Most helpful positive review
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
What myths do we live by?
on October 22, 2008
Ever since Bill Moyers interviewed Joseph Campbell on PBS, the subject of myth has become far more popular, with a seemingly endless stream of books on the subject. Sadly, a lot of them have been superficial & New Age-y in the worst way, basically cheerful self-help dressed up in cloth-of-gold cultural couture. So you might be inclined to pass this one by as just more of the same.
Phil Cousineau has written a fine, insightful book on the real & lasting value of myth, particularly the ways in which it plays itself out in our culture & our lives. He does so by choosing to focus on a few specifics, rather than simply using grand, sweeping examples that sound impressive but don't carry much lasting value.
So we have just 6 chapters, dense without being stuffy or impenetrable, with titles such as "The Myth of the Creative Struggle" (which delves into the myth of Sisyphus & its presence in everyday life), and "The Mythic Power of Mentorship" (which delves into the need for wise, encouraging teachers drawn from both life & culture).
In each chapter, Cousineau begins with an autobiographical example, which then leads into wider cultural territory. Importantly, while he conveys the positive power of the myth, he doesn't stint on the hard work it may demand of the individual. There's no "just live the myth & be a huge success" snake oil here!
For those readers in search of substance, rather than bland & empty homilies, you'll find it in these pages. Cousineau gives you much to think about, and he'll make you look at your life with refreshed vision. Highly recommended!