respected scientists have been proven wrong. Scientific orthodoxy today might be outmoded tomorrow. Consequently, when scientists argue with religious people about their beliefs, I think they’re both missing the point.

So far we have covered Campbell’s social, pedagogical, and cosmological functions of myths. This leaves only his spiritual function: connecting us to the mystery of the world. This is strongly connected with mysticism. By mysticism, I mean the belief that there is a higher reality behind the visual world; that there is an invisible, timeless, eternal plain that supports the field of time and action; that all apparent differences are only superficial, and that fundamentally everything is one. Plotinus is one of the most famous mystics in Western history, and his system exemplifies this: the principal of existence, for him, is “The One,” which is only his name for the unknowable mystery that transcends all categories.

Now, from a rational perspective all this is hard to swallow. And yet, I think there is a very simple thought buried underneath all this verbiage. Mysticism is just the experience of the mystery of existence, the mystery that there is something instead of nothing. Science can explain how things work, but does not explain why these things are here in the first place. Stephen Hawking expressed this most memorably when he said: “Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes universe for them to describe?”

It is arguably not a rational question—maybe not even a real question at all—to ask “Why is there something rather than nothing?” In any case, it is unanswerable. But I still often find myself filled with wonder that I exist, that I can see and hear things, that I have an identity, and that I am a part of this whole universe, so exquisite and vast. Certain things reliably connect me with this feeling: reading Hamlet, looking up at the starry sky, and standing in the Toledo Cathedral. Because it is not rational, I cannot adequately put it into words or analyze it; and yet I think the experience of mystery and awe is one of the most important things in life.

Since it is just a feeling, there is nothing inherently rational or anti-rational in it. I’ve heard scientists, mystics, and philosophers describe it. Yes, they describe it in different terms, using different concepts, and give it different meaning, but all that is incidental. The feeling of wonder is the thing, the perpetual surprise that we exist at all. Campbell helps me to connect with and understand that, and for that reason I am grateful to him.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,568 reviews55.5k followers
June 23, 2021
The Power of Myth (Joseph Campbell and Power of Myth), Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers

The Power Of Myth launched an extraordinary resurgence of interest in Joseph Campbell and his work.

A preeminent scholar, writer, and teacher, he has had a profound influence on millions of people.

To him, mythology was the "song of the universe, the music of the spheres."

With Bill Moyers, one of America's most prominent journalists, as his thoughtful and engaging interviewer, The Power Of Myth touches on subjects from modern marriage to virgin births, from Jesus to John Lennon, offering a brilliant combination of intelligence and wit.

تاریخ خوانش: سال 1999میلادی

عنوان: ق‍درت‌ اس‍طوره‌:‌ (گ‍ف‍ت‍گ‍و ب‍ا ب‍ی‍ل‌ م‍وی‍رز)؛ نویسنده: ج‍وزف‌ ک‍م‍ب‍ل‌؛ مت‍رج‍م: ع‍ب‍اس‌ م‍خ‍ب‍ر؛ ت‍ه‍ران‌ ن‍ش‍ر م‍رک‍ز‏‫، 1377؛ در 344ص؛ شابک9643053466؛ چاپ دوم 1380؛ چاپ سوم 1384؛ چاپهای چهارم و پنجم 1388؛ چاپ ششم 1389؛ شابک9789643053468؛ چاپ نهم سال 1393؛ موضوع: اسطوره شناسی - از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

نگارگر کتاب، میراث اساطیری بشریت، از دورترین زمان‌ها، و ناشناخته‌ ترین اقوام، تا اسطوره‌ های کنونی را، به خوانشگران معرفی میکنند، و همانندی‌ها و نزدیکی آن‌ها را، بیان مینمایند؛ مباحثی که در این اثر مطرح شده: «اسطوره و دنیای جدید»، «سفر به دنیای درون»، «نخستین قصه‌ گویان»، «قربانی و سعادت»، «ماجراجویی قهرمان»، «هدیه الهه‌ ها»، «قصه‌ های عشق و ازدواج» و «نقاب‌های جاودانگی»؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 01/04/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for BlackOxford.
1,081 reviews67.8k followers
November 19, 2021
Stories Which We Share… or Don’t

Joseph Campbell spent most of his life promoting the positive, therapeutic, and restorative aspects of myth. His influence on culture and inter-cultural appreciation is tremendous. The effect of his writing on me over six decades is incalculable. But while Campbell was critical of those who would take myth and use it for harm - several totalitarian states are obvious targets - he was , I think, much more sanguine about the power of myth in his own country. This book, a series of interviews with a well-known American journalist, typifies the implicit ‘exceptionalism’ that Campbell seems to have applied to the United States and its founding myths. I think he missed some important, and not very encouraging, conclusions.

According to Campbell, myths have no inherent meaning. This is, of course, remarkable, for a man who has devoted his life to the spreading of mythical knowledge. But it is crucial to an understanding of why and how myths are significant in our lives.

Myths do not explain what life is about, its purpose, or the structure of the psyche. They are a record of the spiritual experience of our forebears. This experience is beyond what language is capable of expressing. So, as with any poetry, myths are meant to commemorate and sometimes evoke that experience.

