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Pathways to Bliss: Mythology and Personal Transformation Hardcover – October 26, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
This ninth volume of Campbell's previously unpublished material deftly marries his sweeping grasp of myths with the needs of contemporary people looking for meaning and inspiration. Expert editor and seasoned Campbell authority David Kudler makes the mythic-stature-mythicist come alive again. Fans will recognize Campbell's comforting cadence and intimacy, conveyed by use of the second person and by his masterful storytelling. Campbell realized he was essentially saying the same things over more than two decades. As such, this volume breaks no new ground, but does give explicit directions for identifying and connecting oneself to a meaningful mythic overview, unbounded by specific cultures or historical facts. Campbell gives adequate coverage to the historical development of myth as it pertains to the individual, especially through the eyes of Jung. The final chapter, a distilled jewel of the hero's journey mono-myth that Campbell made famous, is followed by "Dialogue," several pages of conversation between Campbell and anonymous people, exploring the application of gender differences to the hero's journey. Campbell assesses life now as pathless: "We are in a sort of free fall into the future." He is, however, perennially hopeful that if we discover our own mythological underpinnings, carried on the wings of artists and poets, we can find our way to individual bliss. This is a fine volume for old friends and new followers.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
If you followed the television series with Bill Moyers or have read any of Campbell's books, this book presents a new look at some of his ideas and a clearer picture of how to interpret myths for your own journey. --Bayswater Books
Wonderful insight into the essential Joseph Campbell... a guidebook for finding one's own inner hero or heroine, and for finding the guts to listen to one's own story. --Bloomsbury Review
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“The basic story of the hero journey involves giving up where you are, going into the realm of adventure, coming to some kind of symbolically rendered realization, and then returning to the field of normal life.”
“The scientist knows that at any moment facts may be found that make the present theory obsolete; this is happening now constantly. It’s amusing. In a religious tradition, the older the doctrine, the truer it is held to be.”
~ Joseph Campbell from Pathways to Bliss
This is the third review I’ve created on Joseph Campbell. As I mention in the others (A Joseph Campbell Companion and The Power of Myth), Campbell sits in the Granddaddy slot in my spiritual family tree. I heart Grandpa Joe. :)
This book is from the collected works series New World Library and the Joseph Campbell Foundation are assembling.
The prose and the presentation are stunningly beautiful. If you haven’t explored Campbell and his hero’s journey yet, get on it! I trust you’ll enjoy this gem, Pathways to Bliss.
Here are some of the Big Ideas:
1. Bliss = - Transcendent wisdom.
2. Your Life - Composed by a novelist.
3. Life Is Calling - Answer, please. :)
4. Say “Yes!” - Pretty please.
5. Bringing the Boon Back - Show me the boon!
Let go of your fears that following your quest is an ego trip… And let’s become transparent to transcendence, my friend!
(More goodness--including PhilosophersNotes on 250+ books at[...])
The image I included is one of the many pages I've underlined. This book will be read and reread multiple times.
Some of my favorite ideas I'll list below:
A myth isn't a lie... a myth points past itself to something indescribable. A myth is a metaphor.
Eternity is now. It is the transcendent dimension of the now to which myth refers.
Follow your bliss: that deep sense of being present, of doing what you absolutely must do to be yourself. If you can hang on to that, you are on the edge of the transcendent already. Your bliss can guide you to that transcendent mystery, because bliss is the welling up of the energy of the transcendent wisdom within you.
The only way to affirm life is to affirm it to the root, to the rotten, horrendous base.
One can know God only when one knows that God far surpasses anything that can be said or thought about God.
The real, important function of the Church is to present the symbol, to perform the rite, to let you behold this divine message in such a way that you are capable of experiencing it. Unfortunately, when you have a dogma telling you what kind of effect the symbol is supposed to have upon you, you're in trouble.
Perfection is inhuman. Human beings are not perfect. What evokes our love --and I mean love, not lust-- is the imperfection of the human being. So, when the imperfection of the real person, compared to the ideal of your animus or anima, peeks through, say, This is a challenge to my compassion.
It is a fashionable idiocy of youth to say the world has not come up to your expectations. "What? I was coming, and this is all they could prepare for me?" Throw it out. Have compassion for the world and those in it. Not only political life but all life stinks, and you must embrace that with compassion.
The only way one can become a human being is through relationships to other human beings.
Each of us has an individual myth that's driving us, which we may or may not know.
Mythological images are the images by which the consciousness is put in touch with the unconscious. That's what they are.
What is the great thing for which you would sacrifice your life? What makes you do what you do; what is the call of your life to you-- do you know it? The old traditions provided this mythic support for people; it held whole culture worlds together. Every great civilization has grown out of a mythic base.
Maslow's five values are the values for which people live when they have nothing to live for. Nothing has seized them, nothing has caught them, nothing has driven them spiritually mad and made them worth talking to. These are the bores. - "A bore is one who deprives us of our solitude without providing companionship."
That awakening of awe, that awakening of zeal, is the beginning, and, curiously enough, that's what pulls people together. People living for these five values (Maslow) are pushed apart. Two things pull people together; aspiration and terror.
There is no aspiration that's been put in front of us to pull people together, nor any overwhelming fear to drive us together.
Now, that's the big thing, to activate your imagination somehow. You can't do this by taking suggestions from somebody else. You must find that which your own unconscious wants to meditate on.
The work of the artist is to present objects to you in such a way that they will shine. Through the rhythm of the artist's formation, the object that you have looked at with indifference will be radiant, and you will be fixed in esthetic arrest.
What is it we are questing for? It is the fulfillment of that which is potential in each of us. Questing for it is not an ego trip; it is an adventure to bring into fulfillment your gift to the world, which is yourself. There's nothing you can do that's more important than being fulfilled. You become a sign, you become a signal, transparent to transcendence; in this way , you will find, live, and become a realization of your own personal myth.
You see, in my youth, in the days of the Depression, people who were what might be called counterculture had been kicked out of the society entirely. There was no room for them. That's different from the ones who leave out of resentment or with the intention to improve it.
What I think is that a good life is one hero journey after another. Over and over again, you are called to the realm of adventure, you are called to new horizons. Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss.
I think the world lives on crazy things. The economics will work themselves out later -- you can count on it. But it's the scope of the aspiration that really matters.
Sometimes the drudgery itself can become part of the hero deed. The point is not to get stuck in the drudgery but to use it to free you.
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Still worth reading.