Joseph Campbell

Joseph
Campbell
1904
1987

American Author on Comparative Mythology, Philosophy

Author Quotes

When you’re on a journey, and the end keeps getting further and further away, then you realize that the real end is the journey.

It is only those who know neither an inner call nor an outer doctrine whose plight truly is despair.

There is an invisible plane supporting the visible one.

There is primal truth in myth.

The actual point in question, throughout the centuries of Christian persecution, has never been faith in God, but faith in the Bible as the word of God, and in the Church (this Church or that) as the interpreter of that word.

Whenever men have looked for something solid on which to found their lives, they have chosen not the facts in which the world abounds, but the myths of an immemorial imagination.

Whenever a knight of the Grail tried to follow a path made by someone else, he went altogether astray. Where there is away or path, it is someone else's footsteps. Each of us has to find his own way... Nobody can give you a mythology.

To be in the world struggle. That’s what life is.

When you are a man, you are in the field of time and decisions. One of the problems of life is to live with the realization of both terms, to say, "I know the center, and I know that good and evil are simply temporal aberrations and that, in God's view, there is no difference."

This we know: the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites us all. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.

The way to find out about your happiness is to keep your mind on those moments when you feel most happy, when you really are happy - not excited, not just thrilled, but deeply happy. This requires a little bit of self-analysis. What is it that makes you happy? Stay with it, no matter what people tell you. This is what I call "following your bliss."

This, I believe, is the great Western truth: that each of us is a completely unique creature and that, if we are ever to give any gift to the world, it will have to come out of our own experience and fulfillment of our own potentialities, not someone else's. In the traditional Orient, on the other hand, and generally in all traditionally grounded societies, the individual is cookie-molded. His duties are put upon him in exact and precise terms, and there's no way of breaking out from them. When you go to a guru to be guided on a spiritual path, he knows just where you are on the traditional path, just where you have to go next, just what you must do to get there.

The life of a mythology derives from the vitality of its symbols as metaphors delivering, not simply the idea, but a sense of actual participation in such a realization of transcendence, infinity, and abundance, as this of which the upanishadic authors tell. Indeed, the first and most essential service of a mythology is this one, of opening the mind and heart to the utter wonder of all being. And the second service, then, is cosmological: of representing the universe and whole spectacle of nature, both as known to the mind and as beheld by the eye, as an epiphany of such kind that when lightning flashes, or a setting sun ignites the sky, or a deer is seen standing alerted, the exclamation "Ah!" may be uttered as a recognition of divinity.

The secret cause of all suffering is mortality itself, which is the prime condition of life. It cannot be denied if life is to be affirmed.

The "morphogenic" relationship of eternity to time is not to be thought of as sequential. Moreover, eternity being by definition outside or beyond temporality, transcendent of all categories, whether of virtue or of reason (being and nonbeing, unity and multiplicity, love and justice, forgiveness and wrath), the term and concept "God" is itself but a metaphor of the unknowing mind, connotative, not only beyond itself, but beyond thought... metaphors are equivalent as alternative signs of the high mystical experience of an absorption of mortal appearance in immortal being; for which another historical figure of speech is the "End of the World."

The images of myth are reflections of the spiritual potentialities of every one of us. Through contemplating these, we evoke their powers in our lives.

Mythology is a control system, on the one hand framing its community to accord with an intuited order of nature and, on the other hand, by means of its symbolic pedagogic rites, conducting individuals through the ineluctable psychophysiological stages of transformation of a human lifetime - birth, childhood and adolescence, age, old age, and the release of death - in unbroken accord simultaneously with the requirements of this world and the rapture of participation in a manner of being beyond time. For all the symbolic narratives, images, rites, and festivals by which life within the cultural monad is controlled and defined are of the order of the way of art. Their effect, therefore, is to wake the intellect to realizations equivalent to those of the insights that produced them.

Myths inspire the realization of the possibility of your perfection, the fullness of your strength, and the bringing of solar light into the world.

Life is pain, but compassion is what gives it the possibility of continuing.

Love is the meaning of life - it is the high point of life.

For the reality to which the artist and the mystic are exposed, is in fact, the same. It is of their own inmost truth brought to consciousness: by the mystic, in direct confrontation, and by the artist, through reflection in the masterworks of his art. The fact that the nature of the artist (as a microcosm) and the nature of the universe (as the macrocosm) are two aspects of the same reality (respectively, as a minute part of the whole, experienced from within, and as the whole, viewed from without... accounts sufficiently for that creative interplay of discovery and recognition which alerts the artist to the possibility of a revelatory composition in which outer and inner realities are recognized as the same.

Heaven and hell are within us, and all the gods are within us.

All men are competent to know the mind of God. There is no revelation special to any people.

Everything transitory is but a metaphor... Everything eternal is but a metaphor.

Hell is the place of people who could not yield their ego system to allow the grace of a transpersonal power to move them.

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

American Author on Comparative Mythology, Philosophy