Myths are not a guide to life in general. They are certainly not directives intended to describe a good life, or a moral life, or a successful life. They are stories which are on hand as we need them and in which we can identify our own experience and from which it is possible to glean suggestions for action (Carl Jung called them the Collective Unconscious, with a different but compatible function). Myths, in other words, are timely advice offered by those long dead to those who will eventually join them.

Ritual is myth acted out, essentially a play. While myths are shared stories, rituals are shared activities in which stories of birth, development, decline, and death are embedded. Together myth and ritual are the foundations of culture and establish what we casually call society and its institutions of marriage, government, the military, education, justice, art, even things as mundane as our currency.

All myths are spiritual in character. Some myths and their associated rituals become embedded in the institutions of religion. These tend to be treated as sacred stories, that is, not just as stories of experience but as truths in themselves which must be defended against change and given fixed meanings. Thus they become dogmatic and are directive rather than suggestive. And since dogmatic religion is notoriously fractious, it tends to fragment rather than unite the larger society.

Fundamentalism takes dogmatic myth one step further and claims that such myth is not only true but the only truth worth considering. Such fundamentalism often is, but need not be, religious. The secular culture of the United States, for example, is fundamentalist in insisting that its particular form of government is sacred and must be protected at all costs from variation in the interpretation of founding (fundamental) texts. So the political history of the country is one of conflicting dogmatisms.

To say that America is a religious country seems to be confirmed by the commitment of a large proportion of its population to religious sects and denominations. Some see the decline in participation in religious ritual as indicating a decline in the influence of myth. On the contrary, the religion of America is America, that is what its citizens take as the America they want it to be. This secular religion is increasingly fundamentalist and has generated the growing factional stance of religious leaders and their congregations.

In short, America necessarily dogmatised its founding myths in order to create a country of law based on a written constitution. This is so to such an extreme degree that the only relationship among its various levels of government is through courts of law. Religion, overwhelmingly Christian, was an essential social glue uniting people across independent, widely separated, legal jurisdictions. But the overriding myth has been the American Way of Life with its virtues of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Religious congregations, churches, conferences and coalitions in America are political action groups within the secular religion.

That society does not function at all well when it is dependent upon the shared interpretation of a sacred text is historically fairly evident. No matter how congruent with human welfare the text itself, it can never cover the taken-for-grated norms of behaviour of everyday life, the shared traditions which lubricate the frictions of being together. The self-image of a melting pot has masked the reality of the anvil on which most immigrants were annealed into American society.

But these historical frictions seem insignificant in light of the current divergence of secular fundamentalisms in the country. The American Way of Life has become (arguably always was) a zero-sum game. The factional ideals are not just contrary but contradictory. Each faction has its interpretation of the sacred text which it attempts to enforce at the expense of opposing factions through the electoral process - and if necessary through the manipulation of this process.

Technology has only made acutely clear what has always been the case - there never has been a shared myth in America, despite the one shared by the Deists who wrote the original sacred texts. These men believed that God and the Universe (which meant the same thing to many of them) shared their commitment to Reason. That most of the populace had no knowledge of this myth is likely. It is even more likely now. The attempt to create a shared myth was, according to Campbell’s logic was an intellectual conceit, a presumption on poetic metaphor, and bound to fail. Many other elites have made the same mistake.

That democratic liberalism has come to mean debate rather than violence for one faction, and armed response rather than verbal confrontation for another shows what happens when mythical poetry is considered more than it is. Powerful indeed, but not necessarily in a good way.
Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,032 reviews1,676 followers
October 22, 2017
تأملاتی دربارۀ قدرت اسطوره

چگونه اسطوره بسازيم؟
آموزش گام به گام

جوزف كمبل مدعيه كه اسطوره بيان استعارى تجربيات انسانى طبقه نخبه اجتماع بوده. اما گذر زمان و سطح درك پايين طبقه فرو دست اجتماع باعث شده رفته رفته مردم به صورت تحت اللفظى به مفاد اساطير باور پيدا كنن، هر چند، همين برداشت تحت اللفظى از اسطوره هم كاركرد خودش رو داشته (كمك به سالك در استفاده از تجربيات انسانى پيشينيان، براى بالا رفتن در سلوكش).

اما "بيان استعارى تجربيات انسانى" امروزه هم هست. اشعار و داستان ها و فيلم ها. ولى جوزف كمبل ميگه: هيچ كدوم از اين آثار به صورت اسطوره در نيومدن، بلكه در سطح آثارى استعارى باقى موندن. هيچ كدوم در روح يك جامعه رسوخ نكردن (شايد فقط جنگ ستارگان تونست براى يكى دو نسل از پسران جامعه آمريكايى اين كاركرد رو داشته باشه.)
كمبل نميگه چطور يك اثر هنرى به يك اسطوره تبديل ميشه. آيا بايد مثل اديان مردم رو موظف كرد هر روز ساعاتى رو به تماشا و اجراى آيين هاى مربوط به جنگ ستارگان اختصاص بدن؟
به نظرم يكى از چيزهايى كه باعث شده يك شعر (مثلاً گيلگمش) به اسطوره تبديل بشه، اينه كه هر نسل آزاد بوده اون شعر رو بازآفرينى كنه. با سرودن مجدد، با تفسيرهاى متعدد، با قرائت هاى آزاد، يا گسترش اون اثر و افزودن بخش هاى جديد، به اين ترتيب يك استعاره شخصى، به يك استعاره جمعى تبديل شده، و همين طور با مقتضيات و نيازهاى زمان تناسب پيدا كرده. اسطوره اى متعلّق به چند نسل قبل باید بتونه نیازهای نسل حاضر رو پاسخ بده، و اگه نتونه پاسخگوی نيازهاى نسل حاضر باشه، فكر نكنم بتونه دوام پيدا كنه، مگر به واسطه نيروهاى قهرى.


