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154 of 163 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mind opening book that makes you smile from the heart, June 21, 2000
This review is from: The Power of Myth (Paperback)
Of my two favorite memories of Campbell's talks with Bill Moyers of PBS, which is what this book transcribes and encapsulates, the one that comes to mind is an introduction between Campbell and a Catholic Priest, perhaps a Cardinal, that he retells. After they are introduced and the Priest is told who Dr. Campbell is and a little about his life, he asks him, "Are you still Catholic?" To which he replies "No, Father." He then asks- and Campbell was impressed by his specificity- "Do you believe in a *personal* God?" To which Campbell replies, "No, Father."
The Priest then replies, almost as if to engage in a debate and denigrate the atheist's worship of the rational mind uber alles simultaneously (and an atheist is what you are led to assume he thinks Campbell is), "Well, I guess there is no way to logically prove the existence of God." And Campbell answers, calmly, "If there were Father, what would be the value of faith?"
"It's been a pleasure meeting you Dr. Campbell, have a nice day."
Regardless of your faith, interest, background or education, you will find yourself in the same shoes of that Priest when you read this. Campbell's erudition and knowledge of the many ideas, subtexts and similarities inherent in the world's treasure trove of mythology is daunting to say the least, and his approach is designed to have it all make sense to the modern human's heart. THE POWER OF MYTH may be the best Campbell book to serve as the doorway to his world, his incredible mind, and the eternal wisdom of mythology, as it manifests itself in every culture- not to mention our personal lives.
To say it will make you think is almost denigrating it; it will make you ponder. It will lead you (after quite possibly confusing the hell out of you, as you try to absorb it into a preexisting way of thinking that may become obsolete via what he teaches) to wonder the way children wonder. And in the end, you will smile from the soul, not just the heart. I highly recommend this as a Joseph Campbell and Mythology primer- and recommend HERO OF A THOUSAND FACES after this has whet your appetite's soul.
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