Joseph Campbell

Joseph
Campbell
1904
1987

American Author on Comparative Mythology, Philosophy

Author Quotes

The job of an educator is to teach students to see vitality in themselves.

Clearly, mythology is no toy for children. Nor is it a matter of archaic, merely scholarly concern, of no moment to modern men of action. For its symbols (whether in the tangible form of images or in the abstract form of ideas) touch and release the deepest centers of motivation, moving literate and illiterate alike, moving mobs, moving civilizations.

What is a god? A god is a personification of a motivating power of a value system that functions in human life and in the universe.

Wherever the poetry of myth is interpreted as biography, history, or science, it is killed.

Myth is what we call other people’s religion.

Regrets are illuminations come too late.

The less there is of you, the more you experience the sublime.

All cultures … have grown out of myths. They are founded on myths. What these myths have given has been inspiration for aspiration. The economic interpretation of history is for the birds. Economics is itself a function of aspiration. It’s what people aspire to that creates the field in which economics works.

The image of the cosmos must change with the development of the mind and knowledge; otherwise, the mythic statement is lost, and man becomes dissociated from the very basis of his own religious experience. Doubt comes in, and so forth. You must remember: all of the great traditions, and little traditions, in their own time were scientifically correct. That is to say, they were correct in terms of the scientific image of that age. So there must be a scientifically validated image. Now you know what has happened: our scientific field has separated itself from the religious field, or vice-versa. … This divorce this is a fatal thing, and a very unfortunate thing, and a totally unnecessary thing.

I think it's important to live life with a knowledge of its mystery, and of your own mystery.

Eternity isn't some later time. Eternity isn't a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now which thinking and time cuts out. This is it. And if you don't get it here, you won't get it anywhere. And the experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life. There's a wonderful formula that the Buddhists have for the Bodhisattva, the one whose being (sattva) is illumination (bodhi), who realizes his identity with eternity and at the same time his participation in time. And the attitude is not to withdraw from the world when you realize how horrible it is, but to realize that this horror is simply the foreground of a wonder and to come back and participate in it.

The achievement of the hero is one that he is ready for and it's really a manifestation of his character. It's amusing the way in which the landscape and conditions of the environment match the readiness of the hero. The adventure that he is ready for is the one that he gets ... The adventure evoked a quality of his character that he didn't know he possessed.

Wherever the hero may wander, whatever he may do, he is ever in the presence of his own essence — for he has the perfected eye to see. There is no separateness. Thus, just as the way of social participation may lead in the end to a realization of the All in the individual, so that of exile brings the hero to the Self in all.

It's only when a man tames his own demons that he becomes the king of himself if not of the world.

I always feel uncomfortable when people speak about ordinary mortals because I've never met an ordinary man, woman or child.

Is the system going to flatten you out and deny you your humanity, or are you going to be able to make use of the system to the attainment of human purposes?

The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.

The experience of eternity right here and now is the function of life. Heaven is not the place to have the experience; here is the place to have the experience.

You enter the forest at the darkest point, where there is no path.
Where there is a way or path, it is someone else's path. You are not on your own path. If you follow someone else's way, you are not going to realize
your potential.

The first step to the knowledge of the wonder and mystery of life is the recognition of the monstrous nature of the earthly human realm as well as its glory, the realization that this is just how it is and that it cannot and will not be changed. Those who think they know how the universe could have been had they created it, without pain, without sorrow, without time, without death, are unfit for illumination.

All religions are true but none are literal.

The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.

Where you stumble and fall, there you will find gold.

If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path.

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. Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.

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

American Author on Comparative Mythology, Philosophy