چرا اسطوره بسازيم؟

سؤالى كه ذهن من رو در طول كتاب درگير مى كرد و نتونستم جوابى براش پيدا كنم، اينه كه چرا بيان استعارى بر بيان صريح برترى داره؟ چرا نخبه ها به طور صريح تجربيات شون رو بيان نمى كردن؟ جوزف كمبل مثل علامه طباطبايى ميگه: به خاطر محدوديت زبان. اما خود جوزف كمبل شروع مى كنه به تحليل اسطوره ها، و زبان استعارى شون رو به زبان صريح تبديل مى كنه و خيلى راحت عناصر نمادين اسطوره رو به صورت قابل فهم شرح ميده، كه اتفاقاً چندان هم مفاهيم پيچيده اى نيستن كه زبان ما قابليت بيان شون رو نداشته باشه. جداى از اين كه خطر بيان صريح كمتره، چون تجربه چند هزار ساله ثابت كرده كه بيان استعارى تجربيات انسانى هميشه به بدفهمى عامه مردم منجر شده، چون عامه مردم به صورت تحت اللفظى به اين استعاره ها باور پيدا كردن، و مثلاً تصور كردن كه ايزد ويشنو حقيقتاً و به معناى واقعى كلمه، هزار سر و هزار دست داره.

با اين تفاصيل،

اولاً،
چرا بيان استعارى بر بيان صريح برترى داره؟ چرا جوزف كمبل اصرار داره كه ما در دنياى امروز بايد سعى كنيم اسطوره هاى جديدى خلق كنيم؟ چرا؟ وقتى مى تونيم با كتاب هاى روانشناسى يا جامعه شناسى يا كتب مشابه ديگه، تجربيات انسانى رو به صورت صريح (نه استعارى) توصيف كنيم و به افراد كمك كنيم راحت تر با تجربيات انسانى خودشون (مثل جنسيت، جامعه پذيرى، بلوغ، عشق، مرگ و...) كنار بيان، وقتى مى تونيم اين كارو بكنيم، چه نيازيه كه همچنان به شيوه بيان اسطوره اى پناه ببريم؟

ثانياً،
ما مى دونيم كه عموم مردم گذشته، به صورت تحت اللفظى به اساطير باور داشتن. و همين طور، تحليل استعارى همه اسطوره ها مقدور نيست، و توى همين كتاب خيلى از تلاش هاى كمبل براى ربط دادن عناصر متضاد يك اسطوره، به دست و پا زدن شبيهه، و در نهايت تفسيرى كه از اسطوره مى كنه بيش از اون تصنعى و پيچيده است كه واقعاً مد نظر خالق اسطوره بوده باشه. چه دليل قاطعى در دست داريم كه زبان اسطوره زبان صريح نيست؟ و خالقان اسطوره واقعاً اعتقاد نداشتن كه ارواح مردگان به معناى واقعى كلمه سايه هايى هستن كه بعد از مرگ با قايق هايى واقعى به دنيايى تاريك در زير همين زمين محسوس ميرن؟ به نظر ميرسه تيغ اوكام در اين جا حكم مى كنه اسطوره ها رو به معناى تحت اللفظى بگيريم، مگر اون كه خلافش ثابت بشه.
Profile Image for Bharath.
546 reviews425 followers
November 28, 2018
If you were to read only one book in your lifetime, what book would you want that to be? Well, that is certainly an unfair question since it is difficult to make that choice. However, if I was given the option of choosing only 20 books to read in my lifetime, “The Power of Myth” by Joseph Campbell would certainly be on that list.

This book is about popular myths from different cultures leading up to present day beliefs and practices. It is much more than that as well – it is about life, purpose and what we can be if we can learn lessons from myths and the universe. The book is in a Q&A format based on interviews of Bill Moyers with Joseph Campbell.

I read Joseph Campbell’s “A hero with a thousand faces” a few years back. I found it a difficult (and hence a slow) read with its references to various cultures and legends. The scholarly nature and importance of the work was evident though and since then I have read several passages of his work, which have always been insightful and inspiring.

Joseph Campbell very easily picks stories from several cultures of the world and how they share common patterns. He is respectful, at the same time gently advising on the kind of lessons one must draw. Rather than being literal with myths – we need to understand them as metaphors to deeper truth and lessons. He describes how many rituals evolved as a way to reinforce outlook to life. A large part of that is now lost and people tend to live at the surface missing the depth of the metaphors. The examples are all excellent. For instance - viewing marriage from the perspective of myth makes you view it in a healthy longer term perspective rather than as a love affair (which is always temporary and will end).

