Archives for posts with tag: Joseph Campbell

Origins of humans, their environment, and their understanding of the world from at least 3200 B.C. until around 700 B.C. involved many Gods.  By the 6th century B.C. people in different cultures started to give expression to new ideas.  These ideas were independent but were actually very similar.  One of these new ideas was monotheism.  This was reflected in the ideas of Moses around 1200 B.C., the Upanishads around 800 B.C., and Zoroaster and Jewish prophets of the 600’s B.C.   These profound explanations for the universe and the purpose of life can be seen as the evolution of consciousness.

In earlier times the emphasis was on the group.  This helped reinforce religions and the resulting church and community groups.  Today there is less meaning in the group, and often even less on the world.  The focus appears to have shifted to the individual.  In the resulting transition, one does not know what it is we are moving towards.  The lines of communication between the conscious and the unconscious zones of the human psyche have all been cut, and we have been split in two.

The social/group unit is no longer the carrier of religious content.  We have become an economic-political organization, where the ideals are those of a secular state.  The values have too often become competition for the material supremacy and resources.   The vestiges of the ancient human heritage of ritual, morality and art seem to be steadily decaying.  The universal triumph of the secular state has put religious organizations into a secondary position, leaving them relatively ineffectual.

The mystics stress the self-knowledge that we are more than the rules and boundaries that govern material existence; we are of more divine origin that is apparent.  We are asleep and must wake up to the truth that our work is to help others.  The lower self is enslaved in a world of dreams and sleep, and doubts the existence of the higher self – which is the true link to the eternal.

The mysteries and unconscious messages have lost their force.  The values and morals seem to no longer interest our psyche.  The beliefs held by the group are now held by fewer and fewer people.  Is this really the evolution of consciousness?   Perhaps our current dilemma is being disconnected with our unconscious.


We have an evolutionary imperative to grow beyond the conditioning of pleasure and self-satisfaction.         George Bernard Shaw    (Shaw was not a religious man, but comes close to the great mystics of all religions)    This is what it means to be a human being, and not just in the pursuit of money.

Rites of initiation and installation teach the lesson of the essential oneness of the individual and the group.   Joseph Campbell

If only we could see ourselves as we really are.  If only we could see each other that way, there would be no reason for war, for hatred, for cruelty, we would fall down and worship each other.  Thomas Merton

Silence is the language God speaks and everything else is a bad translation.  Father Thomas Keating

Myths and symbols are messages from the past that convey human understanding of life.   Myths speak to us in pictures, stories and concepts that often cannot be communicated in words alone.  It would be a mistake to try and take them all literally.  It would be a bigger mistake to not learn from the lessons and wisdom they are trying to pass on to us.

Myths preceded the development of primitive writing and were the way humans explained the world around them.  The first recorded evidence of the myths was the hieroglyphics and pictures in Egypt around 3200 B.C.  The Greeks left tablets giving evidence of its myths around 1300 B.C.  In time, every culture in the ancient world had a fully developed set of myths to explain the origins of humans and their environment.

The symbolism of every people reflects the same spiritual principles.  Myths recognize, in symbolic stories, that in our lifetime we must learn to balance the dual energies within us.  Myths tell the underlying stories from every part of the world and every epoch in human history.  Knowledge of human consciousness has been preserved in symbols, allegories and myths.  This symbolic language lays out the journey we all must take from ignorance to knowledge.

Myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation.                  Joseph Campbell

Mythology is –

a production of poetical fantasy from prehistoric times, misunderstood by succeeding ages.   Muller

a repository of allegorical instruction, to shape the individual to his group.   Durkheim

a group dream, symptomatic of archetypal urges within the depths of the human psyche.   Jung

the traditional vehicle of man’s profoundest metaphysical insights.  Coomaraswamy

All mystics speak the same language, for they come from the same country.   De Saint Martin

The mystics of all religions concur on what to believe:  that the core of our personality is divine, and that the purpose of life is to discover this divinity for ourselves.   Eknath Easwaran

What we have lost in the modern world is our “transcendental anchor.”  It appears many of us have forgot the ancient wisdom that the goal of religion is not to “perfect ourselves,’ or “get in touch with ourselves,” but to get beyond ourselves, in an effort to find something far, far greater than our isolated little egos.    Vaclav Havel





Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle …  Meaning is something you build into your life.

The meaning of life is to find your gift.  The purpose of life is to give it away.                             Pablo Picasso

The meaning of life is to give life meaning.      Viktor Frankl

Nothing in this world can bring anything but temporary happiness.      Buddha

When you realize life has no meaning, you become capable of putting meaning into life.        Camus

The world is full of people who have stopped listening to themselves or have listened only to their neighbors to learn what they ought to do, how they ought to behave, and what the values are they should be living for.                                          Joseph Campbell

It may be up to you – so continue, or get started, on your search …

Life has no meaning.  Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life.  It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.             Joseph Campbell

If you wait until you find the meaning of life, will there be enough life left to live meaningfully?    The Lubavitcher Rebbe

The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and simple.  And yet, everyone rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond themselves.  Alan Watts