Joseph Campbell

Joseph
Campbell
1904
1987

American Author on Comparative Mythology, Philosophy

Author Quotes

There?s something inside you that knows when you?re in the center, that knows when you?re on the beam or off the beam. And if you get off the beam to earn money, you?ve lost your life. And if you stay in the center and don?t get any money, you still have your bliss.

This is how one is to deal with animus and anima disillusionment? That?s reality evoking a new depth of reality in yourself, because you?re imperfect, too. You may not know it. The world is a constellation of imperfections, and you, perhaps, are the most imperfect of all. By your love for the world you name it accurately and without pity and love what you have thus named? This discovery can help you save your marriage.

Two people meet and fall in love. Then they marry, and the real Sam or Suzy begins to show through the fantasy, and, boy, is it a shock. So a lot of little boys and girls just withdraw their anima or animus. They get a divorce and wait for another receptive person, pitch the woo again, and, uh-oh, another shock. And so on and so forth. Now the one undeniable fact: this disillusion is inevitable. You had an ideal. You married that ideal, then along comes a fact that does not correspond to that ideal. You suddenly notice things that do not quite fit with your projection. So what are you going to do when that happens? There?s only one attitude that will solve the situation: compassion. This poor, poor fact that I married does not correspond to my ideal; it?s only a human being. Well, I?m a human being, too. So I?ll meet a human being for a change; I?ll live with it and be nice to it, showing compassion for the fallibilities that I myself have certainly brought to life as a human being.

We are having experiences all the time which may on occasion render some sense of this, a little intuition of where your bliss is. Grab it. No one can tell you what it is going to be. You have to learn to recognize your own depth.

If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don?t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn?t know they were going to be.

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are ? if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.

It?s characteristic of democracy that majority rule is understood as being effective not only in politics but also in thinking. In thinking, of course, the majority is always wrong. The majority?s function in relation to the spirit is to try to listen and to open up to someone who?s had an experience beyond that of food, shelter, progeny, and wealth.

One of the boldest things you could possibly do would be to marry that ideal that you?ve fallen for. Then you face a real job, because everything has been projected onto him or her. This goes beyond lust; this is something that goes way down. It pulls everything out. This anima/animus is the fish line that has caught your whole unconscious, and everything?s going to come up ? the Midgard Serpent, everything down in the bottom. This is what you marry.

Our life has become so economic and practical in its orientation that, as you get older, the claims of the moment upon you are so great, you hardly know where the hell you are, or what it is you intended. You are always doing something that is required of you. Where is your bliss station? You have to try to find it.

Perfection is inhuman. Human beings are not perfect. What evokes our love ? and I mean love, not lust ? is the imperfection of the human being. So, when the imperfection of the real person, compared to the ideal of your animus or anima, peeks through, say, this is a challenge to my compassion. Then make a try, and something might begin to get going here. You might begin to be quit of your fix on your anima.

Poets are simply those who have made a profession and a lifestyle of being in touch with their bliss. Most people are concerned with other things. They get themselves involved in economic and political activities, or get drafted into a war that isn?t the one they?re interested in, and it may be difficult to hold to this umbilical under those circumstances. That is a technique each one has to work out for himself somehow.

Sacred space is an absolute necessity for anybody today. You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don?t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don?t know who your friends are, you don?t know what you owe anybody, you don?t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.

The adventure is its own reward ? but it?s necessarily dangerous, having both negative and positive possibilities, all of them beyond control. We are following our own way, not our daddy?s or our mother?s way? Life can dry up because you?re not off on your own adventure.

The most uncomfortable but essential part of finding your bliss, Campbell argues, is the element of uncertainty ? the willingness to, in the timeless words of Rilke, ?live the questions? rather than reaching for the ready-made answers:

The principle of compassion is that which converts disillusionment into a participatory companionship. So when the fact shows through the animus or anima, what you must render is compassion. This is the basic love, the charity, that turns a critic into a living human being who has something to give to ? as well as to demand of ? the world.

The religious people tell us we really won?t experience bliss until we die and go to heaven. But I believe in having as much as you can of this experience while you are still alive.

Perfection is inhuman. Human beings are not perfect. What evokes our love ? and I mean love, not lust ? is the imperfection of the human being. So, when the imperfection of the real person, compared to the ideal of your animus or anima, peeks through, say, this is a challenge to my compassion. Then make a try, and something might begin to get going here. You might begin to be quit of your fix on your anima.

The principle of compassion is that which converts disillusionment into a participatory companionship. So when the fact shows through the animus or anima, what you must render is compassion. This is the basic love, the charity, that turns a critic into a living human being who has something to give to ? as well as to demand of ? the world.

This is how one is to deal with animus and anima disillusionment... That's reality evoking a new depth of reality in yourself, because you're imperfect, too. You may not know it. The world is a constellation of imperfections, and you, perhaps, are the most imperfect of all. By your love for the world you name it accurately and without pity and love what you have thus named... This discovery can help you save your marriage.

Two people meet and fall in love. Then they marry, and the real Sam or Suzy begins to show through the fantasy, and, boy, is it a shock. So a lot of little boys and girls just withdraw their anima or animus. They get a divorce and wait for another receptive person, pitch the woo again, and, uh-oh, another shock. And so on and so forth. Now the one undeniable fact: this disillusion is inevitable. You had to ideal. You married did ideal, then along comes a fact that does not correspond to that ideal. You suddenly notice things that do not quite fit with your projection. So what are you going to do when that happens? There's only one attitude that will solve the situation: compassion. This poor, poor fact that I married does not correspond to my ideal; it's only a human being. Well, I'm a human being, too. So I'll meet a human being for a change; I'll live with it and be nice to it, showing compassion for the fallibilities that I myself have certainly brought to life as a human being.

It's just as bad to be fixed on your anima and miss as to be fixed on your persona: you've got to get free of that. And the lesson of life is to release you from it.

One of the boldest things you could possibly do would be to marry that ideal that you've fallen for. Then you face a real job, because everything has been projected onto him or her. This goes beyond lust; this is something that goes way down. It pulls everything out. This anima/animus is the fish line that has caught your whole unconscious, and everything's going to come up ? the Midgard Serpent, everything down in the bottom. This is what you marry.

The first work of the hero is to retreat from the world scene of secondary effects to those causal zones of the psyche where the difficulties really reside, and there to clarify the difficulties, eradicate them in his own case (i.e., give battle to the nursery demons of his local culture) and break through to the undistorted, direct experience and assimilation of what [Carl] Jung called "the archetypal images.

It has always been the prime function of mythology and rite to supply the symbols that carry the human spirit forward, in counteraction to those that tend to tie it back. In fact, it may very well be that the very high incidence of neuroticism among ourselves follows the decline among us of such effective spiritual aid.

I came to this idea of bliss because in Sanskrit, which is the great spiritual language of the world, there are three terms that represent the brink, the jumping-off place to the ocean of transcendence: Sat, Chit, Ananda. The word ?Sat? means being. ?Chit? means consciousness. ?Ananda? means bliss or rapture. I thought, ?I don?t know whether my consciousness is proper consciousness or not; I don?t know whether what I know of my being is my proper being or not; but I do know where my rapture is. So let me hang on to rapture, and that will bring me both my consciousness and my being.? I think it worked.

Author Picture
First Name
Joseph
Last Name
Campbell
Birth Date
1904
Death Date
1987
Bio

American Author on Comparative Mythology, Philosophy