There are interesting discussions on divinity, femininity, rituals, practices, non-duality. There are insightful passages on how - many of the myths encourage you to look inward to find yourself, and follow your bliss.

A book which is expansive, profound and inspiring, at the same time engrossing – strongly recommended as a must read!
Profile Image for James Williams.
103 reviews22 followers
February 24, 2015
This is my first first-person experience with Campbell. And I find it an incredibly frustrating book.

There are parts that are wonderful: when Campbell takes a few moments to tell some of the myths that have been floating around for years. Or when he compares the motifs in multiple myths from different cultures in different parts of the world. Campbell was clearly a master story-teller, and even in just a couple of sentences, he really makes these ancient stories come alive.

Similarly, the comparisons really help draw me in to the idea of a single world-wide culture of humanity. As a sci-fi fan, this is hardly a foreign idea; but a shared mythology really drives home the point that all human beings share some really fundamental experiences.

Where Campbell starts to lose me is when he insists that these shared experiences (birth, adolescence, death, the physical act of eating something that used to be alive, etc.) are indicative of some Mystery that underwrites the universe. Here he becomes less historian or anthropologist and more of a mystic. By using the word "transcendence" a lot, he seems to think that it doesn't matter that there's no evidence or reason to think that this Mystery is real and not merely a by-product of our own brains firing in a pattern fixed by millions of years of evolution.

As a rationalist or realist or materialist or skeptic or whatever label you find on me, I find this sort of spiritualism pointless and silly. Beyond that, I think that focusing on this fanciful mystery so heavily can really lead to serious problems with living. At one point, Campbell says something to the effect of "But you can't try to make life better. This is all there is. You have to learn to accept it." But that's absurdly untrue. Thanks to people who refused to learn to accept it, we've built democracies that are more-or-less egalitarian (and thousands of times better for the average citizen than the brutal civilizations that gave us some of these myths). Thanks to people who refused to learn to accept life, we've developed communications technologies that allow mothers to not have to give up their children to distance in quite the same way that they had to before. We've developed medicine that give people more time than ever with their loved ones (including Campbell himself who was in his eighties when this conversation took place). And, it's entirely possible that we'll defeat death one day. Not in the mythical way that Campbell celebrates death leading to rebirth of a new generation. But actually making it so that death just doesn't happen anymore (at least, not death of old age: that's the first goal and it seems perfectly attainable in the next couple of centuries).

Think of that.

And none of this could ever happen if people took Campbell's advice of taking nature-as-it-is as the the only good way of the world. This approach made perfect sense to tribal hunter-gathers a thousand year's ago. I think it's possible that, as a species, we've moved past that just a little. While nature is red in tooth and claw, maybe we can do a little better than that.

Campbell also commits one of my major pet peeves. At one point, he says something to the effect of "scientists don't know what a particle is. Is it a wave? Is it a thing? They don't know!". From this, he concludes that there must be a magic energy field in the universe which gives everything life. Or something. It's "transcendent" so he doesn't feel that he has to be specific.

This perversion of science really annoys me. Aside from getting the particle physics wrong (it's not that we "don't know". It's that the duality is actually what's going on. Or something. I'm also not a physicist so I won't pretend to have a real understanding of any of this!), he also really fails to understand the point of science. Scientists (and, through them, our entire civilization) are trying to understand the innermost workings of the universe. You can never do that if, when you find a question you don't know the answer to, you give up and say "Magic!".

The saddest thing is that this book has far more bad spiritualism than it does good history. Hence my low rating. Ultimately, I think the myths of our past have more to teach us about who we were and we are. Campbell thinks they also teach us what we should be. I find that notion to be abhorrent: we can be so much better than we are or were; and if we're going to settle for that, then we may as well give up. There's no more point to us.

Since the book is so much of this, I can't love it or even like it. Fortunately, there's enough in here that I do like (in bits and pieces), that I'm still looking forward to reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces. I understand that this is more historical and factual. Also, Campbell wrote it when he was much younger. So I'm hoping that the religious and spiritual life he made developed later in life won't pervade it so much.

I suppose I'll just have to find out.
Profile Image for Nishat.
27 reviews403 followers
June 23, 2018
In my daily life, I talk about suffering a lot. I have had trouble accepting the fact that terrible things happen to people everyday, that the voiceless, the weak have to undergo great cruelty everywhere.

Campbell says, for our sake we have to affirm the brutality, the thoughtlessness of our surroundings too. By doing so, we affirm our world and the experience of eternity here.

I once mentioned to an older friend, if our world were to be a circle and we the dots to complete it, then our existence must be of utmost importance. The circle would remain incomplete without only one of us! I understand now that I was very naive. Anyone can be easily replaced. But the idea that I carry the stories of my ancestors, that my behavior is very much influenced by their way of life and that my manners, habits, doings are to an extent what they passed down, makes me less 'alone' and recognize this life to be more profound that I imagined.

