Listening to Joseph Campbell

In this mesmerizing film, Joseph Campbell takes us on a journey through the symbols and sagas that reach back into human prehistory. Created by Maxine Harris and Sheldon Rocklin, with the enthusiastic support of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, this film “is a deeply personal, almost spiritual, portrait of Campbell … in his twilight years, at the summit of his career and the apex of his intellectual powers. This great American thinker is still “joyfully participating in the sorrows of the world.”

Below excerpts from the film:

I am Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. I am the creator of all the Gods.

Man was not breathed into the Earth. Man came out of the Earth.

Dreams are self-luminous. They shine of themselves, as Gods do.

We’ve lost the symbols. Meanwhile, we need the symbols. And they come up in disturbed dreams…Figures of dream are figures of personal mythologization. You are creating your own imagery related to the archetypes. But the culture has rejected them. The religious life is ethical. It is not mystical. And the society is disintegrating, consequently. Will there ever be a recovery of the mystical realization of the miracle of life, of which our society is a manifestation.

The present moment is but a flash on the waters of eternity

The aim of all religious exercises is a psychological transformation. You can make up your own meditations and rites based on knowing, loving, and serving the deity in caring for your children, doctoring drunks, or writing books. Any work whatsoever can be a meditation if you have the sense that everything is ‘brahman’: the process, the doing, the thing that is being looked at, the one that is looking—everything.

The expansion of the notion of time diminishes the importance of the present moment and makes it possible for us to see it as but a flash on the surface of the waters of eternity.

We’re in a free fall into future. We don’t know where we’re going. Things are changing so fast. And always when you’re going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. But all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective . . . Joyfully participate in the sorrows of the world and everything changes.

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