Campbell likens us to 'One little microbit in that great magnitude'. And he talks about 'following one's bliss' a lot.

A few days ago, a distant relative of mine almost convinced me to study a certain subject of apparently great market value. She talked about future a lot. And about money. So, I was considering her words and harboring doubts about myself, about my decisions until I read this book.

Who would I be if I don't 'follow my bliss'? If I don't hang on to what I love? I would be anything but myself and that's a kind of death too.

Campbell says, we are partaking in something greater than us, than we can even grasp. That makes our experience here very humbling.

I didn't fully understand him though. I should have read his earlier works first in order to understand his jargon. I guess, I'll read this book again in a year.

Campbell's works resonate to this day. His insights greatly help explain our current culture. Reading this book was truly an enlightening experience for me.
Profile Image for Colie!.
81 reviews27 followers
July 4, 2007
Joseph Campbell is seriously incredible. Read this, listen to the PBS audio tapes, read anything he writes... he's just brilliant, erudite, illuminating, fascinating, lovable, enlightening... he reveals things articulately that you always sensed in the shadowy regions of your instinct, and having them so clearly identified has a revelatory and refreshing effect. It makes you pensive and hopeful. It makes you feel good about being human, part of this thing we do called life. I don't know, I think everyone should give him a try. If anything, he's at least incredibly interesting.
Profile Image for Woman Reading .
420 reviews253 followers
December 20, 2021
3.5 ☆ rounded up
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... Mythology pitches the mind ... to what can be known but not told.

More than 30 years ago, PBS broadcasted "The Power of Myth," which was a series of interviews between journalist Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell, a scholar of comparative mythology. Although he had died shortly after the production of those shows, the interviews cemented Campbell's legacy outside of academia.

The Power of Myth reads like a transcript of those episodes. I would have preferred though a more traditional lecture format. I also recommend reading an illustrated edition as mine didn't have any and I was left hanging at times. FYI, the audiobook version contained only 6 programs (versus the book's 8 chapters) and had arranged them in a sequence different than in the printed book editions.

Campbell had looked for the commonality of themes in the world's mythologies. There is tremendous overlap, despite differences in time and space, as many cultures have their own versions of stories about creation, virgin birth, and the hero's quest. The similarities arise because our human bodies have remained the same for more than 100,000 years; and with humans having the same bodily experiences, we respond to the same images and metaphors. As to the motivation for all of these mythologies...
People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances with our own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.

Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.

During the interviews, Campbell also discussed the hero's journey, love and marriage, the transition from a female to male deity in Western thinking, and transcendence.
We're so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget the inner value, the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it is all about.

It’s important to live life with the experience, and therefore the knowledge, of its mystery and of your own mystery. This gives life a new radiance, a new harmony, a new splendor.

Clearly Campbell wasn't a proponent of the meaning of life. But he pointed out that the commonality of themes across the world reflected the human psyche's need to be centered within deep principles. His advice to his college students about how to achieve this was succinct. Despite never having viewed the PBS series, even I recalled that Campbell's advice to "follow your bliss" had entered the cultural consciousness. Although this advice had initially seemed New Age-y and incredibly self-indulgent, the complete context of Campbell's perspective dispelled those impressions.
I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

Read myths. They teach you that you can turn inward, and you begin to get the message of the symbols. Read other people’s myths, not those of your own religion, because you tend to interpret your own religion in terms of facts—but if you read the other ones, you begin to get the message. Myth helps you to put your mind in touch with this experience of being alive. It tells you what the experience is.

Although raised in the Roman Catholic tradition, Campbell seemed more aligned with Buddhism than with the Church. Interestingly, Moyers said his Christian faith had been strengthened instead of weakened as a result of their conversations. I would say that my religious position has not been affected after reading this. Of course, some of that may be attributable to my occasional bouts of frustration when Campbell described ephemeral concepts. It was like trying to grab ahold of smoke.
It is from that which is beyond being and nonbeing. It both is and is not. It neither is nor is not. It is beyond all categories of thought and the mind.

This seemingly contradictory qualifier was more to my liking.
He who thinks he knows, doesn’t know. He who knows that he doesn’t know, knows. For in this context, to know is not to know. And not to know is to know.
Profile Image for Shafat.
90 reviews92 followers
June 11, 2016
There is something very fishy about our existence. We are unaware of it most of the time, but it tickles us all from time to time.

Suddenly we realize we 'are', we actually exist. That's a weird thing. One day we open our eyes, and there’s a world outside.

These things trouble me. Since when do I exist? How come I wasn’t here, then I suddenly came out of nowhere? How’s it possible that something as concrete as ‘I’ actually came out of nowhere? And exactly at what time did I come into being? At my mother’s womb, or after I’ve seen the first sunlight on this planet? If I started at my mother’s womb, exactly at what time in my mother’s womb? One week, one month, or 6 months? And when would I really cease to exist? I read that all the organs do not 'die' at the same time. Are birth and death as real as they seem, or just mere illusions? Neuroscientists tell us there’s really nothing concrete within us that can be recognized as ‘I’, all things are in constant flux, nothing stays the same for long. What we experience as the continuous ‘self’ is actually an illusion. If there's no 'I' inside me, who was born and who would die? Maybe nobody.

Sometimes I wonder, What if I actually existed all the time, and will continue to exist?

There’s a glass of water on the table and I touch it. It actually exists. How come a thing can 'exist' in itself? I feel an eerie tingling sensation in my lower spine. From where does these weird feelings really come? Where does thoughts come from? I don’t choose my thoughts. I don’t know what I would think one minute from now.

It’s all very weird.

We try to build some logical explanation to cover up the freakish nature of reality, but it’s not much of help. By scientific methodology, we know that everything is energy in one form or another, but we do not know what this weird thing energy really is. We see electron behaving as both particle and wave, which defies common sense. Nature shows us common sense doesn't work everywhere. We know the universe has come into being through some cosmic incident known as Big Bang, but we don’t know why it had to be. Science help us to familiarize and to make sense of the world to a certain extent, but in the end science just exposes us the naked mystery itself. Black Holes. Quantum fluctuation. Entanglement.And scientists doesn't know what consciousness really is, some say it is unknowable.

We know there’s more to the world than our eyes and our rational thoughts meet. We can feel it.

There’s where myths come.

Myths are not science. Myths are not facts. Myths are not mere cuck and bull story stories.

Myths are poetry. Like poetry, myths doesn’t have a linear, literal meaning. It stands for something beyond itself, beyond the words and images. Myths are a gateway to the transcendental realm where thoughts cannot reach.

When myths are taken as too concrete and literal, it loses its original essence. It becomes religion.

Joseph Campbell shows us the multi-dimensionality and the depth of myths and mythological symbols. Today we live in a world where we are totally accustomed to literal and linear thinking, we have forgotten how to think with symbols and imagery. We live in an alienated world.

Campbell is now more important than ever. We need to hear what the myths are telling us.




Profile Image for Margarita Garova.
407 reviews160 followers
December 9, 2021
Митовете ни дават ключа към собственото ни “аз”, обясняват повтарящите се модели в човешкия живот, чрез тях порастваме и преживяваме реалността по смислен и дълбок начин. И разбира се, помагат ни да проумеем Томас Ман и Джойс. Удивителна с прозренията си книга, която може да се чете и осмисля безброй пъти. Малко се загубих в света на трансцеденталното и религията, но цялостното усещане от духа и ума на Джоузеф Кембъл е за получено даром съкровище, за истинска интелектуална и духовна привилегия.
Profile Image for Lauren .
1,680 reviews2,290 followers
March 6, 2017
Re-read this one after several years, and it was even more powerful this time. I think the time and the age between helped in my understanding and comprehension. Very accessible text, and I am sure I will revisit this one again someday - maybe I can finally watch the PBS special too.
Profile Image for Mahdi Lotfi.
446 reviews106 followers
June 25, 2017
جوزف كمبل (01987-1904) از برجسته ترين مراجع جهاني در زمينه ي اسطوره شناسي، پژوهنده اي توانا، مشاهده گري تيزبين، نويسنده و آموزگاري نامي بود كه در سطح جهان تاثيري گسترده و ژرف گذارد.
براي او، اسطوره «آواز كائنات و موسيقي افلاك» بود.
در اين گفتگوي بلند كه روايتي از آن از يكي از شبكه هاي تلويزيوني آمريكا پخش شد، و مي توان آن را جمعبندي پژوهش ها و مشاهده ها و انديشه هاي او شمرد پهنه اي وسيع را درمي نوردد و به معني دقيق كلمه، از هر دري سخن مي گويد...
اين اثر جمع بندي و چكيده تحليلي و تطبيقي بن مايه هاي مشترك اساطير كليه اقوام و ملل، و رابطه اين مجموعه با دنياي جديد و انسان معاصر است.
اين كار توسط كسي انجام گرفته است كه به قولي معرفت او بر پهنه وسيع چشم انداز گذشته ما در حدي بود كه تاكنون معدودي از انسان ها به آن رسيده اند.
9 reviews
May 6, 2009
Apparently everyone loves this book, which shocks me. I found a lot of his references very interesting but I really despised a lot of the author's commentary on them (as well as the hundreds of times the author contradicts himself). Yes, he did come up with some pretty deep conclusions, but at other times I found his ideas to be so infuriatingly ridiculous that I, in fact, threw the book at the car window at one point when I read a particularly infuriating nugget of absurdity (I believe it was something about how people really shouldn't be punished for crimes during times of war). Overall I found it to be very preachy.
Profile Image for Malynda Alice.
22 reviews4 followers
December 26, 2007
I don't know how he does it, but every time I read/hear/stumble upon some vague quotation of Joseph Campbell's work, my day gets better. The sensation I get when reading his work is of relief, that all the seemingly static and infallible truths of the world stem from very simple needs. Somehow knowing that frees me to pursue the quenching of the needs, rather than the physical trappings we have set up around that need. It is very interesting.
This book is a sort of revised and embellished version of the video interviews of Campbell conducted by Bill Moyers on Skywalker Ranch (home of George Lucas). The video is six hours long and was slimmed down from 26 hours of conversation on myth and its place in our lives. Joseph Campbell is so insighful--he sees the humanity of the study, as well as the science, spouting such sincere and life-changing directions as "follow your bliss." I mean, dang.
Profile Image for Kimber.
197 reviews61 followers
May 20, 2020
There is a misconception that myths are just stories-but everyone loves stories in some form or another. And what is it in the story that we need so much-particularly our religious myths, that feed our understanding of what life means, and what is the purpose...What is the meaning of the Holy Grail, of Jesus, of Perseus, of the Hindu, the Buddhists...it's all here...No answers given just the enthusiasm for living your life to the fullest, being true to your path, following your bliss, crossing the threshold...
Profile Image for Boris.
404 reviews152 followers
June 12, 2020
Джоузеф Кембъл е от великите умове на последните векове.

Страхотна книга, хубав превод!

За съжаление качеството на изданието на Сиела е под всякаква критика. Тези хора просто нямат капацитета да издават такива книги. Ако искате да притежавате книга на Кембъл издадена в достоен вид, препоръчвам да си купите "Героят с хилядите лица".
Profile Image for Graeme Rodaughan.
Author 9 books338 followers
July 29, 2018
"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."
The Power of Myth is a beautifully illustrated collection of interviews of Joseph Campbell by Bill Moyers.

This is a very accessible and enjoyable book that presents a concise summary of the core ideas distilled from a lifetime of scholarly effort in the worldwide study of myth by Joseph Campbell.

Strongly recommend this book to anyone with a curious mind.
Profile Image for Stephen.
Author 5 books28 followers
November 5, 2009
My 100th book for goodreads should be a memorable one.

TRUE STORY: I was facing one of those milestone birthdays where you find yourself asking the big questions like, “What the heck am I doing?” “Am I on the right course?” "Who am I?"

I wandered into a local bookstore thinking “Surely there’s a book in here with some answers for me.” I walked out with “The Power of Myth” by Joseph Campbell with Bill Moyers, the companion book for their PBS series of the same name.

A few pages into their dialog, I realized my angst wasn’t anything new; I was on my own modest sort of “vision quest”…

Campbell, ”going in quest of a boon, a vision, which has the same form in every mythology…You leave the world that you’re in and go into a depth or into a distance or up to a height. There you come to what was missing in your consciousness in the world you formerly inhabited. Then comes the problem either of staying with that, or letting the world drop off, or return with that boon and try to hold onto it as you move back into your social world again. That’s not an easy thing to do.”

For me, it meant that I had to change everything in my life. And become a writer.

That IS not an easy thing to do.

Marvelous book filled with journeys, quests and timeless lessons from many of the world's cultures and myths.
Profile Image for Jorge Campos.
12 reviews
July 2, 2013
Professor Campell leaves the reader wanting a more profound insight regarding the human person's social, anthropological, and religious need for myth; instead we are left with, well, to use one of his anecdotes: "We don't have a Philosophy, or a Theology... we dance."

And dance he does.

Campbell jumps from one myth to another; dwelling in the fact of its existence and never going beyond to study its meaning, relevance, depth, or "power," making his bias towards Buddhism unblushingly obvious and uninteresting.

This work shows a surprising lack of objectivity coming from an academic. It is not so much a study of myth, the phenomenon, as a presentation of mostly Eastern myths infused with Buddhist world-views
Profile Image for Kylie Rae.
263 reviews27 followers
March 31, 2016
TLDR: This book is awful. Don’t read it unless you hate yourself.

Wow I hated this book. But I was determined to finish it so I could fairly rant and write this review.

This book is really a transcript of a series of PBS television specials from 1985, and I don’t think it worked in print format at all. Yet I can’t imagine the specials being any less awful than this book. It has pretty good ratings on Goodreads and has appeared up high on several lists of strong mythology books, but I hated it. It’s not just that it was too overhyped; this book evoked strong feelings of anger and annoyance in me, which I’ve never really experienced before while reading a book. It was a rambling, nonsensical, hippy rant about how people of the past knew what was up and were transcendent and how awful society is now.

My first problem is with the format. Each chapter is a certain broad topic relating to mythology (i.e. The Hero’s Adventure, The Gift of the Goddess). If I didn’t know the chapter names ahead of time, I would have had absolutely no idea what the chapters were even about. There was no cohesion of ideas. Additionally, because the chapters were divided this way, the flow of the book was nonexistent. It jumped around so much, occasionally explaining a myth (not often), and touching on different cultures here and there. I didn’t internalize anything because the topics and myths were so scattered.

I was angry with the outdated ideals discussed in this book. The book seemed a little sexist to me and I was frustrated with the repetition that love and marriage should exist only between a male and a female.

My biggest problem with this book is that it was SO SO SO preachy. It read like a spiritual text. Campbell talks on and on about “transcendence” and God and divinity and the need for religion. If I had known this was the prime focus of the book ahead of time, I would never have considered reading this. The actual mythology is so scare because for every one page of myth, there were 15+ pages of transcendence and how this myth relates to religion and God and how we lack spirituality in our modern times. The title of the book is “The Power of MYTH” not the “The Power of Hippy Religious Nonsense.” Overall, this book left me feeling extremely disappointed and frustrated.
Profile Image for Temz.
275 reviews239 followers
April 23, 2020
„За мен митологията е родина на музите, вдъхновителките на изкуството, вдъхновителките на поезията. Да възприемеш живота като поема, а себе си като герой в тази поема – ето това е смисълът на мита“
Profile Image for brian tanabe.
387 reviews28 followers
September 4, 2008
I started reading the hardcover version of this and immediately realized it is a companion to a PBS series between Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell. So I decided to switch to the audio version – highly, highly recommended over the book.

I found myself connecting with a lot of the passages, but one passage in particular definitely stands out, tackling the meaning of life. While I have a great amount of respect for Moyers, I was slightly annoyed at times with his attempts to assert his equanimity to Campbell and so I appreciate this particular exchange because of Moyers’ immediate disagreement. And then like Buddha himself, Campbell happily goes on to explain himself. So beautiful.

Bill Moyers: And yet we all have lived a life that had a purpose. Do you believe that?
Joseph Campbell: I don’t believe life has a real purpose. I mean when you really see what life is, it’s a lot of protoplasm with an urge to reproduce and continue in being.
BM: Not true. That’s not true.
JC: Now wait a minute. Just sheer life cant be said to have a purpose because look at all the different purposes it has all over the lot. But each incarnation you might say, has potentiality and the function of life is to live that potentiality. Well how do you do it? Well again, when my students would ask, “Should I do this? Should I do that? Dad says I should do this.” My answer is, follow your bliss. There is something inside you that knows you’re on the beam, that knows you’re off the beam. And if you get off the beam to earn money, you’ve lost your life.”
Profile Image for Skallagrimsen.
208 reviews37 followers
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December 8, 2022
The Power of Myth impressed the teenage me. Early twenties me re-read it and remained impressed. Middle age me might be less impressed--although if so, in fairness, it might owe less to this book's faults than to the fact that its ideas have so oversaturated the culture now as to seem obvious, even trite. At this point, who isn't sick of "the hero's journey"? I've also since read detailed criticism arguing that Joseph Campbell wasn't nearly the scholar or thinker his acolytes have made him out to be. He's been overrated, according to some, because he was the guy on PBS. The critics sounded all too convincing.

Whatever the case, I still owe The Power of Myth a debt of gratitude. It's the first book that ever got me thinking critically about mythology, its structure, function, and relationship to contemporary culture. Before then, I'd only ever enjoyed mythology. Campbell taught me to seek its deeper meanings.
Profile Image for Jafar.
728 reviews233 followers
October 10, 2010
It can be joy to read this book which is entirely a conversation between the mythologist Joseph Campbell and the PBS journalist Bill Moyers – both being uber-erudite. Whether the joy turns into boredom and annoyance or continues to the end depends on your mindset. For Campbell myths are what we humans conceive to make sense of the world and our lives and our relation with the world. All stories and rites and traditions should be looked at in this perspective. Myth are not things of the antiquity; they’re present in many forms and provide meaning and direction to all facets of our personal and social lives. Campbell and Moyers go on and on about this. There are a lot of pretty passages in this book that you want to underline and quote.

I tell you what I think Campbell needed. He needed a healthy dose of cynicism. He was too engrossed with his academic studies in mythology and failed to see anything other than beauty and poetry and life-affirming allegories in myths and traditions. Ignorance, bigotry, cruelty, misogyny, xenophobia, exploitation of the weak by the strong, and other such unpleasant things have no place in his mythology. Every myth and every tradition is a deep and beautiful allegory that helps us find “our bliss.” Two thirds through the book I decided I had enough of it. But then, I’m not a Zen master exactly.
Profile Image for Maryam.
98 reviews18 followers
October 12, 2017
فوق العاده از خوندش  لذت بردم به نظرم بیشتر از اینکه آموزش اسطوره شناسی باشه درس خودشناسی و هستی شناسی میده.
"اسطوره‌ها را بخوانید. آنها می‌آموزند که می‌توانید به دورن بازگردید و شروع به دریافت پیام ‌نمادها می‌کنید. اسطوره‌ه��ی ملت های دیگر را بخوانید، نه اسطوره های دین خود را؛ زیرا گرایشتان بر آن است که دین خود را از زاویه واقعیات امور تفسیر کنید، اما اگر اسطوره های دیگران را بخوانید شروع به دریافت پیام خواهید کرد. اسطوره کمک می‌کند که ذهن خود را در تماس با این تجربه زنده بودن قرار دهید."
2 reviews5 followers
May 25, 2014
Jesus Christ does old Professor Joe Campbell knead and massage his precious little thesis until it is a pile of steaming crap sitting in front of me. How many different ways can you boil a potato. Yes, OK, myth, storytelling, wow amazing. NEXT.
Profile Image for Miss Ravi.
Author 1 book968 followers
December 20, 2015
درباره‌ی این کتاب خیلی چیزها می‌شه نوشت اما ممکنه هیچکدومش توصیف دقیق اون نباشه. بنابراین فقط می‌تونم بگم یه کتاب درباره‌ی راهنمای زیستن. کشف دوباره هستی. غرق شدن در کائنات.
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